-Z- Painting Terms

Zinc Phosphate Coating- A thin, inorganic deposit formed on zinc treated with phosphoric acid.


-Y- Painting Terms

Yellowing- Development of a yellow color in white, pastels, colored or clear finishes.


-X- Painting Terms


-W- Painting Terms

Washability- The ability of a paint to be easily cleaned without wearing away.

Washing- Erosion of a paint film after rapid chalking.

Water Spotting- Defective appearance of the paint surface that is caused by water droplets.

Weathering- Paint film deterioration as a result of exposure to the weather.

Wet Edge- The length of time during which a paint can be brushed before it becomes too dry to flow out and blend together.

Wrinkling- Ridges and furrows that develop in a paint film when the paint dries.


-V- Painting Terms

Varnish- A liquid composition that dries to form a transparent or translucent finish.

Varnish Stain- Varnish that is colored with a dye. It does not have the same power of penetration as a true stain, and it leaves a colored coating on the surface.

Vehicle- The liquid portion of a paint. The vehicle is composed mainly of solvents, resins and oils.

Velvet- A gloss range between flat and eggshell.

Venetian Plaster- A surface coating, that creates a smooth surface in both depth and movement.

Vinyl-A resin with poor adhesion but good hardness, flexibility and resistance. Vinyl is used in plastics, wallcoverings, wood adhesives, swimming pools, tank linings and marine equipment.

Viscosity- The fluid thickness of a product. Viscosity is often referred to as consistency.

Voids- Holidays, holes.

volatile matter The portion of a coating that evaporates after application.


-U- Painting Terms

Underatomized- Not dispersed or broken up fine enough.

Undercoat- For unpainted surfaces, the coat between the primer and the topcoat. For previously coated surfaces, the undercoat is applied directly to the old paint.

Uniformity- Not varying in gloss, sheen, color, hiding, or other property. 

Urethane- A product resulting in a tough, chemical-resistant finish. Urethane requires mineral spirits for thinning and cleaning up.


-T- Painting Terms

Tack Rag- A loosely woven woolen cloth that is treated (dipped into a varnish oil and wrung out) to remain tacky. It picks up dust when it is used to wipe a surface.

Tackiness-Slight stickiness of the surface of an incompletely dried film when pressed with the finger.

Tack- The sticky condition of coating during drying at a stage between the wet and dry-to-touch stages.

Tannin blocking- The process of making tannin stains insoluble so they cannot stain the topcoat; e.g., by means of a primer before the topcoat on cedar siding.

Tannin- Soluble natural stain in woods such as cedar.

Texture- The roughness or irregularity of a surface.

Thickener- A substance added to a liquid to increase its viscosity.

Thinner- Volatile liquid used to adjust consistency or to modify other properties of paint, varnish and lacquer. Thinner is used to thin and clean up paint.

Thixotropy- The property of a material that causes it to change from a thick, pasty consistency to a fluid consistency upon agitation, brushing or rolling.

Tint Base- In a custom color system, the basic paint to which colorants are added; i.e., white or accent base.

Tinting- The final adjusting of a color of paint to the exact shade required. Tinting is achieved by adding small portions of colorant to a tint base of prepared paint.

Toner- A color modifier.

Topcoat- A coat designed to provide a “finish” capable of providing protection and color. (Previous coats are referred to as primers and undercoats.)

Touch-Up- Improving imperfect spots in a paint job.

Trompe L’oeil- French expression meaning, “To deceive the eye” A painting technique creating reality.

TSP-Tri-sodium phosphate, a cleaning agent. After the TSP has been dissolved in water, the solution is used in surface preparation. (After cleaning with TSP, the surface should be rinsed.)

TSP Substitute- A biodegradable cleaning agent that can be used instead of TSP.

Tubercule- Nodule; pimple.

Turpentine- A paint thinner (now replaced by mineral spirits) obtained by distilling pine tree secretions.


-S- Painting Terms

Sags- Runs or sags in paint film that flows too much during application. Sags are usually caused by applying too heavy a coat of paint or thinning the paint too much.

Sandpaper- A sheet of abrasive-coated paper that is used for smoothing rough surfaces.

Sash Brush- An angled brush used for cutting-in.

Satin Finish- Gloss level measuring 7-22% reflection using a 60 degree meter.

Scaling- Process of delamination.

Scrubbability- The ability of a paint film to withstand scrubbing and cleaning with water, soap, and other household cleaning agents.

Sealer- A coating used to prevent excessive absorption of subsequent coats into a porous surface.

Seeds- Small undesirable particles or granules other than dust that are found in a paint, varnish or lacquer.

Semi-Gloss- A degree of gloss that is glossier than low lustre but not as glossy as high gloss. Gloss level measuring 40-60% reflection.

Semi-Transparent- A degree of ability to hide the underlying surface greater than transparent but less than opaque or solid color.

Set Up- The quality of a film that has dried until it is a film. The film is said to have “set up”.

Settling- Paint separation in which pigments and other solids accumulate at the bottom of the container.

Sheen- The degree of luster measured at a 85 degree angle.

Sheen Uniformity- The even distribution of luster over a dried paint film.

Shellac- A natural resin, usually in the form of thin flakes, that is derived from a resinous substance called lac. Shellac is used to seal and finish floors, seal knots, etc.

Skin- A tough covering that forms on paint when the container is not tightly sealed.

Solids- The solids content of a paint that is left over after the solvent evaporates. (Same as nonvolatile.)

Solvent- The volatile part of oil-based paints that evaporates during drying. Solvent-based thinners are used for thinning and cleaning up oil-based paints. In latex paints, water performs similar functions.

Spackling Compound- A material used as a crack filler for preparing surfaces before painting.

Spalling- The cracking, breaking or splintering of materials, usually due to heat.

Spar Varnish- A very durable varnish designed for exterior surfaces.

Spatter- Small particles or drips of paint that occur during the application of paint.

Specular Gloss- Mirror-like reflectance.

Sponging- A faux painting technique using a sponge to form tanslusent layers of glaze.

Spot Priming- Application of primer to spots that require additional protection because the old paint has been removed.

Spraying- A method of application in which the paint is broken up into a fine mist that is directed onto the surface.

Spreading Rate- Coverage.

Stain- A solution designed to color a surface without hiding it. Solid color and latex stains are available. Stains may be latex or oil-based.

Stippling- Is the technique of using small dots to simulate varying degrees solidity or shading. Also known as “Pouncing”.

Streaking- The irregular occurrence of lines or streaks of various lengths and colors in an applied film. Streaking is usually caused by some form of contamination.

Strie- A glazing technique for achieving a subtle mix of fine stripes by pulling a wide stiff bristled brush through wet glaze.

Strip- To remove old finishes with paint remover.

Stucco- A masonry finish that is usually applied to the exterior surfaces of buildings in place of siding or other materials.

Substrate- The surface that is being painted.

Synthetic Brush- A paint brush with filaments that are made from a non-absorbent plastic material such as polyester or nylon, rather than animal hair. Synthetic brushes are usually used for latex paint.


-R- Painting Terms

Ragging- A decorative paint finish that is either applied or subtracted with a crumpled damp rag. 

Reaching- (spray gun)- Extending spray stroke too far.

Recoat Time- The period that must elapse between applications of coats of paint.

Reducer- A material which lowers viscosity but is not necessarily a solvent for the particular film former; thinner.

Resin- A natural or synthetic material that is the main ingredient of paint. It binds the ingredients together and improves the coat’s adhesion to the surface.

Roller- A paint application tool consisting of a revolving cylinder covered with fabric, polyester foam, lamb’s wool, etc.

Ropiness-A stringy look to the paint film. Ropiness is a result of the paint not flowing evenly onto the surface.

Runs- Blemishes on the film that are caused by excessive flow of the coating.

Rust Preventive Paint or Primer- The first coat of paint applied directly to iron or steel structures to slow down or prevent rust.


-Q- Painting Terms

Quick Release Fittings- Snap lock fittings.