The time has come. You’ve finally decided to start that paint project or renovation you’ve been putting off. Maybe you’re tackling the house painting project on your own for the first time, or you’ve hired a professional painting service to help you along the way. No matter what the situation, there are definitely some house painting terms you’ll want to know.
Regardless of how you’re getting the job done, there’s a whole lot of terminology and processes that can feel overwhelming when it comes to painting and home improvement projects. There are so many different brands and types of paint, not to mention all the different tools for different surfaces, and the different types of services that each painting company you interact with might provide. So we’re breaking it down and sharing a glossary of house painting terms you’ll want to know before beginning your next paint project.
21 Common Painting Terms
Acrylic is a type of paint that you will find at most all hardware and home improvement stores. These paints are water-based and water-resistant. They can be used for interior and exterior jobs.
If you hear painters talk about adhesion, they’re referring to how well the dried paint stays on the surface without cracking, blistering, etc. This is probably the most important attribute when looking for great paint because you want your paint job to stand the test of time! It’s also particularly important when researching exterior paints because of the weather and changing seasons.
You’ve probably heard this one before. Your basement will be the highly pigmented color on your paint job. Basecoats just about always require a finishing coat of clear protection/gloss to ensure that your paint job lasts.
Have you ever had bubbles or moisture form in your finished paint job? This can be extremely frustrating, and it usually means your surface was not clean before applying paint. This can also be caused when you paint over a previous coat before it finishes drying. Remember – be patient between coats!
5. Brush Types
There are so many types of paint brushes out there, we thought we’d quickly breakdown a few of the most common for you.
a. Natural-bristle brushes – These are made with animal hair and are great for paints with an oil base finish. The tips on these brushes of these brushes hold a lot of paint and help you have a smooth paint release and finish.
b. Nylon/polyester blend brushes – These common brushes are easy to clean and work great with latex paints. If you’re looking for a high-quality paint finish, get yourself a great nylon/polyester brush. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks on it! With proper care, they can handle quite a few projects and last long term.
c. Polyester brushes – These also work best for latex paints. They hold their shape and will help you to apply paint smoothly and evenly.
You may have heard of caulking in terms of plumbing, but it’s an important part of your paint projects too! Caulking is when you waterproof the gaps around or between building materials using a flexible filler.
Have you seen eggshell paints on the shelf at your local home improvement store? Eggshell paints have a finish with very low shine, but they’re much more durable than flat or matte finish paints. This makes them great for interior walls in your home or office building.
Elasticity is all about how much your paint can expand and contract with showing any damage or changes to its appearance. The elasticity of your paint plays a huge part in its durability when it comes to things like indoor and outdoor temperature changes.
Enamel paint produces a smooth and hard finish. While you don’t want to use this everywhere, enamel paint is great for trim, windows, and doors.
10. Exterior paint
Exterior paints are specifically created for outdoor usage and standing up to the elements. For most brands and colors, these are self-priming. A good one will all mention that it’s UV and weather-resistant.
11. Flat paint
Notice the word “flat” on your paint can? Although these paints are typically the most affordable, flat means that it has no gloss finish. Flat paints typically scuff or get dirty easily and may lack washability as well. For most home paint jobs, these are to be avoided.
You’ll notice varying levels of gloss mentioned on different paints throughout your hardware store. Whether it’s a low gloss, semi-gloss or high gloss, this simply refers to the amount of light that a paint reflects.
13. Lead-based paint
Lead-based paints can be a major health hazard. If you’re living in an older home, it may contain paint with a high level of lead. To work with or remove this type of paint, you’ll need the help of a specialist. If you’re in the Middle Tennessee/Nashville area, feel free to reach out to our ProTek team!
Masking is an important part of your painting process. This is when you use tape or other coverings to prevent paint from ending up on your floors, windows, light fixtures, etc. Always be sure to prep your space with masking!
15. Matte paint
Similar to flat paints, matte paint is flat and void of shine. These are most often used for things like painting ceilings.
We’re not referring to a mid-day snooze. Nap refers to the length of the fibers on your paint roller. Short nap rollers work best for gloss finishes; medium naps are for lower sheen or matte paints, and long naps should be used for textured surfaces.
17. Pressure Washing
Before painting an exterior surface it’s important to do a cleaning to ensure that your paint sticks well. This is where pressure washing comes in. Using high pressure and hot water equipment and cleaners, it’s the most optimal way to prepare your outdoor surfaces for a fresh coat. You can find out more about our pressure washing services right here.
When buying supplies for your paint job, you’ll find many options when it comes to paint rollers. But many of the ones on the shelf won’t be worth your time. Polyester rollers, for instance, don’t hold paint well and you’ll spent a good amount of time reloading them. Although these come at a low price, we don’t recommend them. Instead, look for a good quality blend or lambskin cover. Both hold more paint and are less likely to leave marks in your paint.
When you see paint that mentions a smooth finish with some gloss, it’s most likely a satin paint. These can be a great choice for interior paint projects because they have an increased washability over flat, matte or eggshell paints.
A paint sealer is a special type of paint used to prevent interactions between coats. They can also cover things like knots in your paint surface to ensure they don’t show through your finished coat. They’re useful on new plaster and drywall, bare wood, and surfaces like brick and concrete.
Do you have questions about other paint terms we haven’t mentioned here? Reach out to our team!