Acetone: A very fast evaporating
solvent with high solvency for certain types of compounds and resins. Has a
characteristic ether-like odor.
Acrylic Urethane: A coating based on urethane chemistry
which also includes acrylic chemistry as part of the cross-linked polymer backbone.
Activator: A necessary component used to provide a
chemical reaction to cure paint.
Baking: Application of heat to
cure and dry a coating. In automotive refinishing, baking is used to speed up
the drying of air-drying finishes and is sometimes called force drying. The
metal temperature in refinish baking usually does not exceed 180 degrees F.
Basecoat: A color coat requiring a clearcoat. The
basecoat provides color effects and appearance, while the clearcoat provides
gloss as well as UV and chemical resistance.
Bleeding: A defect in which pigment from a lower coat
of paint diffuses into an upper coat and discolors the latter. A nonbleeding
color is one that is not soluble in materials used over it and consequently
does not work up into succeeding layers. Body filler will also cause bleeding.
Body Filler (Bondo): A heavy-bodied plastic filler
material which cures very hard and is used to fill small dents in metal.
Buffing: A technique used to polish an area to remove
sanding marks or surface imperfections.
Buffing Compound: A soft paste containing fine abrasive
in a neutral medium, used to eliminate fine scratches and polish the topcoat.
Build: The amount of paint film deposited on a substrate
(the depth or thickness of which is measured in mils).
Catalyst: A substance that changes
the rate of a chemical reaction when it is mixed with another substance and
that does not change or react. A catalyst differs from a curing agent in that
the catalyst is not itself chemically consumed in the reaction while a curing
agent is consumed. Technically, catalysts that increase reaction rates are called
accelerators; those which decrease reaction rates are called inhibitors or retarders.
Chipping: Small flakes of a finish losing adhesion
from the substrate. Usually caused by the impact of stones or hard objects.
Cleaner Wax: A combination of wax and polish that
contains mild abrasives. The abrasives remove minor paint imperfections. The
wax and other ingredients produce a durable, high-gloss finish.
Clearcoat: A paint containing no pigment or only transparent
pigment, which provides gloss and durability when used as protection over a
Clouding: The formation or presence of a haze in a
liquid or in a film.
Color: The visual appearance of an object that can
be described in terms of hue, value, and chroma. Colors are seen differently
by different people and under different light conditions.
Color Match: Achieved when the applied color duplicates
all aspects of the original color's appearance in hue, value, and chroma.
Color Sanding: The sanding of a paint film to prepare
for buffing or recoating.
Contaminants: Any polish, wax, tree sap, tar, oil
or the like that would damage the paint film or spoil the adhesion of a new
Coverage: The amount of area a volume of paint will
cover at a certain thickness. Theoretical coverage is described as the number
of square feet a coating will cover at 1 mil film thickness.
Cracking: Splitting of a paint film. Cracking usually
occurs as straight lines which penetrate the entire film thickness and can be
caused by over-baking or by application of excessive film builds.
Cured Paint: Paints that have completed the curing
process. Cured paints include all factory-applied paints and refinish paints
that have air dried for more than 30 days. Wax application is recommended only
for cured paints.
Custom Painting: Unique painting, frequently with
special effects or designs, normally designed by owner of vehicle or individual
painting the vehicle.
DA (Dual Action) Sander: A machine
used for random orbital sanding and buffing. The pad of a DA sander travels
in a randomized orbital pattern, rather than taking a simple circular path.
DA sanders minimize the swirl marks that commonly result from rotary sanding.
Delamination: The loss of adhesion between two layers
of paint, causing material to separate from the painted surface or substrate.
Detailing: Careful, in-depth cleaning and polishing
of a vehicle's surface finish and or interior surfaces.
Dirt Nibs: Small specks of foreign material in a dried
paint film. They can be removed by scuff sanding and polishing.
Dry: The change from a liquid to a solid which takes
place after a paint is deposited on a surface. This involves both the evaporation
of the solvents and any chemical changes that occur.
Durability: Refers to the retention of gloss and performance
properties in a paint film during use or exposure to sunlight.
Factory-applied Paint: Paint applied
to a vehicle at the factory of the original equipment manufacturer. Factory-applied
paint is often cured by baking.
Fading: The gradual loss of color of a paint film
due to a chemical or physical change.
Fiberglass: Very fine staple fibers of glass that
are spun together; it is used as insulation, and for parts and repairs on automobile
and truck bodies.
Fish Eyes: A surface depression or crater in the wet
paint film. Fish Eyes are caused by repulsion of the wet paint by a surface
contaminant such as oil or silicone. The depression may or may not reveal the
surface under the paint.
Flake: A pigment consisting of flat particles. Usually
aluminum or metallic, providing special color effects to the final paint job.
Flash Time: The time between paint application and
Flat: Lacking in gloss.
Flattener: An additive used to lower the gloss of
topcoat, single-stage colors and clears.
Glaze: A polish that is safe for
use on fresh paints. Some glaze contain a mild abrasive that will remove minor
surface imperfections. When a glaze with an abrasive is used, it should be followed
by application of wax on cured paint or a hand glaze on fresh paint. A glaze
also does not contain silicone.
Gloss: The ability of a surface to reflect light.
Measured by determining the percentage of light reflected from a surface at
Grinding: Preparing the metal for repair in the body
Grit: Refers to the abrasive size used in sandpaper.
Hardener: A necessary component
specifically designed to ensure cure of an enamel finish. Also, another name
for an activator.
High Solids: Paints are described as having high solids
when they contain more than 50-60% solids. High solids paints have lower VOC's.
HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure): Describes a paint
gun that uses a high volume and low pressure of atomizing air to apply material
to a surface. This provides high transfer efficiency and lower overspray.
Infrared: Light energy used for curing
Infrared Light: That portion of the spectrum responsible
for most of the heating effects of the sun's light. Not visible to the human
Lacquers: Paints that dry by evaporative
loss of solvent. The film remains susceptible to attack by the same or similar
Let-down Panel: Panel made by a paint technician with
different methods of application and amounts of material, resulting in different
shades of the same color.
Lifting: The attack by the solvent in a paint on the
substrate which results in distortion or wrinkling of the preceding dried or
partially cured layers.
Luster: Gloss or sheen of a finish.
Masking: Application of paper or
other material and tape to cover an object that must be protected from overspray.
Masking Paper: Paper designed to prevent paint from
Matching: In painting, to make colors look the same.
Matte: A surface with minimal reflection.
Metallic Paint: Paint which contains metallic pigment
usually in the form of tiny flakes.
Mix Ratio: The proportion of ingredients to be blended
together to make a ready-to-spray paint.
Mold Release Agents: Chemical compounds which must
be removed by a pretreatment prior to refinishing plastic parts to insure adhesion.
MSDS: Materia Safety Data Sheets.
New & like new finishes: Finishes
that have maintained a brilliant, high-gloss performance.
OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.
Orange Peel: An irregularity in the surface of a paint
film resulting from the inability of the wet film to "level out" after
being applied. Orange peel appears as a characteristically uneven or dimpled
surface to the eye, but usually feels smooth to the touch.
Orbital Sander: Type of sander that uses a circular
motion to accomplish the sanding of different materials.
Organic Materials: Compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen,
and other elements with chain or ring structures.
Outdoor Exposure: Outdoor exposure is perhaps the
most realistic way to measure the behavior of a paint film.
Over-reduce: To add more thinner or reducer to a paint
than is normally necessary for application. This is sometimes done in order
to lower the paint viscosity, to aid in blending, or to achieve a special color
Overspray: An overlap of dry spray particles on areas
that were not mean to be painted, or on previously painted areas where they
do not melt in.
Oxidation: The chemical combination of oxygen and
the vehicle of a paint which leads to drying; the destructive combination of
oxygen with a dry paint film leading to degradation or the destructive combination
of oxygen and a metal.
Paint: A material which, when applied
as a liquid to a surface, forms a solid film for the purpose of decoration and/or
protection. Generally a paint contains a binder, solvent, and pigment.
Pearls: Finishes which include mica flakes in addition
to the pigment and binder.
Pitting: The appearance of hole or pits in a paint
film while it is wet.
Plastic Filler: A compound of resin and fiberglass
used to fill dents on car bodies.
Polish: A specially formulated blend of components
designed to remove minor paint surface imperfections, such as fine scratches,
light oxidation, water spots, and swirl marks left by the use of rubbing compounds.
Polishing: The use of polishes, either by hand or
machine, to level and provide more gloss to a finish.
Polishing Compound: A material applied to a vehicle's
surface which removes minor imperfections with minimal cutting action. Buffing
restores film to a high gloss appearance.
Polyester Putty: A plastic filler material used to
fill imperfections prior to painting.
Powder Coatings: Any coating which is applied to the
surface as a dry, finely ground powder and then heated above its melting point
so that the powder particles flow together to form a film.
Primer: The first coat of paint applied to a substrate,
designed to provide adhesion and corrosion resistance.
Primer-sealer: An undercoat which improves adhesion
of the topcoat, and which seals old painted surfaces that have been sanded;
usually does not require sanding.
Putty: A high viscosity, heavily pigmented material
used to fill holes or to smooth out a rough surface.
Ready-To-Spray: Describes paint which
has been properly mixed with all necessary components and is ready to apply
to the substrate.
Reducer: A solvent used to reduce or thin enamels
to sprayable viscosity.
Refinish: Repair of an OEM or previously painted substrate.
Resin: A solid or semisolid material, usually polymeric,
which deposits a film and is the actual film forming ingredient in paint. Solutions
of polymers are often called resins, but the term actually applies only to the
film forming solids, not to the solution.
Rubbing Compound: An abrasive that smoothes and polishes
the paint film. Also called polishing compound.
Rust: The corrosion product which forms on iron or
steel when it is exposed to oxygen and water. Also called oxidation.
Sandblasting: A method of cleaning
metal, usually steel, by applying an abrasive with pressurized air.
Sander: A power tool used with abrasives to sand or
polish surfaces quickly.
Sanding Block: A hard, flexible block to provide a
smooth, consistent backing for hand sanding.
Scuff Pad: An abrasive pad used to lightly sand a
Sealer: An undercoat that enhances adhesion. Provides
uniform color holdout and an even, level surface for topcoat application.
Semi-gloss: An intermediate gloss level between high
and low gloss.
Shade: Variation of a color. A color that is basically
blue can have a red shade or yellow shade as well as being blue. Shade is also
called tone or undertone, since it describes the subtle tone of a color.
Sheen: The gloss or flatness of a film when viewed
at a low angle.
Sheet Molded Compound: Fiber plastic material molded
to a certain form and used as an outer panel on a vehicle.
Silicone: A chemical compound with excellent water
repellency and a slippery feel. Silicones are commonly used in automotive waxes
to enhance application and ease or removal, and to increase gloss and durability.
Solvent: A liquid which will dissolve something, usually
resins or other binder components. Commonly an organic liquid.
Spot Repair: A type of refinish job in which a section
of the car smaller than a panel is refinished. The paint is usually blended
into the surrounding area.
Spray: Paint is atomized in a spray gun and the stream
of atomized paint is directed at the part to be painted. Atomization may be
high pressure air, by high pressure stream, by high fluid pressure, or by electrical
means in an electrostatic process.
Spray Booth: An enclosure used to paint a vehicle.
It has controlled air flow and occasionally temperature control or baking capacity.
Spray Gun: A device that mixes paint and compressed
air to atomize and control the spray pattern as the paint leaves the fluid needle
Spreader Adjusting Valve: The adjustment valve on
a compressed air spray gun which directs an air stream against the sides of
an atomized paint cloud to adjust the spray pattern.
Steel: A ferrous metal commonly used as a substrate
for paint, which must be painted to prevent corrosion.
Strength: The opacity and/or tinting power of the
pigment. The measure of the ability of a pigment to hide or color.
Tack: The stickiness of a paint
film or an adhesive. The time it takes for an air drying paint to reach a tack-free
Tack Cloth or Rag: A cloth coated with a sticky substance
used to remove dirt and lint prior to painting.
Tack Coat: The first enamel coat, applied full and
allowed to flash only until it is quite sticky.
Thinner: Solvent added to a lacquer to reduce its
viscosity to sprayable consistency.
Through Cure: The completion of the curing process
point at which no further chemical reaction can occur to aid in film formation.
Tint: An individual pigment from a family of pigments
used on a mixing machine to produce a color match to the vehicle to be painted.
Top Coat: The final layer of paint applied to a substrate.
Several coats of topcoat may be applied in some cases.
Touch up: A method of repainting performed on a new
or used vehicle for any reason. Also refers to correcting minor scratches by
a brush, etc.
Transparent: Allowing light to pass through; not opaque.
Tri-coat: A basecoat, followed by a transparent midcoat,
followed by clearcoat; to provide a special color effect on the vehicle.
Two-tone: Two different colors on a single paint job.
Ultraviolet Light: That portion
of the spectrum which is largely responsible for the degradation of paints.
It is invisible to the eye and is also called "black light." It also
can be used to cure some paints.
Urethane: A type of paint or polymer which results
from the reaction of an isocyanate with a hydroxyl containing component. Urethanes
are noted for their toughness and abrasion resistance.
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number):
Assigned to each automobile by its manufacturer to identify the model, year,
production sequence and other vehicle specific information.
Vinyl: A class of monomers which can be combined to
form vinyl polymers. Widely used to make chemical resistant finishes, tough
plastic articles, phonogram records and floor tiles.
VOC Content: The measure of volatile organic compounds
(VOC's) in the solventborne paints. Usually states as the weight in pounds
of non-exempt solvent per gallon of paint.
Volume Solids: The percent, on a volume basis, of
the non-volatile material in a paint.
Waterborne: A type of paint which
uses water as its primary carrier rather than typical organic solvents.
Wax: A uniquely formulated blend that protects and
produces a durable, high-gloss finish on a painted surface. Waxes make it easier
to clean a painted surface. Some also serve as polishes and are capable of removing
minor paint imperfections.
Weathering: The change in a paint film by exposure
to natural forces, such as sunlight, rain, dust, wind.
Wet Film Gauge: A device used to determine wet film
thickness of paint after application.
Wet Sand: A technique involving the sanding of a surface
while it is being flushed with water. This permits smoothing surface defects
before subsequent coats are applied.
Wet Spots: Discoloration caused where the paint fails
to dry and adere uniformly.
Wet-on-Wet Application: A painting method by which
a second coat of paint is applied over the first before it hardens and dries.
Wetting: The process by which a liquid forms intimate
contact with the substrate to which it is applied.
Wheel Mark: A pattern of small scratches left in a
finished surface by the wheel of a buffer or sander during the sanding and/or
Wrap Around: The phenomenon by which electrically
charge paint droplets curve around to the rear side of the object being painted.
Wrinkling: Surface distortion that occurs in a thick
coat of enamel due to uneven cure or recoating an uncured paint film.
Xylene: A high solvency, medium
evaporating, aromatic hydrocarbon solvent.
Zahn Cup: A device to measure viscosity.
Calibrated in different sizes for different liquids.
Zinc: A difficult metal substrate to paint due to
its reactivity. Also, a constituent of a drier or a pigment.
Zinc Chromate: A yellow, corrosion resistant pigment
useful on steel.
Zinc Oxide: White pigment, useful to prevent mold
or mildew on paint films.