Paints and Varnishes

Painting and Varnishing

Painting and varnishing in the home is a necessity that involves many different kinds of materials and practices. A good paint can be expected to preserve the surface, add to the attractiveness, and increase the value of a house. These benefits result from three primary characteristics found in a quality paint: color retention, opacity, and durability. Thus, a good paint will provide a tough, protective, decorative film.

The success of a painting job depends principally upon the condition of the surface to be painted, the condition of the preceding paint coat in a repainting job, prevailing atmospheric conditions, and the quality and suitability of the paint for the service expected. Disregard of these factors is probably the chief cause of most paint failures.

Much useful information on painting may be found in the directions printed on the container labels and in booklets distributed by dependable manufacturers of quality paints. Their instructions should be carefully followed, since different materials usually require different treatments to produce the best results.


Paint Materials

The term paint includes paints, varnishes, enamels, shellacs, lacquers, and stains. Paints are composed of mineral pigments, organic vehicles, and a variety of thinners; varnishes are resins dissolved in organic thinners; enamels are pigmented varnishes; shellac is lac gum dissolved in alcohol; lacquers may be both pigmented or clear- the liquid portion usually is treated nitrocellulose dissolved in thinners; stains may be pigmented oil or a penetrating type. Many of these materials, such as paints, varnishes, and lacquers, are formulated for specific purposes: Outside house paints and exterior varnishes are intended to give good service when exposed to weathering; interior wall paints are formulated to give excellent coverage and good washability; floor enamels are made to withstand abrasion; and lacquers are formulated for rapid drying. There are also formulas which provide extra self-cleaning, fume-resisting, waterproofing, hardening, flexibility, mildew-resisting, resistance to fading, and breathing qualities.

Paint Selection

Most paints are purchased ready-mixed but, in their selection, consideration should be given to the fact that surfaces vary in their adaptability to paint, and atmospheric or other conditions have an adverse effect on paint performance. In addition to the normal weathering action of sun and rain, outside house paints are sometimes exposed to other attacking elements, such as corrosive fumes from factories or excessive amounts of wind-driven dust. For localities where such conditions exist, self-cleaning paints should be selected. These paints are usually so designated on the label. Concrete, plaster, and metal surfaces each present special problems in painting. For instance, paint for use on masonry or new plaster must be resistant to dampness and alkalies, and paints used on steel must have rust-inhibitive properties.


For best results, a type of brush suitable for the specific use should be chosen. The five general types illustrated will fill ordinary painting needs: A sash brush for narrow edges, a 2-inch brush for trim, a 3- or 4-inch brush for exterior work, a chisel-edged brush for varnish or enamel, and a flat, straight-edged brush for walls or painted floors.

Good animal-bristle brushes have a large number of "flags" or split ends and the more flags the better the brush, for they aid in holding paint and spreading it in an even film.

Nylon bristle brushes are recommended for use with the newer paints: latex, acrylics, etc. They are made in the same manner as animal-bristle brushes.

A brush should not be too coarse or be fanned out at the painting end, and the bristles should be springy and elastic. Brushes ought to be at least 3 or 4 inches wide for painting large areas.

One way of checking the quality of a brush is to separate the bristles and see if there is a plug strip in the center. If this wooden strip is narrow, it will improve the working qualities of a brush, but if this strip in the heel of the brush is wide, it is an indication that the brush is inferior. As the width of the strip is increased, the number of bristles will be decreased, and such brushes will not hold enough paint.

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Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Nice to have you join us. Welcome to hubpages.

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Good to be here Denise!

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