Product variants
- Primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting. Priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the material being painted. It can also be used to block and seal stains, or to hide a color that is to be painted over.
- Emulsion paint is a water-based paint used for painting interior or exterior surfaces.
- Varnish and shellac provide a protective coating without changing the color. They are paints without pigment.
- Wood stain is a type of paint that is very “thin,” that is, low in viscosity, and formulated so that the pigment penetrates the surface rather than remaining in a film on top of the surface. Stain is predominantly pigment or dye and solvent with little binder, designed primarily to add color without providing a surface coating.
- Lacquer is usually a fast-drying solvent-based paint or varnish that produces an especially hard, durable finish.
- An enamel paint is a paint that dries to an especially hard, usually glossy, finish. Enamel paints sometimes contain glass powder or tiny metal flake fragments instead of the color pigments found in standard oil-based paints. Enamel paint is sometimes mixed with varnish or urethane to increase shine as well as assist its hardening process.
- A glaze is an additive used with paint to slow drying time and increase translucency, as in faux painting and Art Painting.
- A roof coating is a fluid applied membrane which has elastic properties that allows it to stretch and return to their original shape without damage. It provides UV protection to polyurethane foam and is widely used as part of a roof restoration system.
- Fingerpaint is a kind of paint intended to be applied with the fingers; it typically comes in pots and is used by small children, though it has very occasionally been used by adults either to teach art to children, or for their own independent use.
- Inks are similar to paints, except they are typically made using finely ground pigments or dyes, and are designed so as not to leave a thick film of binder.
- Titanium dioxide is extensively used for both house paint and artist’s paint, because it is permanent and has good covering power. Titanium dioxide pigment accounts for the largest use of the element. Titanium paint is an excellent reflector of infrared, and is extensively used in solar observatories where heat causes poor seeing conditions.
- Anti-graffiti coatings are used to defeat the marking of surfaces by graffiti vandals. There are two categories, sacrificial and non-bonding. Sacrificial coatings are clear coatings that allow the removal of graffiti, usually by pressure washing the surface with high-pressure water, removing the graffiti, and the coating (hence, sacrificed). They must be re-applied afterward for continued protection. This is most commonly used on natural-looking masonry surfaces, such as statuary and marble walls, and on rougher surfaces that are difficult to clean. Non-bonding coatings are clear, high-performance coatings, usually catalyzed polyurethanes, that allow the graffiti very little to bond to. After the graffiti is discovered, it can be removed with the use of a solvent wash, without damaging the underlying substrate or protective coating. These work best when used on smoother surfaces, and especially over other painted surfaces, including murals.
- Anti-climb paint is a non-drying paint that appears normal while still being extremely slippery. It is usually used on drainpipes and ledges to deter burglars and vandals from climbing them, and is found in many public places. When a person attempts to climb objects coated with the paint, it rubs off onto the climber, as well as making it hard for them to climb.
 Binder or vehicle
The binder, commonly referred to as the vehicle, is the actual film forming component of paint. It is the only component that must be present; other components listed below are included optionally, depending on the desired properties of the cured film.
The binder imparts adhesion, binds the pigments together, and strongly influences such properties as gloss potential, exterior durability, flexibility, and toughness.
Binders include synthetic or natural resins such as acrylics, vinyl-acrylics, vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE), polyurethanes, polyesters, melamine resins, epoxy, or oils.
Binders can be categorized according to drying, or curing mechanism. The four most common are simple solvent evaporation, oxidative crosslinking, catalyzed polymerization, and coalescence. There are others.
Note that drying and curing are two different processes. Drying generally refers to evaporation of the solvent or thinner, whereas curing refers to polymerization of the binder. (The term “vehicle” is industrial jargon which is used inconsistently, sometimes to refer to the solvent and sometimes to refer to the binder.) Depending on chemistry and composition, any particular paint may undergo either, or both processes. Thus, there are paints that dry only, those that dry then cure, and those that do not depend on drying for curing.
Paints that dry by simple solvent evaporation and contain a solid binder dissolved in a solvent are known as lacquers. A solid film forms when the solvent evaporates, and because the film can re-dissolve in solvent, lacquers are not suitable for applications where chemical resistance is important. Classic nitrocellulose lacquers fall into this category, as do non-grain raising stains composed of dyes dissolved in solvent and more modern acrylic based coatings such as 5-ball Krylon aerosol. Performance varies by formulation, but lacquers generally tend to have better UV resistance and lower corrosion resistance than comparable systems that cure by polymerization or coalescence.
Latex paint is a water-borne dispersion of sub-micrometre polymer particles. The term “latex” in the context of paint simply means an aqueous dispersion; latex rubber (the sap of the rubber tree that has historically been called latex) is not an ingredient. These dispersions are prepared by emulsion polymerization. Latex paints cure by a process called coalescence where first the water, and then the trace, or coalescing, solvent, evaporate and draw together and soften the latex binder particles and fuse them together into irreversibly bound networked structures, so that the paint will not redissolve in the solvent/water that originally carried it. Residual surfactants in the paint as well as hydrolytic effects with some polymers cause the paint to remain susceptible to softening and, over time, degradation by water.
Paints that cure by oxidative crosslinking are generally single package coatings that when applied, the exposure to oxygen in the air starts a process that crosslinks and polymerizes the binder component. Classic alkyd enamels would fall into this category. Oxidative cure coatings are catalyzed by metal complex driers such as cobalt naphthenate.
Paints that cure by catalyzed polymerization are generally two package coatings that polymerize by way of a chemical reaction initiated by mixing resin and hardener, and which cure by forming a hard plastic structure. Depending on composition they may need to dry first, by evaporation of solvent. Classic two package epoxies or polyurethanes would fall into this category.
Still other films are formed by cooling of the binder. For example, encaustic or wax paints are liquid when warm, and harden upon cooling. In many cases, they will resoften or liquify if reheated.
Recent environmental requirements restrict the use of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and alternative means of curing have been developed, particularly for industrial purposes. In UV curing paints, the solvent is evaporated first, and hardening is then initiated by ultraviolet light. In powder coatings there is little or no solvent, and flow and cure are produced by heating of the substrate after electrostatic application of the dry powder.