How-To Tips and Tricks

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Problem Solver
  • Painting Checklists
  • Latex VS. Oil
  • Film Formation & Sheen Description
  • Propane Tank Estimator

What is the purpose of paint?

  1. Protection
  2. Beautification

What does paint consist of?

  1. Pigment
  2. Binder
  3. Thinner
  4. Additives

What does each basic ingredient of paint do?

  • PIGMENT:
    1. Provides color.
    2. Provides coverage.
    3. Protects binder from weathering (i.e. UVA)
    4. Some types of pigment control gloss.
  • BINDER:
    1. Holds pigment together when in dry film form.
    2. Acts as a 'vehicle' that carries pigment when applied.
    3. Type determines durability of end product.
    4. Provides adhesion to the surface to which it is applied.
  • THINNER:
    1. Combines with pigment and binder to control consistency
    2. Plays a roll in film drying.
  • ADDITIVES:
    1. Help control application properties (brush, roll, spray, etc.)
    2. Help some product formulations dry.
    3. Aid in pigment dispersion in manufacturing.
    4. Aid in pigment dispersion when adding liquid colorant.
    5. Determine various film formation properties.

What types of pigment are there?
Basically two major categories:

  1. Hiding: White (titanium dioxide), red, yellow, black, brown, blue, organic and oxide colors.
  2. Non-hiding: Talc, clay, calcium carbonate and silica.

What types of binders (vehicles) are there in paint?
There are many forms but the most common in trade paints are:

  1. Linseed oil
  2. Alkyd
  3. Polyurethane
  4. Acrylic
  5. PVA

Why use so many different binders in paint?

Each binder is unique in providing different benefits and can be used alone or blended with other binders to compliment each other.

  1. Linseed oil is used in exterior applications only and creates a flexible oil film that aids in preserving weathered wood.
  2. Alkyd is used in both interior and exterior paint. Alkyd resin is very durable and forms a hard film commonly used for heavy duty applications.
  3. Polyurethane has two common uses: one is used on automotive coatings, the other is used for products that come in contact with concrete (household and industrial use).
  4. Acrylic resin in trade coatings is a waterborne latex. Acrylic is used almost exclusively for exterior paint coatings. Acrylic paint is a very flexible and weather-resistant paint for exterior use. There are oil base acrylics used in the automotive industry, but those should not be confused with acrylic house paints.
  5. PVA is short for Poly-Vinyl Acetate. This is also a waterborne resin used mainly in interior paints. PVA can be used in exterior paints either by itself, or in combination with acrylic. Exterior moisture resistance and weathering of PVA will not be as good as acrylic.

What kind of thinner is most commonly used in paint?

  1. Mineral spirits in most architectural oil formulations.
  2. VM&P naphtha in some spraying enamels. (i.e. Tractor and Equipment Enamal)
  3. Water in latex formulations.
  4. Lacquer thinner used in lacquer varnishes.
  5. Acrylic Enamal Reducer and industrial/automotive can vary depending on the formulation.

What makes a flat, satin, semi-gloss or gloss finish?

  1. Flat usually has a 70% pigment to 30% binder ratio.
  2. Gloss usually has a 20% pigment to 80% binder ratio.
  3. Satin and semi-gloss will normally fall somewhere in the middle.

Why do flat products have a higher pigment-to-binder ratio?

The higher the pigment 'load' occupies or fills more of the binder. This saturation of binder allows the pigment to be present at the exposed surface. The dry paint film on the surface causes the light falling on it to scatter, so as to be substantially free from gloss or sheen.


Does gloss have an effect on how durable a products is?

Yes, flat finishes as a general rule us 'filler pigments' or 'extender' to lower the gloss. The extender pigments are usually soft, which reduces the scrubability, durability or weather resistance of a product.


How does paint dry?

  1. Evaporation of solvent - lacquers.
  2. Oxidation and polymerization - linseed oils.
  3. Evaporation of water and fusion - latex paints.
  4. Chemically catalyzed (drier, catalyst) - oils, epoxy, etc.

Can lacquer thinner or some other strong solvent be used to speed up paint dry time?

In most cases, not. If thinning is needed, use the thinner recommended on the label. If strong solvent is added, uneven gloss, wrinkling, and dissolving of previous coatings are only a few of many problems that can be caused. All thinner must evaporate from a coating before a film can begin to cure. Solvent is normally added to change consistency for different application methods.


What effect will cold temperatures have on paint?

  1. Oil base products can have the dry time slowed down dramatically.
  2. Latex paint can have film formation interrupted before it has totally formed.

What will happen if the paint film is exposed to cold temperatures or moisture like dew or rain?

Many different things can happen. Most of the time there may be no visible sign of a problem, but in almost all cases there will be some kind of long term affect, reducing the life of the paint job.


What makes an interior paint washable?

  1. The more gloss a finish has, the less dirt will adhere to it.
  2. The more gloss a finish has, it will most often have a harder and more washable finish, and dirt will wash off easier.
  3. Low gloss or flat finishes need a very good quality resin (binder) to be washable. Lower quality coatings do not wash as well.

What makes paint hide well?

  1. Hiding pigment concentration is the most important.
  2. How well the product flows out when applied.
  3. The quality of the tool used to apply the coating (brush, roller cover, spray equipment, etc.).
  4. Proper surface preparation is an important variable in making a coating hide well. If a surface is rough, paint will settle into the 'valleys' of the surface, leaving the 'peaks' with an insufficient amount of coating to provide coverage or protection.

What factors control the price of a paint coating?

  1. Amount of hiding pigment vs. filler pigment.
  2. Quality and quantity of resin (binder) used.
  3. Special formulations for specific performance applications.

What is the best product to use, latex or oil?

Keep in mind, many painting projects are unique and each may require a specialty finish or surface preparation. With today's advancement in latex technology, there should be a latex paint formulation for almost any application. There are many situations that require an oil base or specialty product. FOR EXAMPLE: A weathered barn or outbuilding may have very little paint left and more appropriate in this application. Oil base products generally will tolerate small amounts of dirt on a surface better than latex. Make sure to read labels for specific product information.


How important is surface preparation?

Surface preparation is the single MOST IMPORTANT variable in determining the service life of any coating. Proper surface preparation insures maximum adhesion to any surface. Even the best paint available today will not adhere to an excessively dirty or greasy surface, or if moisture and contaminates penetrate behind the paint film. Proper surface preparation will decrease the chance of contamination, discoloration, inconsistent gloss or improper film formation of a finish coat.


Will a fresh coat of paint hold down an old peeling coat of paint?

No, one common belief in the consumer market is that paint is glue and will hold down a previous coat. If anything, it may put stress on an old dry brittle coat, causing it to peel faster. Check to see if there is an old coat of paint under the new finish when you are presented with a peeling problem.


Will one thick coat of paint do as good of a job as several thinner coats, as recommended on most paint labels?

No, one thick coat of paint can cause a variety of problems. When paint is applied too thick, mud cracking, wrinkling, slow dry time, surface skinning, and stress inside the paint film can cause premature failure. These are just a few of the problems that will likely occur. Most coatings are designed to be applied at three to six 'mils' wet paint thickness per coat. As a reference, plastic is sold in 'mil' thickness.


What makes paint wash well?

  1. Hiding pigment concentration is the most important.
  2. How well the product flows out when applied.
  3. The quality of the tool used to apply the coating (brush, roller, spray, etc.).

Does paint have a shelf life?

Yes, each paint has some type of shelf life, it can get old! There are various reasons paint can get old. Paint in a spray can is quite thin, causing settling much quicker than gallons or quarts. The shelf life on spray cans is about 1-2 years. Paint in fives, gallons and quarts, or most other containers, can expect a shelf life of 2-5 years. The older the paint, the more likely you will encounter problems.


Can oil or latex paint freeze?

Latex paint cannot tolerate a freeze without some negative consequence. In many cases, it may not be noticeable in the can or during application; however, long-term durability will suffer relative to how hard the paint freezes.

Oil paint, in most cases, can take almost any temperature. There are some formulations that can 'shock' if exposed to extreme cold. A paint that has been 'shocked' will have the different ingredients (oil, resin, pigment, solvent and additives) separate. Once the different ingredients have separated, they are very difficult to remix. As a general rule, keep all paint in a freeze-protected area.

This quick reference on-line Painting Solutions guide has paint solutions to overcome common situations found on painted surfaces. Each situation has probable cause and recommended paint solutions. Click on the thumbnails below for more information. Meant for use as a general guide only; for further information, contact your local Van Sickle representative.

INTERIOR SOLUTIONS   EXTERIOR SOLUTIONS
             
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Blocking

Burnishing

Caulking
Failures
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Alligatoring
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Blistering
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Chalking
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Coalescence
Void
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Cracking/Flaking
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Flashing
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Checking/Flaking
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Dirt Staining
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Efflorescence
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Flow/Leveling
Failure
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Foaming/Cratering
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Lapping
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Fading/Color Retention
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Frosting
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Galvanized Metal Peeling
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Mildew
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Mud Cracking
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Picture Framing
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Gloss Retention
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Lapping
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Leaching (Surfactant)
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Poor Hiding
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Print Resistance Failure
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Roller Marks
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Mildew
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Nailhead Rusting
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Paint Incompatibility
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Sagging
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Scrubbing Failure
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Spattering (Roller)
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Peeling:
Hardboard/Wood
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Peeling:
Masonry/Metal
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Resisting Alkali
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Stain Resistance Failure
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Touch-up Failure
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Wrinkling
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Tannin Wood Staining
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Under Eaves Peeling
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Wax Bleeding
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Yellowing
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Wrinkling
   

  • Interior Painting Checklist
  • Exterior Painting Checklist

Complete this "check-off list" of questions, when starting any interior painting project, to aid in making your project easier. Bring it to your local Van Sickle Paint Dealer, as a quick reference tool, to aid them in helping you.


WHAT ARE YOU PAINTING
Wall       Floor       Ceiling       Other_______________________ (Doors, Cabinets, trim etc.)


WHAT ROOM?
Kitchen       Bath       Bedroom       Hall       Living room       Basement       Garage      
Other_______________________


WHAT TYPE OF SURFACE?
Wood       Concrete       Drywall       Plaster       Metal       Other_______________________


WHAT IS THE SURFACE CONDITION?
New       Clean Paint       Dirty or Chalky Paint       Glossy Paint       Peeling paint with bare surface      
Other_______________________


WILL AIR & SURFACE TEMPERATURE BE ABOVE 50°F & BELOW 90°F? (Ideal temp. is 75°F)      
Yes       No


WHAT KIND OF DURABILITY DO YOU WANT?
Will not need to clean       Will need to wash with damp cloth       Will need scrubable finish      
Other_______________________


WHAT SHEEN DO YOU WANT?
Flat       Satin (eggshell)       Semi-Gloss


WHAT FORMULATION DO YOU WANT?      
Oil       Latex


WILL YOU BE PAINTING A DIFFERENT COLOR? (Painting or re-painting dark colors or color changes may require more than one coat
Yes       No


HOW MUCH AREA NEEDS TO BE PAINTED? - See paint calculator or reference sheets


HOW WILL YOU APPLY THE PAINT      
Brush       Roll       Spray       Pad       Other_______________________


DO YOU HAVE ALL THE TOOLS?      
Brushes       Wall & Trim - Roller Frame       Roller Cover choose proper nap       Drop Cloth       Masking Tape & Paper      
Edging Tool - Rags       Tack Cloth       Drill Type Paint Mixer       Thinner       Scrapers       Wire Brushes      
Caulk Gun & Caulk       Ladder       Miscellaneous Paint Accessories?


Each of these questions should help you ensure the best paint job possible, by identifying important information for each paint job.

Please reference the product label, information sheets or your local Van Sickle paint dealer for aid in selecting the proper product, tools and surface preparation for your project.

Complete this "check-off list" of questions, when starting any interior painting project, to aid in making your project easier. Bring it to your local Van Sickle Paint Dealer, as a quick reference tool, to aid them in helping you.


WHAT ARE YOU PAINTING
Siding       Deck       Porch/ Floor       Shutters       Window & Fascia       Roof
Railing       Other_______________________


WHAT TYPE OF SURFACE?      
Wood, what type?__________       Concrete       Stucco       Galvanized       Aluminum
Metal - Vinyl       Other_______________________


WHAT IS THE SURFACE CONDITION?      
New       Clean Paint       Dirty or Chalky Paint       Glossy Paint       Peeling paint with bare surfaces      
Other_______________________


WILL AIR & SURFACE TEMPERATURE BE ABOVE 50F° & BELOW 90°F?(Ideal temp. is 75°F)      
Yes       No


WHAT KIND OF DURABILITY DO YOU WANT?      
5-7 years (Economy)       1 0-12 years (Premium)       15-20 years (Super Premium)


WHAT SHEEN DO YOU WANT?      
Flat       Satin (eggshell)       Semi-Gloss       Gloss


WHAT FORMULATION DO YOU WANT?
Oil       Latex


HOW MUCH AREA NEEDS TO BE PAINTED? - See paint calculator or reference sheets


WILL YOU BE PAINTING A DIFFERENT COLOR? (Painting or re-painting dark colors or color changes may require more than one coat)      
Yes       No


HOW WILL YOU APPLY THE PAINT?
Brush       Roll       Spray       Pad       Other________________________


DO YOU HAVE ALL THE TOOLS?
Brushes       Siding & Trim       Roller Frame       Roller Cover choose proper nap       Drop Cloth       Masking Tape      
Masking Paper       Edging Tool       Rags       Tack Cloth       Drill Type Paint Mixer       Thinner - Scrapers      
Wire Brushes       Caulk Gun       Caulk       Ladder       Miscellaneous Paint Accessories?


Each of these questions should help you ensure the best paint job possible, by identifying important information for each paint job.

Please reference the product label, information sheets or your local Van Sickle paint dealer for aid in selecting the proper product, tools and surface preparation for your project.

LATEX
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Fast dry. Shrinks more when drying, creating more surface stress.
Better fade resistance. More temperature sensitive.
More chalk-resistant. Less adhesion to chalk and dirt.
Breathes; less blistering. Can stain with water-soluable contamination.
Retains flexibility longer. Softer, normally not used in high traffic areas.
Tolerant on alkaline surfaces like masonry.
Will not yellow.
Resists mildew better.
Clean-up with water.
Good on galvanized metal.
OIL
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Less shrinkage. Turns brittle with age.
Low temperatures have less affect. Slower dry than latex.
More durable in high traffic areas. Colors fade faster.
Seals stains better. Chalks faster than latex.
Holds rust better on steel. Tight film blisters faster (won't breathe).
Better adhesion on dirty or chalky surfaces. Yellows with age.
Peels on galvanized metal.

Film Formation or Drying of Latex

Wet coat of paint is applied.


Water-base coating dispersion.

Evaporation of water.


Polymer spheres pack closer with water filling the voids.

Water evaporation and polymer deformation.



Sheen Description

High Gloss Enamel

Flat or Low Gloss Enamel

Gloss = % of light reflected after contacting film.
Common gloss descriptions: Flat, Eggshell, Low-lustre, Satin,
Semi-Gloss and Gloss.