Abrasive: Substance used for wearing away a surface by rubbing.
Acrylic: a synthetic resin used in latex coating.
Adhesion: The strength of a paint or sealant to remain attached to a surface.
Alkalai: A basic, or caustic, chemical substance. Found in fresh cement, concrete, plaster and certain household cleaning products.
Anti-Corrosive Paint: A paint that resists rust and corrosion when applied to metal.
Binder: The component of paint that “binds” the pigment to the film and makes the paint stick to the surface.
Bleaching: The loss of color in a paint, often caused by exposure to sunlight.
Bleeding: when one substance runs into another, often caused when a material bleeds from the substrate into the applied material.
Blistering: The formation of bubbles on the paint surface.
The mixing together of different types of paint to ensure a uniform consistency.
Bristle: the “hairs” on a brush, either natural (hair) or artificial (nylon or polyester).
Burnishing: Shiny areas on a painted surface achieved by rubbing or washing the surface.
Caulking: a semi or slow drying plastic material used to seal joints or fill crevices around windows, chimneys, trim, joints, etc.
Chalking: The formation of a powdery substance on a painted surface.
Checking: A checkerboard pattern that forms on top layer of a paint.
Coating: A paint, stain, varnish, lacquer, or other finish that both protects and provides decoration to the substrate.
Color Retention: The ability of paint to resist fading.
Corrosion Inhibitor: Any material applied in order to prevent the rusting of metals.
Coverage: The area in square feet that a paint will cover.
Cracking: The splitting of a dry paint or varnish, most often the result of aging or movement of the substrate.
Crocodiling: A pattern that appears on paint due to the inability of the paint to bond to the surface below.
Cutting In: Painting a surface next to another surface that must not be painted. For example, painting the frame of a window but not the glass.
Degreaser: Any material used for removing oils or grease from a substrate.
Durability: The degree to which a coating or sealant can withstand environmental factors.
Eggshell: An interior paint that has a silk-like appearance.
Elasticity: The ability of paint or sealant to expand and contract with the substrate without suffering damage or changes in its appearance.
Enamel: A colored varnish or high gloss paint that is dirt resistant. Often used in kitchens and bathrooms.
Epoxy: A water resistant, clear finish.
Fading: A lightening of paint or stain due to exposure to light, heat or weather.
Feathering: Blending a small area into the surrounding paint or stain.
Filler: Any compound used to fill large cracks in walls that can be sanded when dried.
Film: A layer or coat of paint.
Flaking: Any place where small pieces of the film fall off of the previous coat of paint.
Flat: A painted surface free from a gloss or sheen.
Galvanized: Any metal coated with zinc to protect it from rusting.
Gloss: The shininess or reflectiveness of a paint.
Grain: The appearance of fibers in wood or veneer.
Hardboard: Any smooth or textured panel made of compressed wood.
Hardness: The level of pressure a material will withstand without becoming deformed or scratched.
Hardwood: Term for trees that have broad leaves (like oak, maple, ash, beech and walnut). Does not correlate to the actual hardness of the wood.
Joint: Any place where two building materials come together and leave a gap or space.
Knotting Compound: A clear finish or sealant for floors, for sealing knots.
Latex Paint: Water-based paint made with a latex binder.
Lead: A soft, malleable heavy metal used in the past in paint. Lead based paints are toxic in nature. Especially dangerous where children have contact to lead based painted surfaces.
Levelling: The ability of a paint to form a smooth surface without brush marks.
Linseed Oil: A darker and slower drying oil that can be added to paint. Once prevalent in paint and stains, it now has limited use.
Marbling: A decorative painting technique that imitates the color and figure of marble.
Mineral Spirits: An effective paint thinner, especially when using oil based paints.
Moisture Resistance: The ability of a paint or stain to resis swelling, blistering or other damage caused by moisture.
Nap: The fibers on a paint roller cover.
Oil-Based Paint: Any paint made with a drying oil, such as linseed, soya or tung oil. With oil based paints you must use mineral spirits or paint thinner as the thinning agent.
Opacity: The ability to block out light.
Opaque Stain: An exterior stain that obscures the natural color and grain of wood, but still allows the texture to show through.
Peeling: The detachment of paint from the surface in ribbons or sheets.
Permeable: Allows another material to pass through without effecting the existing material.
Polyurethane Varnish: A clear, alkyd coating.
Primer: A first coat of paint applied in order to inhibit corrosion and provide adhesion between the substrate and subsequent coats of paint.
Roller: A painting tool comprised of a rolling cylinder covered with a natural or synthetic material.
Runs: A blemish caused by excessive flow of the coating. Usually caused by applying too much paint or stain.
Sag: A downward movement of a paint or varnish caused by the application of too much coating, or the gathering off too much material in holes, cracks or joints.
Sealer/Sealant: A liquid coat that seals the surface and prevents it from absorbing paint or varnish. Sealers are often transparent and are used as both primers and as topcoats.
Self-Cleaning: An exterior paint designed to chalk quickly to maintain a clean appearance.
Semi-Transparent Stain: A stain that alters the natural color of the wood while allowing the grain and texture to show through.
Settling: The accumulation of material (usually pigment) at the bottom of a container containing paint or stain.
Sheen: A paint that appears to be matt when viewed near to perpendicular, but appears to be glossy when viewed from other angles.
Shellac: A sealer applied to finish floors that both protects and gives shine to the surface.
Skin: Any film that forms on the surface of a stored paint or sealant.
Softwood: Evergreen trees (spruce, fir and pine). The term does not refer to the hardness of the wood.
Spackling: A filler, often used for filling cracks and holes, that prepares surfaces before painting.
Sponge Painting (Sponging): An interior painting technique in which sponges are used to apply or partially remove a coat of paint.
Spot Prime: The process of applying a primer to areas where paint has been removed or stripped to the original surface.
Stain: Any coating that colors wood without obscuring the grain and/or texture.
Stenciling: The method of applying a design by brushing or sponging paint through a cutout overlay placed on the surface.
Stripping: The process of removing old paint varnishes or stains by using paint remover, sandpaper, or other tools.
Substrate: Any surface to which a paint, stain or sealant is applied.
Tacky: The stage in the drying process when the cover material is sticky and leaves prints when touched.
Thinner: Any liquid used to thin the primary coating. Water and oil are the most common thinners in paint and stains.
Topcoat: the final coat applied.
Touch Up: The process of applying small amounts of paint or stain to cover pre-existing blemishes.
Tung Oil: the Oil of the nut of the tung tree. Generally used in fine wood finishing.
Turpentine: Derived from pine, most often used as a thinner and cleaning solvent.
Undercoat: A coating that provides improved adhesion and/or more gloss and uniformity to a topcoat.
Varnish: A liquid composition that dries transparent after being applied in a thin layer.
Varnish Stain: Any varnish with a transparent color added.
Vehicle: The liquid portion of paint, composed of the thinner and binder.
Water Repellant: Any finish that prevents penetration of water into the substrate.
Water Based Paint: Any paint made with acrylic, vinyl or latex resins, and thinned with water. It dries more quickly than oil-based paint, has a relatively low odor and cleans up easily.
Weather Resistance: The ability of a coating to retain its appearance and integrity in the face of various weather conditions.
Wire Brushing: Cleaning a surface with a wire brush, or wire power brush.
Wood Filler: A product used to fill the grain of wood before undercoats or finishes are applied. Most often used on furniture.
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