Paint Coatings Guide

Paint Coatings have been used for thousands of years and there is evidence that cavemen used a mixture of materials to paint onto caves as early as 30,000 years ago.

Nowadays the paint and coatings industry is worth billions of dollars a year. Technologies have moved on and as concerns over our environmental impact continue, there is a race to develop more eco-friendly products without compromising on durability and longevity.

Whatever the problem there seems to be a paint solution. In recent years homeowners are keen to freshen their home more regularly with modern colours. In industrial and architectural projects, businesses are demanding that coatings last longer before maintenance has to happen.

In this guide to paint coatings, we look at the different types of paint available, both domestically and commercially.

Demand for Paint Coatings

Figures from Statisa show growth across all three sectors of architectural coatings, manufacturing, and maintenance/speciality coatings over the last ten years. In 2019 the demand was an unbelievable 1.4 billion gallons of paint.

What is Paint Made of?

Before we get into the different types of paint, it is helpful to know what makes up the component parts of the paint coating. Paint is a complex mixture of components that have been carefully selected after years of research and development by the coating manufacturers.

Paint is essentially a mixture of materials that combine together. In its natural state, it starts off as a liquid and once applied it drys and is left as a film on the substrate. There are different methods of paint application that can be used.

There are normally four main ingredients of paints, these are:

  • Pigment
  • Resin
  • Solvent
  • Binder


The pigment is what gives paint it’s colour and gloss level. These are solids that are added. There are also hiding pigment that is added which help protect against the harmful rays of UV


The resin binds the pigment particles together and ensures the adhesion of the paint to the surface or substrate


The solvent in paint acts as a carrier and binds the resin and pigment together. This makes the paint the liquid form before it is applied. Once applied the solvent will evaporate and the remaining film is left of the surface.


Other materials are added to enhance the properties of the paint. These have been designed to help in certain conditions and environments. Some examples of additives to paint are:

  • Biocides to tackle bacterial growth
  • Flattening agents for a less glossy finish
  • Thickening agents
  • Catalysts, stabilizers, emulsifiers
  • Anti-freeze properties.

Consumer DIY Paint Coatings

Store-bought DIY paints contributed half of the architectural coatings bought within the USA according to the American Coatings Association.

Paint Primers

Priming paints are paints used to build up layers or provide a key to the topcoat of paint. Primers are designed to be a bonding coat and are not designed to be left as the final coat as the paint mixtures properties are different. They are not as durable but they can be added with extra filling and binding agents. It is always advised to follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions.

Interior DIY Paint Coatings

Home projects can include painting of:

Furniture– Tables, chairs, cabinets can all be painted by wood paint.

Kitchen Cabinets– A kitchen can be given a new lease of life with a new colour scheme and some fresh paint.

Walls & Ceilings– All rooms in the house can be freshened up with paint. Kitchens and bathrooms can be spruced up with specialist paint designed to withstand the conditions they are subjected to. Living rooms can be painted with the latest colour designs and trends and hallways painted in the right colour can give house owners a welcoming feel

Garage Floors– Garage floors are subjected to a lot of wear and tear with trucks, cars, and bikes as well as tools stored there. These paints are tougher and designed to take the impact over time.

Staircases– Staircase section like handrails and spindles can be recoated either as part of a maintenance facelift or to change the colour.

Exterior DIY Paint Coatings

The exterior of homes is subject to weather conditions that can break down coatings faster if they aren’t maintained correctly.

Deck– Deck Paints can be applied routinely to protect and lengthen the life expectancy of the deck as well as offering colour choices.

Fence– as with deck paints fence posts and panels can be coated to lengthen the life expectancy of the wood and to protect against weather.

Railings– Metal railing and gates

Walls– Exterior walls to homes, garages, and outbuilding can be recoated with paint to give an aesthetic improvement and it also helps protect against sun, rain, snow, cold and other weather conditions that may affect the building over a course of a year.

Windows & Doors

Commercial Architectural Coatings

Commercial architectural coatings are designed for extra life expectancy over domestic grade paints. These are more expensive due to the more expensive ingredient found in these types of paints. These paints are normally only available for trades and commercial companies.

Industrial Paints and Coatings

Industrial Paint coatings are manufactured by coatings companies to help protect items and offer properties that domestic paints can’t offer.

Specialist Paint Coatings

Specialist paint coatings are paints that are designed specifically for projects that require specialist mixtures that enable them to perform in their environments. The four main subsections of specialist paint coatings are automotive, industrial maintenance, traffic management, and marine.

Automotive Coatings

In 2018 the Automotive Coatings revenue was worth $2.2 Billion. Car spray shops, body shops, accidents, and touch-ups companies all offer services here coating is applied to autos.

Industrial Maintenance Coatings

There are a huge amount of steel structures such as bridges, storage tanks that require regular maintenance to prevent corrosion and damage. The industrial maintenance market share was worth $1.4 Billion in 2018.

Traffic Management Coatings

Line marking on roads, car parks, and airports is important in the areas of traffic management throughout the united states. In 2018 alone there were an incredible $530 million dollars spent on these types of paints.

Marine Coatings

Areas prone to coastal corrosion will need specialist marine coatings. Boat, ships, yachts and buildings and structures that are located close to the marine environment will need to be coated with these specialist paints.

Further Reading:


American Coatings Association