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How to Paint - Primer Part 1

Updated on January 5, 2016

What is A Coating?

No, A "coating" is not your winter overcoat, however it does pretty much the same thing. For our purposes a coating is any material that protects and makes a surface more attractive, including paints, stains, sealers, varnishes, preservatives, oils and more.

There are five basic ingredients making up coatings and they are divided into two categories:

SOLIDS (non-volatile) + LIQUIDS (volatile)

Pigment + Binder + Additives + Solvent + Diluent

(V.O.C.) (H20)

Solids are the ingredients that remain on the surface as a dry film, providing color and protection. Liquids are the vehicles that make the application of the solids onto the surface possible, evaporating once their job is done. Pigment is the coloring, a powdery non-dissolving substance that is part of the solid material. They provide a wide range of colors, hide* and opacity* to the coating. Binder, which is made of resins, provides two functions: First, it suspends the pigment particles and then serves as an adhesive that binds the pigment to the substrate/surface. Solvents are mostly "petroleum distillates" and mineral spirits, which serve as the major liquid ingredient in what is referred to as, "oil-based" coatings. Solvents such as thinners, reducing agents, reducing solvents and diluents (except water) fall under the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC.) category. These substances are regulated heavily by many state legislatures due to their hazardous nature. Diluents are those substances that dilute the solids for easier application. In latex paint, water is the diluent, while in oil-based paints, solvents serve the same purpose, as we have already seen. Additives are extra ingredients specifically added to improve the performance of the coating, or to allow for the coating to fulfill additional functions such as texturizing a surface. Resins may also be added to improve the coating's durability to abrasion and water. Fungicides, algaecides, mildewcides and other biocides are often added to prevent growth of microorganisms. In harsh climates flexibility is important to withstand extremes of hot and cold, in this case plasticizers* are used. Additives also control gloss levels, promote adhesion, provide flame resistance, controls insects, improve flow of application and makes the product more attractive.

Paint

Paint is: - any pigmented liquid designed for application to a substrate in a thin layer, that is then converted to an opaque, solid film, after application.

There are two kinds of paint, both of which can be used as either interior or exterior coatings. Let us first explore the two basic types; Latex and Alkyd, which you will recognize as being created from the materials discussed above.

LATEX vs. ALKYD

It used to be that there was only one choice of paint, Alkyd or "oil-based." It wasn't until the fairly recent development of Latex coatings, that professionals and "do-it­ yourselfers" alike, had an alternative which was easy to apply, quick to dry and child's play to clean up. A combination of soap and water replaced the smelly, caustic and harmful solvents of the past.

Most of the liquid in latex coatings is water, so naturally they are described as "water-based." These paints are made from a variety of materials and are sometimes called vinyl, P.V.A. or acrylic, depending on the type of binder or vehicle used. Most new latex paints are emulsions of polymers or co-polymers in water, combined with suitable pigments, stabilizers and preservatives.

Latex paints work like this; after the paint is applied, the emulsion coalesces and allows the water to evaporate, leaving the paint film of pigment and other solids on the surface.

Alkyd paints are created from vegetable oils and synthetic resins. While most of the coatings called "oil-based" are, in fact, alkyd-based, because the pure organic oil binders are very rare on the market. Again, the main liquid in these types of coatings is a solvent, one form or another of a petroleum distillate, therefore the name "solvent-based."

Alkyd paints work much like Latex; once the paint is applied, the solvents evaporate leaving a film of pigment and other solids. Because solvents evaporate at a much slower rate than water, drying time is considerably longer for the Alkyd than for the Latex.

GLOSS:

Gloss is the sheen, luster, shine or reflective quality of paint. They are distinguished according to the level of shininess the paint exhibits on the substrate. Different manufacturers use a variety of terms to describe the shine of their paint; such as High Gloss, 3/4 Gloss, Eggshell, Velvet, Pearl, Matte, Stain, etc., still, they are all either gloss, semi-gloss or flat.

Various names aside, Light Reflective Value (LRV) determines the grade of gloss. It gives a measured gloss rating of between 0 and 100. With the use of the LRV standard, the glossiness of one manufacturer's product can easily be compared to another. Reflection varies with gloss and color, it is widely known that light colors reflect more light and dark colors reflect less. It is always wise to inform customers that the sample paint chips they are viewing will appear darker when applied to a large surface.

Pigment Volume Concentration (PVC) is another term associated with gloss. This is the percentage value reflecting the total nonvolatile components in the coating. (What a mouthful). This plays a large part in determining the level of gloss. As PVC increases, gloss decreases.

Gloss is also a function of pigment particle size. Larger particles usually provide a rougher texture, when the pigment dries it diffuses the light striking the covered surface and results in a duller finish. Therefore, smaller particles usually result in a higher gloss.

Oil or solvent based products offer a higher initial gloss. However, the newer, high­ quality, exterior latex products will hold their gloss better and longer than the Solvent based formulations.

Gloss also goes hand in hand with abrasion resistance, meaning that it is washable and resists moisture. However, the higher the gloss the more visible imperfections in the substrate will be. It is always wise to prepare the surface thoroughly, or inspect it to see if a gloss is necessarily your best choice for the job.

Now that we are familiar with the types of paint let us talk about their different uses and specific attributes .

Interior Latex Paint:

Interior paints are designed to be used inside buildings and enclosed structures and for ease of application and washability. It is generally perceived that repainting an interior room is a simple operation compared to exterior painting and therefore latex is more widely used. Over 60% of interior latex paint is sold to do-it-yourselfers. Often they buy the paint that is the least expensive and are unconcerned about quality . A brief description of the difference between ordinary and high quality latex interior paint, could very well convince them it is better to spend a little more for better paint.

Ordinary latex paint usually contains 25 to 30 percent solids by volume, while top quality paint contains much more, around 35 to 45 percent by volume. If each paint was applied at equal wet film thickness, the paint with 40% solids will dry to a film one third thicker than a paint with 30% solids.

Naturally, the paint containing more pigment will also offer better hiding power. To an experienced painter the benefits are significant. Using the lower quality paint, he/she will have to apply two or three coats, as opposed to one coat of the higher quality product. The better coverage offers greater savings potential to both the consumer and the contractor.

High quality paint not only offers better coverage with less work, it is also much more durable. With more binder the coating forms a tighter bond to the surface. The film is tougher, longer-lasting , resists fading better and is equipped to withstand the rigors of everyday life, including dirt and stains.

While the do-it-yourselfer has the opportunity to enjoy all the characteristics of high quality latex paint over time, the professional benefits immediately from the addition of rheology modifiers, designed to enhance the flow, leveling and build of top quality coatings . When applied the paint creates a smooth, uniform film surface · with a minimum of brush strokes or roller marks, while maintaining consistent sheen.

Let's review some features and benefits of Latex interior paint:

Hiding Power -The ability of the paint to conceal the surface. Hiding power varies with the color and quality of the product. Big color changes may require additional coats of paint regardless of quality. There are two basic kinds of hiding power:

Wet Hiding- This feature ensures that a minimum amount of paint is used to get the maximum hiding after drying. These differences are due to higher levels of expensive pigment, primarily titanium dioxide, in better quality paints.

Dry Hiding - again, higher quality products generally show better dry hiding because they have higher solid and pigment content. While low quality paints give poor hiding when wet and therefore need excessive amounts to be applied, they can show good dry hiding . However, these products will have poor washability-durability due to low resin (binder) content.

Overspreading or applying too little paint and using poor or improper equipment will reduce hiding of all paints . Most manufacturers recommend a spreading rate of 400- 450 square feet per gallon.

Stains and Stain Removal

Our paint examples were stained and then wiped with a wet sponge. The high quality paint shows practically no staining because it contains more of the expensive resin (binder) which holds the pigment particles together in a tight non-absorbent solution. Other necessary additives have been carefully formulated to enhance the property. All the above features improve the ease of stain removal without eroding the paint film. Some stains will prove difficult to remove , no matter the quality the product. It is best to wash the stain as soon as you can to insure good removal with minimum damage to the paint film.

Washability- Durability

The paint examples shown have been stained with crayon, lipstick and a soft point marker. They were scrubbed with cleansing powder until the stains were removed. Washing of the lower quality paint removed most of the paint film (see example), leaving very little film for hiding and future protection. The average and high quality paints were scrubbed fourteen and twenty-four times longer and show little erosion of the paint film. This illustrates the improved durability and toughness of paints containing a higher resin (binder) content , found in higher quality latex paints.

Water Resistance

Latex interior flat paints will absorb spots of standing water, sometimes becoming soft and easily damaged. The more durable film of the higher quality products will resist damage by rain on window sills or potted plants and should show good performance.

Helpful Information

Adhesion and Surface Condition: High and average quality products will adhere well to properly prepared surfaces . Glossy surfaces, high moisture conditions and surfaces with many old coats of paint can pose special problems. We will discuss proper surface preparation a little later.

Applicator Choice and Quality: Know your surface. Select applicators designed for your surface texture-rough or smooth. Use only applicators designed for latex paint. Proper selection of quality applicators can make your job easier and 30% faster. Rollers: Use a short nap roller for smooth surfaces and longer naps for rougher surfaces.

Brushes: The illustrations on the lower right show the same high quality paint applied with a lower quality and "best" quality brush . The "best" quality picks up more paint and releases more paint with less chance -for brush marks. Choose a brush designed for latex paint with firmly set, flagged (split tip) bristles.

Application Ease: Average and high quality latex paints should apply easily without excessive dripping, running , and without craters or blisters resulting from frothing or bubbling.

Enamel Holdout: Primer coats of good quality latex flat paints will assure that you get good gloss from enamel topcoats .

Leveling: Latex flat paints generally do not level as well as enamels or glossy paints. High temperature and low humidity will increase this problem, as will highly absorbent surfaces. The higher quality products will usually perform better, showing fewer brush strokes and roller stipples. Applicator choice will also affect the leveling performance.

Paint Label Analysis: Analyzing the paint label listing major ingredients can help you get the most paint value for your money. However, quantity and type of ingredients do not tell the whole story. Good formulation skills, providing the best balance of major and minor ingredients, contributes much to the quality of the product. It should be noted that most excellent paint manufacturers do not list components on their labels. A manufacturer's reputation and your trust in the paint dealer should give you the confidence to choose the best paint for you.

Exterior Paint

This category of paints refers to opaque coverings used on exterior surfaces such a clapboard siding, wooden shakes and shingles, plywood, all wood trim, doors, door frames, window frames, sashes, shutters and other wooden structures such as railings and pillars.

Exterior paint, like interior paint, comes in both water and solvent based solutions. The difference between Exterior and Interior paint is that the exterior is designed to withstand and survive harsh environmental conditions. They contain slightly different ingredients or similar ingredients in varying quantities and are often comprised of softer, more flexible resins or a higher percentage of resins than their interior counterparts. At times exterior paints contain more plasticizers, anti-algae additives, mildewcides and UV stabilizers.

Before selecting an exterior paint it is a good idea to check with your paint dealer. Only an expert can assess the requirements of your specific geographical area and building material types. The easiest type of exterior paint to use is latex. It is more resistant to moisture than oil based paints; it dries faster and is less likely to peel or chip. Latex can also be applied in damp or humid weather as long as the surface is not dripping wet.

..,. A paint with 100% acrylic binder is the most durable because of their superior adhesion and fluctuation. If a binder is modified with vinyl acetate or vinyl chloride, the performance properties may be sacrificed .

..,. The more solids that are in a paint, the thicker the paint film will be, as we have seen in previous illustrations. This is as true for exterior paint as it is for interior. Extreme weather conditions require durability .

..,. Titanium dioxide is an expensive paint ingredient that gives white and light colored paint its "hiding" power - its ability to obscure the surface it is being applied too. Lower quality paints contain more "extenders" such as clay, silica and calcium

carbonate. Although the content of solids in these paints may be high, they still offer less hiding ability than those with titanium dioxide .

..,. Antifreeze - manufacturers put antifreeze into their paints because distributors, retailers and homeowners often store them in unheated warehouses and garages. Still, it is best to protect paint from freezing temperatures .

..,. The desirable additives such as mildewcides offer protection not only once the paint is applied but while in storage as well. Some paints even contain additives to reduce spattering and improve leveling properties .

The average latex paint should not be used for doors or other areas of frequent contact. While the newer trim enamels can work well, there are certain conditions that require oil-based paints. Again it is a good idea to check with your dealer. Oil based paints are generally used on siding and trim but not on masonry or stucco. They should never be applied to damp surfaces and are best when applied on a warm day after the sun has burned away the dew. Humid days or when the temperature is above 90° or below 40° Fahrenheit are not suitable for using oil-based coatings.

Types of Exterior House Paint

Enamelized Exterior House Paint

A house paint with outstanding gloss and color retention. It dries to a durable high gloss finish and may be used for all properly primed exterior wood and metal surfaces. Also, recommended as an exterior trim enamel. Ideal for wood siding, sash, trim, doors, fences and metal surfaces such as gutters, rails and steel sash, this paint should be applied with a brush, roller or spray. It is oil-based so needs to be cleaned with paint thinner.

Exterior Flat Finish

An exterior oil base flat finish will not darken in marine areas. It dries to a uniform appearance with excellent resistance to variation in color and sheen. This finish may be reduced and used as a stain. Recommended for rough siding, board and batten, cedar shingles and shakes.

Exterior Trim Enamel

This is a pure synthetic gloss enamel that dries to a high gloss finish with excellent color retention. It is recommended for all exterior metal or wood trim, doors, fascia, window frames, shutters, sash, arbors, trellises, etc. It is also appropriate for metal roof decking which requires exceptional adhesion and flexibility because of extreme temperature changes.

Exterior Latex House Paint

This paint is for use on exterior masonry, stucco, cement, concrete block and wood frame surfaces. It dries to a fine dull luster with excellent color retention and film stability. It resists fading and blistering and is also, good on wood siding, galvanized metal, gypsum wallboard, playground striping and marking. This paint should not be used when air or surface temperature is below 50°F.

Exterior Acrylic Trim Enamel

A modern water-thinned enamel for use on exterior trim and woodwork. Extremely stable and easy to use. It should not be applied when temperature is below 50°F.

So there you go, now you know what a Coating is and why/what works best when doing a simple re-edit or editing done.

PART II

Is a Primer on Primers so stick around, it will be out shortly.

Types of Exterior House Paint

Enamelized Exterior House Paint

A house paint with outstanding gloss and color retention. It dries to a durable high gloss finish and may be used for all properly primed exterior wood and metal surfaces. Also, recommended as an exterior trim enamel. Ideal for wood siding, sash, trim, doors, fences and metal surfaces such as gutters, rails and steel sash, this paint should be applied with a brush, roller or spray. It is oil-based so needs to be cleaned with paint thinner.

Exterior Flat Finish

An exterior oil base flat finish will not darken in marine areas. It dries to a uniform appearance with excellent resistance to variation in color and sheen. This finish may be reduced and used as a stain. Recommended for rough siding, board and batten, cedar shingles and shakes.

Exterior Trim Enamel

This is a pure synthetic gloss enamel that dries to a high gloss finish with excellent color retention. It is recommended for all exterior metal or wood trim, doors, fascia, window frames, shutters, sash, arbors, trellises, etc. It is also appropriate for metal roof decking which requires exceptional adhesion and flexibility because of extreme temperature changes.

Exterior Latex House Paint

This paint is for use on exterior masonry, stucco, cement, concrete block and wood frame surfaces. It dries to a fine dull luster with excellent color retention and film stability. It resists fading and blistering and is also, good on wood siding, galvanized metal, gypsum wallboard, playground striping and marking. This paint should not be used when air or surface temperature is below 50°F.

Exterior Acrylic Trim Enamel

A modern water-thinned enamel for use on exterior trim and woodwork. Extremely stable and easy to use. It should not be applied when temperature is below 50°F.

So there you go, now you know what a Coating is and why/what works best when doing a simple re-edit or editing done.

PART II

Is a Primer on Primers so stick around, it will be out shortly.

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