Painting Terminology – A Glossary

This is the fun part

Throughout our website you might notice terminology you are not familiar with. We want our clients to feel comfortable with all the processes and techniques we might apply on a project; here is a glossary of some of the terms you might encounter:

using a laser level to set lines on a wall
two painters painting a wall white one is on a ladder

Acrylic paint: A type of water-based paint that is made up of pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. This is less commonly used than Latex paint

Backrolling: Using a roller to smooth out brush marks and ensure even coverage after using a paint brush.

Basecoat: The first coat of paint applied to a surface.

Bleeding: When the color of a previously painted surface seeps through a new coat of paint. (This doesn’t happen when you hire Paint Works)

Caulk: A sealant used to fill gaps and cracks around trim, baseboards, and other areas where two surfaces meet.

Color blocking: Applying different colors to separate different areas of a room.

Color wash: A thin, translucent layer of paint applied over a basecoat which adds depth and interest to a color.

Color wheel: A tool that helps to visualize color relationships and choose color palettes.

Cut-in: Painting around the edges of a room or a feature, such as a window or door frame, with a paintbrush.

Dry brushing: A technique in which paint is lightly brushed onto a surface, leaving some of the underlying color visible.

(Drywall) Mud: A mix of gypsum and water used to smooth and finish drywall surfaces before painting. Mud can be applied in several different levels of finish.

Drop cloth: A protective fabric, plastic, or hardboard surface used to catch drips and spills and protect the space while painting.

Dustless Drywall Preparation: A drywall installation and finishing process that yields little to no dust in the environment.

Feather: Blending the edges of a paint stroke to create a smooth transition with surrounding areas.

Flashing: When the paint surface appears glossy and wet, even after it has dried.

Glaze: A transparent or semi-transparent coating applied over paint to add depth.

Lap marks: Visible bands of color that occur when paint is applied in overlapping strokes. (You won’t have lap marks when you work with Paint Works)

Latex paint: A water-based paint that is commonly used for interior painting.

Lintel: The horizontal beam above a door or window.

Muriatic acid: A strong acid used to clean and etch concrete surfaces before painting.

Opacity: The degree to which a paint covers a surface. More opaque (higher opacity) paints cover more completely.

Paint remover: A chemical solution used to remove paint from surfaces.

Paint thinner: A solvent used to thin oil-based paints and clean brushes and other tools.

Pointing: Filling small gaps in masonry such as a fireplace, with a cement-based compound.

Pot life: The length of time that a paint or coating can be used after it is mixed.

Primer: A paint that is applied before the topcoat to improve adhesion and hide imperfections.

Scuff sanding: Light sanding to roughen up the surface for better adhesion of paint.

Sheen: The level of glossiness of a paint finish, in ascending order of glossiness, can be flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss.

Spackling: A paste used to fill small holes and cracks before painting.

Stipple: A technique in which paint is applied in small dots or dabs to create a textured effect.

Taping: Using masking tape to protect areas of a room from paint.

Tinting: Adding additional color to paint.

Topcoat: The final coat of paint applied to a surface.

Trim: The decorative molding and edging around windows, doors, and baseboards.

Varnish: A clear or colored film coating applied over paint to protect the surface and enhance the finish.

Wood filler: A putty used to fill gaps, cracks, and holes in wood surfaces before painting.

Wainscoting: Decorative paneling applied to the lower section of a wall.

Water popping: A technique in which water is applied to a wood surface before staining or painting to improve absorbtion of the finish