Spray paint terminology

We’ve compiled a helpful list for you.




A

ACCELERATOR:

  • Additive to paint to speed the cure of a coating.

ACRYLIC:

  • A plastic like material used in the manufacturing of paint to increase gloss and durability.

ACTIVATOR:

  • See CATALYST.

ADDITIVE:

  • Chemicals added to a paint to improve or create certain specific characteristics: i.e., flex agents.

ADHESION PROMOTER:

  • Material used over an O.E.M. or cured insoluble finish to increase the adhesion of the topcoat.

AIR DRY:

  • The drying or solvent evaporation of a topcoat at room temperature.

ALTERNATE COLOUR:

  • A colour matched to a verifiable O.E.M. colour shift.

ALUMINIUM PIGMENT:

  • Small aluminium particles used in paint to reflect light. These flakes vary in size and polish to give a look of glamour and luster.

ARCING (the gun):

  • The action of turning the wrist or elbow at the end of each pass of paint while doing blends or panel repair. This causes a lighter application of paint at each end of the pattern.

ATOMIZE:

  • The breaking-up of paint into fine particles or droplets by a paint gun.

B

BAKING:

  • The process of applying heat to a finish to speed the cure or dry time of the finish.

BARE SUBSTRATE:

  • Any material (steel, aluminium, plastic, etc.) which does not have a coating of paint or primer.

BASECOAT:

  • A highly pigmented colour which requires a coating of clear for protection, durability and gloss.

BASECOAT/CLEARCOAT SYSTEM:

  • A two-stage finish consisting of a colour coat and a clearcoat.

BLEEDING:

  • Soluble dyes or pigments in old finishes dissolved by solvents in new colour and bleed through to the new finish color.

BLENDING:

  • The tapering of finishes or colours so slight differences cannot be distinguished. Merging one colour into another. This is achieved by allowing some of the old finish to show through the new colour.

BLISTERING:

  • Effect of pressure from either solvent or moisture under a coating causing a swelling or blister in the finish; i.e. water blister.

BLUSHING:

  • A milky appearance of a topcoat caused by high humidity where water condenses on or in the wet coating. This can be eliminated by use of heat or a slower solvent or retarder.

BODY FILLER:

  • An activated polyester type material used on bare substrate to fill dents in damaged auto body parts.

BRIDGING:

  • Occurrence where a primer or surfacer does not totally fill a sandscratch or imperfection. Not usually apparent in undercoat, however, does show up in topcoat.

BRITTLE:

  • A paint coating lacking flexibility.

BUBBLES:

  • Air or solvent trapped in a paint film caused by poor atomization during spraying. Air trapped in body filler caused by excessive agitation.

BUFFING/COMPOUNDING:

  • Using a mild abrasive to bring out gloss and/or remove texture in a topcoat. This can be done by hand or machine.

BURN/BURN THROUGH:

  • Polishing or buffing of a colour or clear too hard or long causing the underlying coat(s) to be revealed.

C

CAST:

  • A variation of a colour; example, a red shade blue.

CATALYST:

  • Additive for paint to speed the cure, give better recoatability, better durability to weather and provides gloss.

CELLULOSE:

  • Natural polymer or resin from cottonseed oil to make paint coatings.

CHALKING:

  • The result of weathering of a paint film resulting in a white powdery appearance.

CHECKING/CROWFOOT:

  • Tiny cracks or splitting in the surface of a paint film usually seen in a lacquer. Caused by improper film formation or excessive film build.

CHEMICAL STAIN/SPOTTING:

  • Circular, oblong or irregular spots or discoloration on areas of finish caused by reactive chemicals coming into contact with air pollution (coal and high sulfur emissions), acid rain and snow.

CHIPPING:

  • Removal of finish usually due to the impact of rocks and stones.

COAT/SINGLE:

  • Applying of undercoat or topcoat over the surface using a 50% overlap of spray.

COAT/DOUBLE:

  • Two single coats with longer flash time.

COLOURANT:

  • Made with ground pigments, solvent and resin. Used in the intermix system to produce colours.

COLOUR BLIND:

  • A person may experience difficulty with their colour vision; incapable of distinguishing or perceiving certain colours or any colour.

COLOUR COAT:

  • The application of colour to a prepared finish.

COLOUR DEFICIENCY:

  • A handicap in colour vision, incapable of distinguishing or perceiving some colours or levels of any colour.

COLOUR FAST:

  • See COLOUR RETENTION.

COLOUR MATCH:

  • Two colors exhibiting no perceptible difference when viewed under the same conditions.

COLOUR RETENTION:

  • The ability of a colour to retain its true shade over an extended period of time. A color that is colour fast.

COLOUR STANDARD:

  • A small sprayed-out sample of OEM colour. This is the established requirement for a given colour code. This is the colour the car is supposed to be from the factory.

COLOUR VERSION:

  • A colour matched in a different quality finish, to match the same OEM standard; i.e., a colour matched to an acrylic enamel in lacquer.

COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS:

  • Colours that are opposite each other on the color wheel.

COMPOUNDING:

  • See BUFFING.

CONCENTRATION:

  • The ratio of pigment in paint to resins in paint.

COVERAGE:

  • The ability of a pigmented color to conceal or cover a surface.

CRATERING:

  • The forming of holes in a film due to contamination.

CRAZING:

  • Fine line cracks in the surface of the paint finish; see CROWSFOOT.

CROSSCOAT:

  • Applying paint in a crisscross pattern. Single coat applied in one direction with a second single coat applied at 90¡ to the first.

CROWSFOOT:

  • Tiny cracks in the surface of a paint film usually seen in a lacquer; also see CHECKING.

CURE:

  • The chemical reaction of a coating during the drying process, leaving it insoluble.

CURDLING:

  • The gelling or partial cure of paint due to incompatible materials.

CURTAINS:

  • Large sagging or runs of paint due to improper application.

“CUT-IN”:

  • Painting of the edges of parts before installation.

D

DEFINED ORIENTATION:

  • The dispersion of metallic or mica flake with a definite pattern.

DELAMINATION:

  • The peeling of a finish having improper adhesion.

DEPTH:

  • Lighter or darker in comparing two colors. The first adjustment in colour matching.

DIE-BACK:

  • The gradual loss of gloss due to continued evaporation of solvent after polishing.

DIRECT (FACE):

  • The color viewed from head-on (90¡).

DISPERSION LACQUER:

  • Particles of lacquer paint suspended or dispersed in a solvent which is not strong enough for total solution.

D.O.I. (DISTINCTNESS OF IMAGE):

  • How clear a finish reflects an image.

DOUBLE COAT:

  • One single coat of paint followed immediately by another.

DRIER:

  • A material used in a paint which enables it to cure.

DRY:

  • The evaporation of solvent from a paint film.

DRY FILM THICKNESS (D.F.T.):

  • The thickness of a paint after it has dried and/or cured. Measured in mils.

DRY SPRAY:

  • The process of applying paint in a lighter or not as wet application.

DURABILITY:

  • How well a film weathers and lasts.

E

ELECTROSTATIC PAINT APPLICATION:

  • Process of applying paint by having the surface electrically charged positive or negative and the application equipment on opposite electric charge.

E.P.A. (ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY):

  • Government agency established to administer federal environmental legislation.

ETCH:

  • The process of chemically treating a material for corrosion resistance and adhesion of a primer, or to remove rust.

ETCHING PRIMER:

  • A primer which contains an acid which etches the substrate as well as applying a primer. To protect against corrosion.

F

FACTORY PACKAGE COLOR (F.P.C.):

  • Car colours that are matched, produced and packaged by paint companies for specific car colour codes for use at the refinish level.

FADING:

  • A gradual change of colour or gloss in a finish.

FEATHEREDGE:

  • A sanding process of tapering a broken paint edge to a smooth finish.

FEATHERING:

  • Slang term for blending or slowly moving the edge of one colour into a second colour.

FILM BUILD:

  • The wet or dry thickness of applied coating measured in mils; also see DRY FILM THICKNESS.

FISHEYE:

  • Round ring-like craters caused by contamination.

FLAKE-OFF:

  • Large pieces of paint or undercoat falling off of substrate; also called delamination.

FLASH/TIME:

  • The time needed to allow solvents to evaporate from a freshly painted surface before applying another coat or heat.

FLATTING AGENT:

  • Material used in paint to dull or eliminate gloss.

FLEX AGENT:

  • Material added to paint for additional flexibility, usually used for rubber or plastic flexible parts.

FLOATING:

  • Characteristics or some pigments to separate from solution and migrate to the surface of paint film while still wet.

FLOP (SIDE TONE):

  • The colour of a finish when viewed from a side angle, other than direct.

FLUORESCENT LIGHT:

  • Light emitted from a standard fluorescent fixture.

FLOW:

  • The leveling properties of a wet paint film.

FOGCOAT:

  • A final atomized coat of paint, usually applied at higher air pressure and at greater distance than normal.

FORCE DRY:

  • Speed of dry due to application of heat. See BAKING.

G

GLAZE:

  • A very fine polishing material used to gain gloss and shine.

GLOSS:

  • Reflectance of light from a painted surface. Measured at different degrees by instruments known as gloss meters.

GRAYNESS:

  • The amount of black or white in a specific colour.

GRINDING:

  • Using a coarse abrasive, usually a spinning disc to remove paint, undercoat, rust, etc. before applying body filler.

GROUND COAT:

  • Highly pigmented coat of paint applied before a transparent color to speed hiding.

GUIDE COAT:

  • A mist coat of a different colour, usually primer, to aid in getting a panel sanded straight. A dry contrasting colour applied to prime prior to sanding. This coat remains in the low areas and imperfections during the sanding process. When removed, imperfections are eliminated.

H

HANDSLICK:

  • The time it takes for a wet paint film to become ready for another coat of paint.

HARDENER:

  • A material used to speed cure of an enamel. See also CATALYST.

HARDNESS:

  • Resistance of a paint film to surface damage measured in pencil hardness.

HIGH BAKE:

  • The baking of paint above 82°C / 180° F.

HIGH SOLID:

  • Paints and undercoats which have more pigment and resin (film formers) than their regular equivalent.

HIGH STRENGTH/HIGH CONCENTRATED:

  • The amount of pigment in the volume solid portion is in a higher amount, more pigment vs. resin.

HIGH VOLUME LOW PRESSURE (HVLP):

  • Spray equipment which delivers material at a low pressure of no more than 10 PSI (at the air cap), however, with greater volume of air.

HIT:

  • Small increment. A gradual increase in quantity. Term used in colour adjustment.

HOLD-OUT (COLOUR):

  • The ability of an under-coat to stop or greatly reduce the topcoat from soaking into it.

HUMIDITY:

  • The amount or degree of water vapor in the air measured in percent.

I

INCANDESCENT LIGHT:

  • Light emitted from a burning filament in a glass bulb.

INCREMENT:

  • A gradual increase in quantity.

INFRA-RED LIGHT:

  • Portion of electromagnetic spectrum just below the visible light range. Can be used to cure paint due to heat being produced.

INNERCOAT ADHESION:

  • The ability of one coat of paint to stick to another coat.

INTERMIX:

  • The mixing of specific colors by adding different components or colorants to produce a usable mixture at the paint store or shop level.

ISOCYANTE/POLYISOCYANATE:

  • Material containing a functional group of nitrogen, carbon and oxygen, used in urethane catalyst and hardener to cross link material into a solid urethane film

J

JELLED:

  • Thickening of paint to an unusable form due to drying or curing, before being used.

L

LACQUER:

  • A paint which dries by solvent evaporation which can be redissolved in its own solvent.

LET DOWN:

  • The process of reducing the intensity of a colorant or mass tone through the addition of white or silver, allowing you to see cast and strength.

LIFTING:

  • The soaking of a solvent into a soluble undercoat causing swelling, then causing the topcoat to wrinkle from underneath.

LOW-BAKE:

  • Baking of a paint film up to 180¡ F.

LOW PRESSURE COAT:

  • The process of applying the final coat of paint at a lower air pressure. Used to uniform a finish or blending.

M

MASKING:

  • Process of applying pressure, sensitive tape and paper to a vehicle to prevent paint from being applied where it is not wanted.

MASSTONE:

  • The color of an undiluted colorant.

M.E.K. (METHYL ETHYL KETONE):

  • Solvent used in many paint reducers and thinners.

METALLIC COLOUR:

  • Colours containing various sizes of aluminum flakes. These flakes have reflective properties and when used in combinations and/or amounts, modify the optical characteristics of the colour.

METAMERISM:

  • A phenomenon exhibited by two colours that match under one or more light sources, but do not match under all light sources or viewing conditions.

MICA COLOUR:

  • Colours containing various sizes and/or colours of mica. Mica flakes have several optical characteristics allowing light to reflect, pass through and absorb. When added to colour alone or with metallic flake, cause the colour to look different depending on the angle of view.

MIL:

  • A measure of paint film thickness equal to one/one-thousandth of an inch.

“MINI BELL”:

  • Equipment used to apply paint electrostatically consisting of a spinning disk to which paint is applied. The spinning disc is charged electrically and paint is atomized through centrifugal force.

MIST COAT:

  • A thin sprayed coat to uniform metallic finishes. Also used to blend colors. Sometimes used with light amounts of solvents to uniform finish and/or increase gloss.

MOTTLING:

  • Blotches of metallic or mica particles in a paint film.

M.S.D.S. (MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS):

  • Used in locating information on all paint materials.

N

NITROCELLULOSE LACQUER:

  • Lacquer paint whose resin is formed with cellulose, a natural resin made from cotton.

NON-PHOTOCHEMICALLY REACTIVE:

  • Solvents which do not react with sunlight to cause ozone or smog.

O

O.E.M.:

  • Original equipment manufacturer.

OPAQUE:

  • A finish that is not transparent. Light cannot be seen through it and does not allow what is underneath to show through.

ORANGE PEEL:

  • Texture in a paint film that resembles the peel of an orange. Caused by improper reduction or application.

OSHA (OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION):

  • A federal agency which sets safety and health regulations for most of the U.S. industries and businesses.

OVERLAP:

  • Placing one coat of paint alongside another, one partly extending over the other.

OVER SPRAY:

  • Paint which during application will stick to adjacent panels not being painted.

OXIDATION:

  • Chemical reaction between oxygen and another substance, causing paint film curing, paint film failure or metal rusting.

OZONE:

  • A triatomic very reactive form of oxygen that is a bluish, irritating gas of pungent odor. Formed naturally in the atmosphere by a photochemical reaction and is a major air pollutant in the lower atmosphere but a beneficial component of the upper atmosphere.

    P

    PAINT SETTLING:

    • The dropping or settling of the solids in a reduced or unreduced paint to the bottom of paint gun or can.

    PAINTER VARIABLES:

    • Painter can control range of reduction, air pressure, speed of travel, flash time, etc.

    PANEL REPAIR:

    • Refinishing of a complete panel.

    PEELING:

    • Loss of adhesion between one coat of paint to succeeding coats or coatings.

    PHOTOCHEMICALLY REACTIVE:

    • Organic solvents that react with ultra violet light to form oxidants such as ozone and smog.

    PIGMENT:

    • An insoluble finely ground powder, either natural, synthetic, inorganic or organic. It provides color, hardness, durability, hiding and corrosion resistance to paint.

    PIN-HOLE:

    • Paint imperfection resembling a hole about the size of the head of a straight pin. Caused by solvent entrapment or air bubbles.

    POTLIFE:

    • The amount of time a mixed material is usable.

    PRESSURE POT:

    • A sealed paint cup with a paint gun which puts a measured amount of air pressure into it. This then forces the paint to the gun for atomization.

    PRIMARY COLOUR:

    • Red, yellow and blue. These colours resemble no other colour and cannot be formed by mixtures of any other colours.

    PRIMER:

    • The coating applied to a properly prepared substrate to give corrosion resistance, adhesion and chemical resistance.

PRIMER-SEALER:

  • An undercoat used to improve adhesion and colour holdout with minimum filling properties.

PRIMER-SURFACER:

  • Undercoat used to fill imperfections, with primer qualities and maximum filling properties. Must be sanded.

PUCKERED:

  • Small wrinkles or buckles caused by a non-compatibility of additives.

PUTTY (SPOT):

  • Materials used to fill imperfections in a substrate. Composed of a lacquer or polyester resin. Applied with a squeegee and sanded smooth.

R

RANDOM ORIENTATION:

  • The dispersion of metallic or mica flakes with no specific pattern.

REDUCER:

  • A solvent used to lower the viscosity of an enamel or urethane.

REFINISH:

  • The act of replacing or repairing a painted surface, usually undercoat and topcoat.

REFLOW:

  • Adding heat to such a degree as to cause the paint to melt and become a liquid.

RESIN:

  • A clear or semi-clear part of a paint film which gives solids or film build. Resin gives the finish shine, gloss, durability, adhesion, handling and drying characteristics.

RETARDER:

  • Slowest evaporating solvent.

RUN:

  • Excessive amount of coating failing to adhere uniformly over the surface, thus flowing unevenly in a small area.

S

SAG:

SEALER:

  • Material applied before topcoat to increase colour holdout and uniformity of colour and adhesion.

SECONDARY COLOURS:

  • Mixture of two primary colours to produce a second colour. Example: red and yellow make orange.

SEEDY:

  • Rough or gritty appearance of paint due to very small insoluble particles.

SETTLING:

  • See PAINT SETTLING.

SHADE:

  • A variation of colour. Example 1: a green shade blue. Example 2: light blue versus dark blue.

SHRINKAGE:

  • Tightening or shrinking of paint film as solvent evaporates.

SIDETONE “FLOP”:

  • The color of a finish when viewed from a side angle.

SINGLE STAGE:

  • A one-step paint procedure of applying colour, protection and durability in one application. No clear is used.

SIPHON FEED GUN:

  • Any paint gun which uses air flowing over an opening to create a vacuum to draw paint up a tube to be atomized.

SOLIDS:

  • The part of the paint, pigments and resin which do not evaporate.

SOLID COLOR:

  • Colours that contain no metallic flakes in the pigment portion of paint. These colors have opaque pigmentation or properties in the paint film.

SOLUTION:

  • A homogeneous mixture of two or more dissimilar substances.

SOLVENT CLEANER:

  • Solvent-based cleaning material used to remove contamination from surfaces prior to refinishing.

SOLVENT POP:

  • Blisters in the surface of a film caused by trapment of solvent.

SPLITTING:

  • The breaking open of an undercoat or topcoat into long cracks resembling the look of a “dry river bottom”.

SPOT REPAIR:

  • The process of repairing only a portion of a panel or vehicle.

SPRAY PATTERN:

  • Spray from the paint gun adjusted from a very small, almost round pattern to a wide, flat, somewhat oval shape.

STABILIZER:

  • Special resin-containing solvent used in basecoat color to lower viscosity helping in metallic control and recoat times.

STRENGTH OF COLOR:

  • The hiding ability of a pigmented toner or colorant.

SURFACER:

  • See PRIMER-SURFACER.

T

TACK COAT:

  • Usually the first light coat of paint is allowed to set and become sticky before additional coats are applied.

TACK FREE:

  • Time in the drying of a paint film where it is not sticky but not completely cured.

TACK RAGS:

  • A sticky cheese cloth used to remove dust before painting.

TEXTURE:

  • The amount of orange peel or roughness in a dried paint film.

THERMOSPLASTIC PAINT:

  • Material which with the addition of heat becomes soft and pliable, returning to solid when cooled, i.e., lacquer.

THERMOSETTING PAINT:

  • Type of paint that becomes hard when heated and thereafter is cured, i.e., enamels, urethanes.

THINNER:

  • Solvent material used to reduce the viscosity of lacquers.

THREE-STAGE SYSTEM:

  • A three-step paint procedure. First a highly pigmented colour coat is applied to achieve hiding, referred to as the groundcoat. This groundcoat is then followed by the intermediate coat. The intermediate coat is applied using a transparent mica in a number of single coats until the desired effect is obtained. This finish requires a clearcoat for gloss protection and durability, which is applied last.

TINT:

  • A pure toner used for the changing of another colour.

TINTING:

  • The act of changing one colour by adding another.

TITANIUM DIOXIDE:

  • A commonly used white pigment with high hiding power.

TONERS:

  • Made with ground pigments, solvent and resin. Used in the intermix system to produce colours.

TOP-COAT:

  • The pigmented colour portion of the painting process.

TOUGHNESS:

  • The ability of a finish to withstand abrasion, scratches, etc.

TRANSFER-EFFICIENCY:

  • The ratio in a percentage of the amount of paint actually applied to a surface compared to the amount of material used.

TWO-COMPONENT:

  • A paint material which must have a catalyst or hardener to react.

U

ULTRA VIOLET LIGHT:

  • The part of the electromagnetic spectrum which can cause fading of paint. Located just beyond the visible part of spectrum.

UNDERCOAT:

  • The coatings below the top colour coat that help in adhesion and corrosion resistance.

V

VISCOSITY:

  • Determined by allowing a measured amount to flow through an orifice and measuring the time it takes for this amount to flow.

V.O.C. (VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUND):

  • Any organic compound that evaporates and subsequently participates in atmospheric photo-chemical reaction; that is, any organic compound other than those that the administrator designates as having negligible photochemical activity.

W

WATERBORNE COATING:

  • A coating containing more than five percent water in its volatile fraction.

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