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 Paint is used to protect, preserve, decorate (such as adding color), or add functionality to an object or surface by covering it with a pigmented coating. Examples of protection are the covering of metal to retard corrosion, and the painting of a house to help protect it from the elements. An example of decoration is to add festive trim to a room's interior. Paint may be used to add functionality by modifying light reflection or heat radiation of a surface. Another example of functionality is the use of color to identify hazards or to identify the function of equipment, such as pipelines or military ammunition.

Types of Paint:

Latex Paint 

The word "latex" originally referred to the use of rubber in one form or another as the resin, or solid, in paint. The solvent or thinner, called the "vehicle," was water. Today, many paints are made with water as the thinner but with resins that are not latex, and the industry is leaning toward such terms as "water-thinned" or "water-reducible." If the paints are called latex at all, the term often used is "acrylic latex" because they contain a plastic resin made of acrylics or poly vinyl rather than rubber.

Acoustic paint is designed for use on acoustical tiles. Learn more about this unique interior paint only at How Stuff Works.

Ideal for ceilings, dripless paint is an alkyd resin paint that is known for its thickness. Learn about dripless paint here.

Find out how to make sure what is advertised as a "one-coat paint" truly is, with the help of this article.

Although expensive and strong smelling, rubberbase paint is great for concrete and brick. Learn more about this interior paint only at HowStuffWorks.

Textured paint works well on ceilings and to cover up any flawed surfaces in your home.

Alkyd Resin or “Oil Base Paint”

The use of synthetic alkyd resin for solvent-thinned (oilbase) paints has brought several advantages. One of the most useful is a special formula that makes the paint yogurt-thick. A brush dipped in it carries more paint to the surface than previous versions. Yet, under the friction of application, the paint spreads and smooths readily.

In most gloss and semigloss (or satin) paints, alkyd materials are still preferred for trim, doors, and even heavy-traffic hallways. Many homeowners still like them best for bathrooms and kitchens, where they feel more confident of washability despite the availability of water-thinned enamels in satin or gloss that can be safely cleaned with standard household cleaners.

The opacity of alkyd paints has improved with the addition of a material that diffuses and evaporates, which leaves minute bubbles that reflect and scatter light and makes the paint look thicker than it really is. With paints of this formula, one coat of white will completely cover black or bright yellow.

While alkyds should not be used on unprimed drywall (they can raise the nap of its paper coating) or unprimed masonry, they are suitable for raw wood and almost any previously painted or papered surface. The most durable of interior paints, alkyds are dry enough for a second coat within four to six hours. 

Solvents must be used for thinning and cleanup. Check the label to find which solvent is recommended by the manufacturer. And, while the solvents may be almost odorless, they're still toxic and flammable, so you should work in a well-ventilated.

Choosing the right Paint:

Matte Finish
Whether called flat finish or wall paint, this type of interior paint has a matte surface. This paint finish is usually used on interior walls. It's expecially good if you have to camouflage small wall bumps, cracks, or other imperfections, as this finish does not reflect light. While some flat paints are advertised as washable today, you may need to touch up scratches or marks by covering with a bit more paint, so be sure you keep some on hand after you've finished painting. 

Flat Enamel
Flat enamel is a paint with a durable flat, matte finish. It's a good choice for powder rooms and halls, as it holds up to occasional cleaning. 

Eggshell Finish
If you can picture the very low sheen of the shell of an egg, you have an idea of how an eggshell paint finish will appear. With only a slight hint of shine or gloss, it's good for walls and holds up better with cleaning than a flat finish paint. 

Satin Finish
Satin finish paint has a smooth, velvety look with a bit more gloss. It is most often used for windows, doors, trim, or ceilings, but can also be used as wall paint. This is particularly suitable for kids' room walls, kitchens, or bathrooms, or in areas which get a lot of traffic. Paint with a satin finish is formulated to hold up to cleaning and light scrubbing. 

Semi-gloss paint is most often used on doors, trim, and cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms. It is easily cleaned and lays down a nice, subtle shine, without being too glitzy. Take care with pre-paint preparation work, as poorly prepared surfaces can be a bit distracting when highlighted by a semi-gloss surface. 

High gloss paints have an almost reflective quality, as their shiny finish mimics the look of enamel or plastic. Though not widely used in home interiors, it is becoming more popular for a dramatic look on cabinets, trim, and furniture in very formal and very contemporary settings. This finish will magnify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding is essential before painting with high gloss paints. 


Volatile organic compound

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicalcompounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere. A wide range of carbon-based molecules, such as aldehydes, ketones, and other light hydrocarbonsare VOCs. The term often is used in a legal or regulatory context and in such cases the precise definition is a matter of law. These definitions can be contradictory and may contain "loopholes"; e.g. exceptions, exemptions, and exclusions. The United States Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) defines a VOC as any organic compound that participates in a photoreaction; others believe this definition is very broad and vague as organics that are not volatile in the sense that they vaporize under normal conditions can be considered volatile by this EPA definition. The term may refer both to well characterized organic compounds and to mixtures of variable composition.


There is no clear and widely supported definition of a VOC. VOC is a term used more in relation to air quality and environmental studies. From a chemistry viewpoint “Volatile Organic Compound” can mean any organic compound (all chemical compounds containing carbon with exceptions) that is volatile (evaporating or vaporizing readily under normal conditions). This is a very broad set of chemicals.

Definitions vary depending on the particular context. There are many other widely used terms that are a subclass of VOCs.


Some people like to eat paste. Others like the smell of gasoline or even paint. Whatever your chemical predilection is, it's not good for you, and paint is no exception.


Primers are inexpensive under-coatings that smooth out uneven surfaces, provide a barrier between porous surfaces and certain finishing coats, and allow you to use an otherwise incompatible paint on a bare or previously painted surface. For flat paint finishes, the primer can be a thinned-out version of the paint itself. But that's often more expensive than using a premixed primer, which contains less-expensive pigment, dries quickly, and provides a firm foundation or "tooth" for the final coat of paint.

Latex primer has all the advantages of latex paint -- almost odor-free, quick drying, and easy to clean up -- and is the best undercoat for drywall, plaster, and concrete. Don't use it on bare wood, though, because the water in it may raise the grain. For raw wood, it's best to use an alkyd primer. 

Wood Stain: Types of stain:

Oil-based stains provide long lasting wood tone color. They penetrate deep into the pores to seal and protect the wood, bringing out its natural beauty.


Water based stains provide an even stain color. They will not absorb unevenly like an oil based stain. 

Gels add natural colors to a wide range of wood and non-wood products but it can be difficult to get out of grooves in wood. 

Pastels are an oil-based wood stain which provide a soft pastel color while highlighting the grain of the wood. This is a fine product if you wish to accent your decor.

Pigment stains will fill the grains and leave the wood surface with less colorant. 

Dyes will stain the grain and the areas between the grain approximately the same color.

Low VOC paint
Low VOC paint