Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

As consumers, we all have varying interests and tastes. The same is true when it comes to the painting or finishing of our businesses and homes. The materials used are normally based on the requirements that we have.

We may use a certain paint color or sheen because of its presentation, beauty, or how it makes us feel inside. Other paints or coatings are used to protect surfaces from the elements such as rain, wind and erosion. And the third has to do strictly with color. This is for the purpose of designating a special safety area, the color coding of piping systems, etc.

And, of course, a paint, coating or material can be designed for the purpose of providing one or more of those variables together. Just like with many other consumer products, paints and finishing materials: to give people a choice and freedom in what they purchase. We all want that.

To explain the types and uses of a wide variety of paint finishes and materials, it is easier to understand each of them in their own fundamental groups. The complete list of products and materials, used for finishing, is far too extensive. And if you are a home owner, you don’t need them anyway.

To simplify, I’ve divided paints it into three major paint groups: waterborne, solvent, and catalyst activation. There are, of course, others. All three are applied using relatively the same methods, and in either interior or exterior coating formulations. They posses a varying degree in ease of use and clean up methods. The largest distinction between them lies in their method of drying.

The waterborne – a common example “latex” – dries and binds to the surface through the evaporation of water. It releases from the active binders, pigments and colorants of the product.

The solvent-borne – eg. oil-based paints, varnishes and alkyds – dry on the surface by the evaporation of a carbon based solvent from the components of the product. Recognizable solvents would be mineral spirits and lacquer thinner.

Catalyst activated products – two example: epoxy and urethane – dry on the surface by a chemical curing process. The molecules bind to each other in relationship to their types of chemical bonds. These products are considerably more durable and resistant to chemicals and environmental exposure, especially from the sun’s rays. A clear example would be the finish on your automobile.

Substrate products belong to a completely separate group. It represents materials which are neither paints or solvents, but are used in the finishing industry and most often in the building and construction sectors. The products and materials are based on a gypsum composition, and relate to wall repair and construction.

Specific substrate products include drywall, plaster, stucco and a short list of surface finishing compounds, namely joint compounds, plaster mixes, and spackling. Gypsum materials are used, primarily, because they can easily be made to create the supportive structure for a wall and used to achieve a variety of surface textures from smooth to course. Also, they are designed for their acoustical and soundproofing qualities.

Outside the realm of paints and other finishing products are the wallcoverings. These products, sold in rolls by the yard, and more recently also in packaged, pre-cut squares, are used to cover the walls of areas rather than using paint material. They have a long history of use dating back to the 18th century.

The wallcoverings today consist of papers, vinyls, and textiles including carpet and fabrics. These decorative products encompass a vast array of colors, textures, patterns, designs and combinations there of. Where more than color and sheen is desired, wallcoverings are an excellent alternative to painting your walls, ceilings, doors, bookcases, divider screens, and more unique areas.

Faux finishing products are the final major group of products related to the painting and decorating field. Paints are much more associated with decorative finishing. Yet, there are several items which are used only to apply decorative type finishes. Some of these elements include: glazing medium, metal foil, crackleture finish, lacquer, acrylic varnish, venetian plaster, metallic powders and tinting pigments.

If you decide to apply a decorative finish, you can rest assured there is a product to fit your needs. There is tremendous diversity in the decorative finishing field.

In the mean time? Learn about the techniques.  And, please, create a few samples, before taking aim at an entire room. Today, with all of the products available, your true creativity is yet to be explored.


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