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An Essential Guide to Type of Paints

Paint is a form of liquid which, on drying, forms a thin film on the painted surface. Type of paints vary based on solvents, application, sheen, etc.


Paint is a form of liquid which, on drying, forms a thin film on the painted surface. It can be applied on timber, brick or on any other materials.

The main function of paint is to provide protection or decoration or both.

It prevents wooden structures against warping, checking, or decay.

Metals corrode if not painted at suitable intervals

Painting enables the masonry and concrete work to resist checking and disintegration, thereby extending life.

Paint is composed of two main components -pigment and organic binder.

PIGMENT – Solid ingredient of paint and is used in the form of fine powder.

ORGANIC BINDER – Liquid part of paint and it is called vehicle.

Type of Paints Based on Solvent


Water-Based Paints

The solvent or binder used in water-based paints is almost water


Low VOC’s emission

Flexible and less susceptible to cracking

More resistant to UV rays

Can tolerate small amounts of moisture prior to application as it absorbs moisture

Takes less time to dry

Does not require a pre-treatment

Stable color over time, doesn’t become yellow


Lower sheen finish when compared to oil-based paints

Less tolerable to different variations in weather conditions.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil based paints use an organic solvent typically a mineral turpentine


Good for high moisture rooms

High durability and rich finish/sheen

Excellent resistance to wear and tear

More tolerant to differing weather conditions

Brushstrokes fill themselves-no strokes seen appearing smooth finish


Less flexible, likely to crack, become dry and brittle over time

High toxic emissions (VOC’s)may lead to health issues

If moisture is present on the surface, oil paints repel and does not create a strong the surface has to be completely dried.

Take longer periods to dry

Turns yellow over time

Aluminium Paints

Used for woodwork and metal surfaces.

Made by mixture of aluminum powder and quick drying spirit varnish/slow drying oil varnish to suit requirements of surface.

Weather resisting and waterproofing qualities.

Resistant to corrosive action of seawater.

Bronze Paints

Mostly used for painting interior or exterior metallic surface, commonly applied on radiators

High reflective property.

Anti-Corrosive Paints

Used as a metal protection paint for preserving structural steelwork

Prevents from effect of acids, fumes, corrosive chemicals

Resistant to rough weather conditions.

Cement Based Paints

Type of water paint in which white or colored pigment and cement forms the base

Applied to exposed or plastered brick masonry and concrete work.

Asbestos Paints

Especially suitable for patchwork or stopping leakage in metal roofs.

Used for painting gutters, flashings, etc. To prevent from rusting.

Bituminous Paints

Used for painting exterior brickwork and plastered surfaces

Alkali resistant and provide protection of iron and steel.

Enamel Paints

Made by adding pigments like white lead or zinc white to a binder which is varnish

Stand well with the adverse effects of atmosphere

Commonly used for painting porches, decks, stairs, concrete surfaces.

Rubber Base Paints

The paint is made from rubber treated with chlorine gas which is dissolved in suitable solvents and mixed with other pigments

Excellent acid, alkali and moisture resistant properties.

Commonly used as protective coating on cement concrete floors, interior or exterior masonry surfaces.

Cellulose Paints

Paint is made from celluloid sheets and amyl-acetate substitutes.

Stands well with rough weather conditions

Hard, flexible and smooth

Due to its high costs, restricted to motor cars/vehicles

Casein Paints

Casein is a protein substance extracted from milk curd which is mixed with a base consisting of white pigment

High opacity

Usually applied on walls, ceiling, wallboards, cement blocks to enhance the appearance of the surface.

Type of Paints based on Finish/Sheen

Flat/Matte Finish

Low gloss and non-reflective finish (low gloss paint sheens absorb light)

Mostly used for interior walls and ceilings of living, bedroom, dining, etc.

Perfect for low traffic areas

Hides imperfections like chips or cracks in walls

Hard to clean handprints and other marks

Requires less no. of coats than glossy finishes.

Eggshell Finish

Low sheen, soft and velvety smooth like an eggshell

A kind of sheen between satin/glossy and gives a beautiful classic look

Perfect for low to mid traffic areas

Have little reflectivity.

Satin Finish

Provides pearl-like smooth and velvety finish

Easy to clean than low gloss finishes and resists chipping and peeling off

Works well in high traffic indoor areas

Reflect a bit of light

Semi-Gloss Finish

Shiny than satin finish, smooth and sleek

Less reflective than glossy finish and more reflective than matt and eggshell finishes

High resistant to moisture, suitable for high traffic areas

Bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, doors and windows etc.

Highlight imperfections on walls

Gloss Finish

High reflective and glass-like finish (high gloss paints reflect light)

Suitable for high traffic areas

Highlight imperfections on walls clearly

Common for furniture, cabinets, decorative trims, etc.

Type of Paints Application Method

Most common paint application methods are




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