Know Your Paints


Understanding paint

Today I use a lot of substrates that come with the finish coat already on it such as ABS plastics, fabrics laminates or acrylics. However I still do need to paint props now and then here is a brief description of paint types.

Three common paints used

Acrylic paint –  is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water soluble, but become water-resistant when dry.
Oil-based – paint is more durable, but it takes longer to dry, and cleanup requires turpentine or paint thinner (mineral spirits). Oil-based paints are made with either alkyd (synthetic) or linseed (natural) oils.

Lacquer paint – is a clear or colored wood finish that dries by solvent evaporation or a curing process that produces a hard, durable finish. This finish can be of any sheen level from ultra-matte to high gloss, and it can be further polished as required.

Paint Finish

Most paints fall into one of the general categories of eggshell, semi-gloss, flat or gloss. You may also need to apply primer or first coat, depending on the surface being painted. These basic paints will answer most of your needs but it is worth looking for formulas that will perform better in specific situations. Always apply paint as recommended by the manufacturer.
Base Coats
For a decorative finish coat to last and look as good as possible, the right base coats are essential. For interiors, a combined primer-first coat is a good option.

Used on new, uncoated surfaces, primer protects the material beneath and provides a good base for further coats. Most paints can be sprayed with the right sprayer. Oil-based and water-based primers are available. Traditionalists prefer to use oil-based primer before oil-based paints, especially on exterior woodwork. Plaster and masonry are usually primed with a coat of latex paint diluted with 10 percent water, known as a “mist coat,” although a stabilizing primer or solution may be needed if the surface is very flaky or powdery. Special primers for other surfaces such as tiles or melamine are also available, and can be over painted with normal paints.

First Coat
A specially formulated paint used to build up opacity beneath finish coats, one or two coats of first coat paint are usually required before the decorative finish coat is applied. Use pale first coat beneath pale finish coats and a dark first coat beneath dark finish coats.

Finish Coats
Once you have applied the base coats, or washed down previously painted surfaces and rinsed them thoroughly, you are ready to apply the decorative finish.

Many types of finish are available: dead-flat matt, matt, a water-based eggshell and silk. Exterior flat is available with a smooth or rough texture. Apply all flat using as many coats as are necessary for even coverage. For use in a sprayer, dilute flat with 10 percent water.

More durable than flat, eggshell has a slight sheen. Always check the exact finish because the degree of sheen varies between manufacturers. Two coats will usually give an even color; use primer and first coat as required.

Gloss and Satin
A very hardwearing finishing paint, gloss is used mainly on wooden and metal surfaces. Satin is used in the same way as gloss but is slightly less shiny and is increasingly popular, Both solvent-based and latex-based versions of gloss and satin paints are available. Latex-based paints are easier to apply and less prone to “yellowing” with age, but do not provide as high a shine or hardwearing a finish as solvent-based paints. Almost all gloss and satin paints are suitable for interior or exterior use. Some glosses are formulated especially for exposed exterior surfaces. Gloss is generally applied as a single coat over one or two coats of primer.

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