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What is the difference between the various types of paint i.e. latex, enamal, etc?

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Posted 2013-08-30T23:14:58+0000  by esanders esanders




For the novice, some of these paint terms can be confusing, especially since some of their meanngs have evolved over the years.


Latex has become a generic term for water soluble paints. 60 years ago, when water based paints first came on the market, some of them did have latex rubber resins in them. To my knowledge, there has been no real "latex" paint in decades. Most of today's premium water soluble  paints have variations acrylic resins. This is true of Both Behr and Glidden paints. Premium paints will also have titanium dioxide as their white pigment. Beware of any paint that lists such things a calcium calbonate (chaulk) or silicas (sand) as pigments.These are cheap fillers in cheap paints!


The term "enamel' has also become somewhat generic to denote a paint that forms a harder, more washable surface suitable for woodwork or furniture. Some folks, especially us older folks, confuse this term with oil paint. However, this term is now used for water based paints also.


A give away of what type of paint is in the can is to read what is used to clean it up. There are basically four common groups:


- Water:                  " latex" or acrylic paints

- Mineral sprits:     oil paints, urethane paints and varnishes

- alcohol;                 shellac

- lacquer thinner:   lacquers


Today, the most common type paint in use for omeowners are the water based acrylics. Homeowners appreciate their quick drying time, low odor, and ease of water clean up.


There are additional attributes for exterior acrylic  housepaints:  again quick dry and recoat time, easy clean up and fade resistance, especially when compared to oil paints of old. An additional advantage is acrylics ability to shed rain water, yet allow the walls of the house to breathe. This is why acrylic housepaints are much more peel resistant than oil paints. Water vapor can pass on through without causing the paint film to peel.


Hope this has helped understand some of the housepaint basic terms.

Posted 2013-08-31T00:38:37+0000  by ordjen
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