Are coatings and paint the same thing?
Annelies Janssen - van DrunenJuly 2, 2020
To clarify the question once and for all we asked expert André Derksen if coatings and paint are the same things. Here's what he had to say.
You know what paint is because you use it on your home, but you might not know what coating is...
Paint and coatings often mean the same, but a coating has a more industrial ring to it.
A paint functions to both protect the article and to decorate it, with a certain color or texture. In art, a painting is used to decorate areas of the home.
What coatings are used for
The primary use of a coating is to protect the article on which it has been applied.
That coating can be colored and can be dried with a certain texture, which also results in a decorative effect.
Differences between paint and coatings
When you speak about paint it is often understood that these are liquids, whereas a coating can also be in the form of a gas or solid, although most coatings are also liquid.
Paints can also be sold in spray cans, so they may appear gaseous, but these are liquid paints that have been pressurized using a gas.
What are paint and coatings made out of?
A paint or coating is a mixture of components:
- a carrier (water or solvent or both) that will evaporate during the drying of the coating, although there are also some coatings that are ‘100%’
- a binder (a polymer, examples are alkyds, polyurethanes, oils, natural or synthetic) that is the film-forming component in the coating,
- other components that are often but not always present:
- pigments or dyes that add color
- hiding pigments to make the coating non-transparent (so that the surface or color underneath is not visible anymore)
- fillers, which are added to give extra volume or extra solids to the coating
- flow agents, anti-foam agents, anti-settling agents, UV-stabilizers, and biocides, which are added in small amounts to improve certain properties
How to apply coatings
A coating is applied in a thin layer on a substrate and the coating is then dried or cured at either ambient conditions, or with exposure to heat or light. The dried coating layer has a smaller thickness than the applied ‘wet’ coating layer. The thickness is usually between a few micrometers to several hundred micrometers. A coating layer often consists of several thinner layers, which can be layers of the same coating mixture but can also consist of different types, for example, primer layer, base coat, top coat, and protective coat.
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Annelies Janssen - van DrunenGlobal Campus Manager
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