Any of various materials used to give a protective and decorative finish to surfaces or for making pictures. A paint consists of a pigment suspended in a vehicle, or binder, usually with added solvents. It is the vehicle that dries and hardens to form an adhesive film of paint. Among the most common kinds are cellulose paints (or lacquers), oil-based paints, emulsion (water-based) paints, and special types such as enamels and primers.
Types of paintLacquers consist of a synthetic resin (such as an acrylic resin or cellulose acetate) dissolved in a volatile organic solvent, which evaporates rapidly to give a very quick-drying paint. A typical oil-based paint has a vehicle of a natural drying oil (such as linseed oil), containing a prime pigment of iron, lead, titanium, or zinc oxide, to which coloured pigments may be added. The finish – gloss, semimatt, or matt – depends on the amount of inert pigment (such as clay or silicates). Oil-based paints can be thinned with, and brushes cleaned in, a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit (a petroleum product). Emulsion paints, sometimes called latex paints, consist of pigments dispersed in a water-based emulsion of a polymer (such as polyvinyl chloride [PVC] or acrylic resin). They can be thinned with water, which can also be used to wash the paint out of brushes and rollers. Enamels have little pigment, and they dry to an extremely hard, high-gloss film. Primers for the first coat on wood or metal, on the other hand, have a high pigment content (as do undercoat paints). Aluminium or bronze powder may be used for priming or finishing objects made of metal.