Paint is a liquid or a mastic composition and its application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to opaque solid layer. Paints are used to decorate and protect any object or surface. It also adds functionality to an object or surface by covering it. Painting is an application of paint. One who paints artistically is called a painter or an artist while one who paints commercially is called painter or decorator. Paints can be applied to almost any type of object.

Components of Paint

* Pigment : These are granular solids present in the paints which contributes to toughness, color or reduction in costs. Some paints contain dyes in combination with paints. Pigments are classified as synthetic and natural. Synthetics pigments include calcined clays, engineered molecules, precipitated calcium carbonate, synthetics silicas. Natural pigments include clays, mica, talcs, silicas, calcium carbonate. Hiding pigments help in making the color opaque and protects the substrate from harmful ultraviolet rays. Filler pigments are special type of pigment used to increase the volume of paint. Some pigments are also toxic.

* Binder : It is actual film forming component of paint. It is also called as resin. This component has to be present in all the paints. Other components may be optional. The binder provides adhesion, binds the pigments together, and includes properties like exterior durability, flexibility, toughness and gloss potential. Binders also include synthetic or natural fibers like polyurethanes, polyesters, acrylics, melamine resins, oils and epoxy. Binders are categorized according to the processes. The processes include curing and drying.

* Vehicle or solvent : This adds to the viscosity of the paint. It is volatile and it controls the flow of paint. Water is the main vehicle for the water-based paints.

* Additives : These are added in very small amounts yet give a significant effect on the product. Additives include adhesion promoters, catalysts, stabilizers, thickeners etc.

Types of Paints

Today, two types of paints are used: alkyd and latex. Alkyd paint is also known as water based paint. Latex is easier to use and imparts excellent finish to the products. Latex paints dry quickly, have less odor, are non-flammable, easy to touch up, reduce peeling, cracking and blistering.

Levels of Gloss

The sheen of paint lies in the amount of light reflected by the surface of the paint. There are four types of finishes;

* Satin Finish : It provides a soft luster similar to that of a egg shell and hence also called as eggshell finish. It is good choice for walls, hallways, stairways and family rooms due to its durability.

* Flat Paints : These are matte paints and exhibit non-reflective properties. Surface imperfections can be hidden and are generally used for walls and ceilings.

* Gloss Paints : They are more durable, harder and stain resistant. Surface imperfections can be noticed using gloss paints. Gloss finishes are generally used in bathrooms, furniture, cabinets, stairs, floors etc.

* Semi-Gloss Paints : They are easier to clean, durable and stain resistant. Semi gloss paints are used in kitchens, bathrooms, cabinets and wood trims.

Primer is a type of paint that is a preparatory coating applied before painting. It ensures better adhesion. Varnish provides a shield without changing the color. These paints are without pigments.

Wood paint is thin and low in viscosity. It is formulated so that pigment penetrates the surface rather than appearing on the top of the surface. Varnish is added to the oil-based paint using enamel paints.

Inks are similar to paints, they make use of dyes and are designed not to leave a thicker film of binder. Thus, paints have applications in all fields and are used widely everywhere.