Know Your Paint

  • Mubanga Sampa by Mubanga Sampa
  • 1 year ago
  • Others

Know Your Paint

Paint is used to decorate, protect and prolong the life of natural and synthetic materials, and acts as a barrier against environmental conditions. The options available when it comes to paint are vast and seemingly endless. Needless to say all these different paints have different properties. Additionally, each paint is formulated for a different purpose. Getting to Know Your Paint requires an appreciation of the difference between exterior and interior paints. Read on for an introduction to the main components of all paints.

The structure of paint

All paints are comprised of the following components;

  • Pigments
  • Solvents
  • Additives
  • Resins


Simply speaking, the pigment component is the colour in the paint. The colour is bound to the surface by the resin.


The binder (resin) is a polymer forming a matrix to hold the pigment in place. Resin and solvent together are sometimes known as vehicles.


Also known as binders, additives are used to bind the pigment together as well as provide adhesion to the painted surface.


The solvent is what causes the paint to be ‘wet’. As the paint dries, the solvent will evaporate. In latex paint, the solvent is water, while in oil-based paint the solvent of choice is mineral spirits.

In both types of paint (interior and exterior) the pigments and solvents share some similarities.

Interior Vs Exterior paint

The predominant difference between interior and exterior paints is in their choice of resin. Bear in mind that the resin is what binds the pigment to the surface.

Interior paint

In the case of interior paints, the binding resins are more rigid. This is because temperature is not usually a problem.  These resins make interior paint less prone to damage from scuffing and also easier to clean. Interior paints are much more delicate in comparison with exterior paints. They are relatively safe for indoor use as they do not outgas as much as exterior paints. Tip: For an indoor surface choose a glossy finish interior paint.

Exterior paint

Exterior paints must withstand all weather conditions. From changing temperatures to ultraviolet rays and moisture. To compensate for the variable temperature conditions exterior paint contains flexible resins. The resins keep the paint looking good when the surface underneath expands and contracts. Exterior paint also contains additives that help prevent fading, stop mildew, and resist tannin staining.

As there are different paint formulations for different applications, we urge homeowners to consult with a paint professional or specialist. To attain the best results homeowners should use the right paint for the project.

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