Painting Terms

Every industry has it’s own language. The paint business is no different. If you know the language you can sound like a pro or at least understand one. The following painting terms can have you sounding like an expert in no time.

Paint: Obvious. A combination of a binder, filler, pigment and a solvent. Can be water based, solvent based or a hybrid coating.

Latex: Water based product. Latex is the term for a suspension of polymer particles in water.  Most common type of residential paint. Soap and water cleanup. Fast drying. External and internal use.

Enamel: Traditionally oil based. Today many water based products available. The resin typically dries hard and glossy.

Off White: Refers to the color. Any white but a pure white.

Acrylic: Water based product. Dries quickly. Acrylic polymer suspended in water. Becomes water resistant when dry. Tough finish. The term is often used interchangeably with latex.

Ceiling White: A flat white paint. Normally a brighter white with a thicker formulation (filler) to minimize splatter. Typically inexpensive product.

Sheen: The gloss level of the paint. Flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss. There is no standard from one manufacturer to another.

A five: Five gallon bucket of paint. Can also refer to a five in one. A painters tool.

A single: One gallon of paint.

Drop: Drop cloths. Used to cover the floor.

Frame: The roller frame. A roller cover goes on it. 9″ is most common.

Pole: An extension pole. Used on the frame.

Grid: The wire mesh that goes in a bucket to roll paint off of.

Stain Blocker: The best are solvent based. Used to seal stains before painting.

Cover: A roller cover. 9″ in most common.

Nap: The thickness of the roller cover.

Primer: Applied to surfaces before painting. Promotes adhesion.

Sealer: Applied to porous surfaces to seal or level the surface out.

Cut In: Brush work. Running a paint line along the ceiling, baseboards, etc.

Roll: Using a frame to roll paint on the surface.

Lay off: A final roll in the same direction (usually down) to level the paint out.

Picture framing: A noticeable band in the finish. You can see the cut line VS the roll.

Hat Banding: Same as picture framing but only refers to the ceiling cut line.

Dry Time: There are two types. Dry to the touch and dry to re-coat.

There are a lot of painting terms. It is easy to take for granted that everyone know what you are taking about. These are the most common.

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