A tool used to wear away a surface by rubbing. Examples include steel wool, sandpaper, and powdered pumice.

The carpenter used sandpaper because it is an excellent abrasive for removing minor dents in wood and making it appear smooth.

Synonyms: Rubbing, polishing, harsh, grinding, caustic.






This refers to the tendency of dissimilar surfaces to cling to one another. In the painting world, this simply means the ability of a coating to stick to a surface.

You should use paint adhesion testing to find out if a coating or the paint will properly adhere to the substrates to which they are applied.

Synonyms: Gluing, fastening, sticking, fixing.






Refers to synthetic resin that is modified with oil. This results in a good level of adhesion and leads to a highquality gloss and clean surface. Alkyds are slow to dry but provide a high level of flexibility and color retention.

You should use an alkyd if you want a glossier finish than a water-based paint because it is oil-based.




\ˈben-ˌzēn, ben-ˈ\


This is used as a solvent and is extremely powerful, flammable, and toxic. As a result, it is normally only used via spray application.

It is possible to use benzene as your solvent of choice when it comes to dissolving out the pigment and leaving the plastid colorless.

Synonyms or related words: Crude, fuel, diesel, gasoline.






A problem in painting when bubbles form on the painted surface; these bubbles are created from moisture in the wood when another coat of paint is applied before the previous coat has fully dried. Excessive heat or grease beneath the coating could also cause blistering.

Blistering is likely to happen on a moist surface that hasn’t been properly dried before it was painted.






Concentrated color that can be added to paint to make it a specified color.

A colorant can be used to bring out a paint color you can’t otherwise find.

Synonyms: Pigment, shade, dye.


Copper Staining

cop•per stain•ing

\ˈkä-pərˈ stān-ing\


A problem often caused by the corrosion of copper items washing down on a painted surface. You need to paint or varnish the copper in order to prevent copper staining from damaging surfaces.

Copper staining can discolor your fixtures and fittings.






This is a substance used in the paint manufacturing process to remove any foam produced by processing errors. It is an antifoaming agent that can be sprayed on the surface or added to the mix.

Defoamers are used in a variety of industrial processes and products.


Dry Spray

dry spray

\ˈdrī ˈsprā\


This is when a powdery surface is formed while spraying. The main cause is when the pressure applied is too high during atomization and thinners evaporate too quickly in the period between when the spray is emitted from the nozzle and when it hits the surface. Fine aerosol is formed, and when it loses its solvent, the result is an almost dry deposit on the surface. The problem is made worse by poor air extraction.

Dry spray can ruin the finish of a surface.


Emulsion Paint

e•mul•sion paint

\i-ˈməl-shən ˈpānt\


This is paint in which particles are suspended in oil or water with the aid of an emulsifier, as in waterbased (latex) paint. It is commonly used to protect, color, or provide texture to a surface.

Emulsion paint is very popular and can be purchased in many colors and types.

Synonyms or related words: Acrylic, pigment, varnish, gloss.


Enamel Paint

e•nam•el paint

\i-ˈna-məl ˈpānt\


A form of paint that generally dries for a hard and glossy finish. It is best used when coating outdoor surfaces or any other surface that could be exposed to changes in temperature or hard wearing.

The majority of enamel paints are alkyd resin-based.

Synonyms or related words: Coating, glaze, lacquer, veneer.






When paint film wears away and leaves a surface exposed to the elements.

Erosion of a surface will cause it to weaken or rot.

Synonyms: Corrosion, abrasion, wear, spoiling, grinding down.






When the pores of wood are filled before the primer or finish coat is applied.

Filler is a composition that hardens on drying and effectively fills cracks and holes in wood and other construction surfaces.

Synonyms: Padding, replenishment, stuffing, wadding.


Finish Coat

fin•ish coat

\ˈfi-nish ˈkōt\


The final coat of paint or other finish on a surface.

A finish coat gives your surface a professional-looking finish.

Synonyms: Top coat.






This is an umbrella term for several different kinds of finishing materials. For example, glazing putty fills out imperfections in a surface. Glazing stain is used to soften the original color of a painted surface without obscuring it. A glaze coat is a clear finish added to previously coated surfaces for a gloss finish.

A glaze coat provides a great finish for any woodwork project.

Synonyms: Gloss, luster, sheen, shine.






Paints come in a variety of finish gloss levels, which correspond to different levels of specular reflection. The most dullgloss paint is flatwhile the shiniest example of gloss paint is high gloss; there are several other forms of gloss paint, including eggshell, matte, silk, semigloss, and satin. The glossiest paints can provide a gloss of up to 89 percent.

The purpose of gloss paint is to give a surface a bright or polished appearance.

Synonyms: Burnish, shine, sleekness, polish, luster.






A paint films ability to resist scratching, denting, and marring.

A paint’s hardness can prevent surfaces from rotting or eroding.

Synonyms: Security, stability, stableness, strength.


Intermediate Coat

in•ter•me•di•ate coat

\ˌin-tər-ˈmē-dē-ət ˈkōt\


This is the coating added between the primer and the finish coat.

The intermediate coat is often called the “barrier” coat and adds extra protection.

Synonyms: Median, middle, midway.






A shellacbased solution that is used to treat knots in wood. It works by preventing the sap in the knots from bleeding through paint films, thus ensuring it is not stained with brownish marks.

Knotting dries quickly and can be painted over as soon as it’s dry.






A wood finish that can be painted or colored and dries either through a curing process or solvent evaporation. The result is a hard and durable finish.

Professional wood finishers almost always use lacquer when working on fine wooden furniture.

Synonyms: To coat, to provide a sleek finish.


Latex Paint

la•tex paint

\ˈlā-ˌteks ˈpānt\


A type of paint made from material that originally comes from a Brazilian rubber tree. There is NO latex in this form of paint, so those with latex allergies can safely use it.

Latex paint is often used to describe all water-based paints.


Masking Tape

mask•ing tape

\ˈmask-ɪŋ ˈtāp\


A form of pressuresensitive tape that is made from easytotear paper. It is commonly used in painting to mask off areas that should not be painted.

He used masking tape to ensure the baseboard was not dotted with paint.






Refers to an uneven look in metallic finishes. It occurs due to a buildup of electrostatic charge and is caused by heavy, wet coats. Other issues include cold conditions and poor mixing of the paint.

He was upset because mottling made his metallic finish look rough and blotchy.


Oil Stains

oil stains

\ˈȯi(-ə)l ˈstānz\


There are nonpenetrating and penetrating oil stains. Nonpenetrating oil stains are transparent or opaque and contain a large amount of pigment. Penetrating oil stains contain resins and dyes that work to penetrate a surface.

He found that the non-penetrating oil stain he used remained on the surface.


Paint Remover

paint re•mov•er

\ˈpānt ri-ˈmüv-ər\


A compound that makes it easy to scrape off old paint or varnish by softening it.

He used paint remover to strip away the paint on the wall because he wanted a completely new color.






This is a liquid coating that is made from coal tar and is used as a preservative for wood. You must not use it on wood that is to be painted later, however.

Creosote is effective when it comes to protecting wood from fungi and insects that would otherwise destroy the wood.






A paints ability to hide the previous color or surface.

He chose this paint because its opacity ensured light did not pass through.






A coat of paint applied directly to the bare substrate. It is the first coat to be applied to the surface and is the most important coat because the quality of the job depends entirely on how well the surface was prepared.

The painter didn’t apply the primer correctly, and this resulted in a low-quality finish.






A mixture of oil and pigment that combines to create a doughy substance. It is normally used to fill nail holes and cracks or to set glass in window frames.

He used putty to fill in a surface’s holes and made it ready for painting.






A synthetic or natural material that is the main ingredient of paint. Resin binds the ingredients together and helps adhesion to the surface.

He chose an epoxy resin because it has very low odor.






A tool used for the application of paint. It consists of a revolving cylinder covered by a substance such as foamed plastic, fabric, or lambswool.

The painter decided to use the roller instead of the brush because he was painting a large surface area.






This is a thin liquid applied to a surface and is used to stop previous paint from seeping through from that surface. The sealer is also used to stop the topcoat from absorbing into the substrate.

The painter was happy with the sealer he chose because it blocked off stains and provided excellent adhesion.






A substance that dissolves a solute (a liquid, gas, or solid that is chemically different) and creates a solution. Solvents are normally liquids but can also be gases or solids. Typically, solvents are quite volatile, and it is important to take precautions when using them. In painting terms, a solvent evaporates during the drying process.

The painter carefully stored the product because he knew he was dealing with a potentially volatile solvent.






When there is an irregular occurrence of streaks or lines of various lengths and colors in an applied paint film. Streaking normally occurs because of contamination.

He was devastated because streaking on the walls made them look terrible.






This relates to the surface to be painted. The term refers to materials extracted from beneath the topsoil such as chalk, sand, or clay and is also used to describe building foundations.

He skillfully applied the first coat of paint to the substrate.






These are solvents used to thin oilbased paints or clean up after use. In commercial terms, they are called paint thinnersand are normally mineral spirits.

The oil-based paint seemed too thick, so paint thinner was applied to ensure the paint was of the proper consistency.






This is another colorless liquid used to thin oilbased paints or varnish. Turpentine is distilled from products of the pine tree.

He used turpentine to provide the oiled wood finish with an extra layer of protection.






Transparent liquid; when it is exposed to air, it starts to dry. It is used to provide a decorative and protective coating and is applied as a thin film.

The varnish was used to protect the wooden furniture, and it also left a shiny finish.


Volatile Organic Compound

vol•a•tile or•gan•ic com•pound

\ˈvä-lə-təl ȯr-ˈga-nik käm-ˈpau̇nd\


VOCs are organic liquids or solids that vaporize at ordinary room temperature. Public health agencies have acted to reduce the emissions of VOCs in paint products, so manufacturers are forced to adhere to new regulations.

Paint products are limited in terms of the amount of VOCs they emit in accordance with new environmentally friendly guidelines.






How the weather affects paint films. The process of weathering is often done deliberately as a means of creating an agedeffect on wood or metal.

The painter wanted to use the weathering technique to make the wooden furniture look antique.


Wet Edge

wet edge

\ˈwet ˈej\


Maintaining a wet edge means painting into what has already been applied when the paint is still wet.

He kept a wet edge while rolling the wall because he wanted to avoid unappealing lap marks.