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Coating Basics

Glossary of Terms

The purpose of this glossary is to provide insight to some of the more commonly used terms in the coatings industry. It is not intended to be a comprehensive reference.

Abrasion Resistance
Resistance to being worn away by friction; related more to toughness than to hardness.

The family of organic acids with the generic formula of CnH2nCOOH.

A substance added in small quantities to a coating to modify its properties (e.g. driers, mildewcide, etc.).

Base Coat
A coat applied directly to a substrate (wood, plaster, cement, etc.), whose purpose is to ensure adhesion between the substrate and the coating. Also see Primer.

California Air Resources Board, a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Its mission is the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants.

Clear Coating
The application of a transparent coating to provide protection from abrasion, staining, chemicals or solvents, etc.

A generic term for a material evenly applied to a surface in a uniform adherent layer to fulfill a protective or functional purpose.

Elastomeric Coating
A coating that has the ability to stretch to a specified length without breaking or tearing, then recover to its original length.

Electrostatic Spray
The application of a coating using static electricity generated by the charging of the coating particles as they are atomized and by grounding a conductive substrate. The advantage is a minimization of overspray as the grounded article attracts the paint particles.

The first of two or more coats of paint, varnish or lacquer. It is applied to improve adhesion of the succeeding coat and/or provide passive corrosion resistance to a metal surface.

Primer / Sealer
A coating (usually pigmented) that minimizes or prevents the penetration of the topcoat(s) into the substrate. It provides adhesion to the substrate for subsequently applied coatings.