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Glossary of Paint Terminology

VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds): 

Chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, including paints. High VOC levels can contribute to air pollution and have potential health risks. Low or zero VOC paints are often preferred for environmentally friendly and health-conscious painting projects.


Refers to the level of glossiness or shininess in a paint finish. Common sheen options include flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. Different sheens offer varying levels of durability, ease of cleaning, and aesthetic appeal.


A preparatory coating applied to surfaces before painting to improve adhesion, enhance durability, and provide a uniform base for paint application. Primers help seal porous surfaces, block stains, and promote better paint coverage, especially on new or heavily stained surfaces.


Indicates the area a specific quantity of paint can cover on a surface. Typically measured in square feet or square meters per litre. Coverage depends on factors such as surface porosity, texture, application method, and desired finish.

Drying time:

The duration it takes for paint to dry and cure after application. Drying times vary based on factors like paint type, temperature, humidity, and thickness of application. Quick-drying paints offer shorter drying times, allowing for faster completion of painting projects.

Tack-free time:

The period after paint application during which the surface becomes touch-dry and does not feel sticky or tacky to the touch. Tack-free time may vary depending on the type of paint and environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity.


A type of synthetic resin used in oil-based paints. Alkyd paints offer excellent durability, adhesion, and smooth finish. They are commonly used for trim work, cabinets, and furniture due to their high- gloss and hard-wearing properties.


A water-based paint formulation containing acrylic resins. Acrylic paints are known for their fast-drying time, low odour, and ease of clean-up with water. They provide excellent colour retention, flexibility, and resistance to cracking and fading, making them suitable for interior and exterior applications

Stain resistance:

The ability of a paint finish to repel stains and resist soiling from common household substances like dirt, grease, and food. Paints with enhanced stain resistance are easier to clean and maintain, making them ideal for high-traffic areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms.

Flash point:

The lowest temperature at which a paint can produce enough vapour to ignite in the presence of an ignition source, such as a flame or spark. Understanding the flash point is important for safe handling, storage, and transportation of paint products, especially flammable or solvent-based paints.