Acetone: A very fast evaporating solvent with high
solvency for certain types of compounds and resins. Has a characteristic
Acrylic Urethane: A coating based on urethane
chemistry which also includes acrylic chemistry as part of the cross-linked
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
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
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 basecoat.
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 paint film.
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
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
Flash Time: The time between paint application
and consecutive coats.
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 certain angles.
Grinding: Preparing the metal for repair in the
body shop business.
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
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
Infrared: Light energy used for curing paint.
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 solvents.
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 bleeding through.
Matching: In painting, to make colors look the
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
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 effect.
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
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
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
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
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
Spray Gun: A device that mixes paint and compressed
air to atomize and control the spray pattern as the paint leaves the fluid
needle and cap.
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 state.
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
Tri-coat: A basecoat, followed by a transparent
midcoat, followed by clearcoat; to provide a special color effect on the
Two-tone: Two different colors on a single paint
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
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 compounding operation.
Wrap Around: The phenomenon by which electrically
charge paint droplets curve around to the rear side of the object being
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
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.