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Basic Paint Chemistry-Basic Paint Components

The simplest definition of paint is that of a mixture of pigments in a suitable liquid (vehicle) that is used for the purpose of protection, decoration or information. The main ingredients of paint are;

  • Vehicle: As the name suggests is the medium that carries the ingredients of the paint to the surface that will be painted. The vehicle is the liquid portion of the paint where the rest of the ingredients are diluted or suspended. The vehicle comprised by two ingredients: the binder resin and the solvent.
  • Resins: They are part of the vehicle and the backbone of the paint. They provide the basic functions and features of the paint and assist in the formation of a coating film, improve drying time and gloss, improve adhesion and chemical resistance. There are natural and synthetic resins. Typically paint gets its name from the binder resin. Widely used: alkyds, epoxies, vinyl, acrylic, silicone, urethane etc.
  • Pigments: A pigment is a discrete particulate solid used to impart specific properties to the paint in the liquid and solid state. Pigments are insoluble unlike dyes and they serve multiple functions in the paint. Among other things, pigments may be used to: give the paint color, opacity, gloss control, flame retardance , protect resin from weathering, control water resistance and other qualities. White paints, primers and flat paints have high percentage of pigments, gloss and black they have low. Some examples are: zinc chromate, red lead, titanium dioxide etc.
  • Solvents: They are low viscosity materials that dissolve the resins and control the consistency of paint and regulate its application. Solvents once applied and cured, serve no purpose and, in fact, may cause performance problems if they remain in the coating film. The air pollution boards of many states regulate the use of solvents in paints. Organic solvents, known as volatile organic compounds (VOC) are harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer. Some examples are: turpentine, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner etc.
  • Additives: Additives are liquid components of a paint typically added in small amounts that modify the properties of the vehicle and/or the pigment. Some examples: driers that absorb moisture to accelerate drying time of the paint, plasticizers to increase flexibility and adhesion of the coating film, wetting agents to disperse the pigments, defoamers, antisettling agents, preservatives, fungicides, UV screens, acid neutralizers, antiskinning agents, leveling agents etc.

Depending of the chemistry, we create various types & properties of coatings that are suited for specific applications.

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