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Let’s say you have recently decided to have your home painted. You’ve begun to do some research regarding the best options about how to best complete your painting project. The more research you do, the more you see unfamiliar words that you don’t really know. Natural-bristle, caulking, eggshell, masking, nap, size lines, easing oil, flashing, sheen … words that you may have heard before, but what do these painting terms mean?
Flying Colors Painting has compiled a list of commonly used painting terms that homeowners should know.
Types of Paint
The first thing all homeowners should know is the different types of paint and finishes. The different paint types are acrylic, enamel, and lead-based paint. Acrylic paints are water-based and water-resistant. This type of paint can be used on the interior and exterior of your home.
Enamel paint is used on trim, windows, and doors. This is because it produces a smooth and hard finish. Using enamel paint on these areas makes them easier to clean and adds a little luster and shine.
The next type of paint is lead-based paint. This paint can cause significant health hazards. It is no longer in use. However, if you live in an older house, you may have some lead-based paint that should be removed. If you live in an older home and want to find out if your paint has been updated, you can get a lead-based paint testing kit at your local hardware store.
Paint sheen refers to the surface’s finish after the paint dries. Each paint brand has its own specifically named finishes, but there are general terms used by all paint brands to describe the different sheens. The sheen scale goes from matte to shiny.
Sherwin-Williams defines the different sheen categories as follows:
- Flat (flat, matte): no to very low reflection when dry.
- Eg-shel (low-gloss, eggshell, low sheen, satin, velvet): Low to medium reflection when dry.
- Semi-gloss (semi-gloss, pearl, medium luster): Medium to moderate reflection when dry.
- Gloss (gloss, high-gloss): High reflection when dry.
Caulking and Masking
Caulking is generally used in plumbing but is often part of the painting process. Caulking is necessary for some painting projects because caulk fills in the gaps between building materials, essentially making it waterproof. Masking is another essential step in the painting process. Masking is when painter’s tape or other adhesive products are used to cover and protect things like windows, the floor, furniture, and trim so that paint does not drip or get onto the object.
Paint Rollers, Nap, and Brushes
If you are doing your painting project yourself, you might notice a wide variety of paint rollers and brushes to choose from. For rollers, cheaper is definitely not better. Polyester rollers are typically the most affordable, but they do not hold or apply paint well. This will cause you to have to keep dipping your roller in the paint. A roller made of a quality blend or lambskin cover will give you a better result. These rollers hold more paint making your job as a painter easier.
You may be getting tired from your painting research, however, in terms of painting, a nap does not mean a midday snooze. In painting terms, the nap is the length of fibers on a paint roller. Different naps are used for different sheens of paint.
According to Paint Splashes, “When it comes to choosing the best nap for your paint job, the length of the fiber is crucial.” The Paint Splash recommendation for optimal nap length is as follows:
- A short nap (1/8 to 1/4 inch) is best for smooth, flat surfaces such as very smooth plaster, hardboard, wallboard, or sheetrock.
- A medium nap (3/8 to 1/2 inch) is best for slightly textured surfaces such as sand-finished plaster, poured concrete and rough wood.
- A slightly longer nap (3/4 inch) is good for textured, rougher surfaces.
- A long nap (1 to 1 and a 1/2 inches) is best for very rough surfaces such as concrete blocks, bricks, cinder blocks, corrugated iron, asphalt, and wood shingles (generally these are outdoor surfaces).
Like rollers, there are also many kinds of paintbrushes. Also, like rollers, paintbrushes are used for different parts of your painting project. The most common types are natural-bristle, nylon/polyester blend, and polyester.
Bristles of a natural-bristle brush are made of animal hair. These brushes can hold large amounts of paint, making them suitable for paints that have an oil-based finish. Nylon/polyester blend brushes are commonly used with latex paints. Though synthetic, they can provide a high-quality finish. Similarly, polyester brushes work well with acrylic or latex paints as well. This type of brush holds its shape, making your paint go on smooth and evenly.
The painters at Flying Colors Painting are specialists in house painting. We know exactly what types of paints, rollers, and brushes are perfect for your home. Our team is dedicated to utilizing the best tools for your painting project for the best results. Contact us today for your free estimate.