Paints are basically a combination of pigments and a binder, which is oil or water based. The proportion of the pigment to the binder determines how glossy the paint is. There are three basic finishes, depending on this proportion: matt, glossy and something in between which is referred to as semi-gloss, eggshell, silk, satin.
Water-based paints dry by natural evaporation. They are not as durable as oil-based paints. The latter have a chemical agent that assists in drying.
Here is a look at some of the commonly used paints:
Gloss Paints: These are oil-based paints. They have a resin added to them that makes them hard-wearing. Most are oil solvent. However, water-based gloss paints are now available.
Non-drip Paints: These have a jelly-like consistency. They are convenient and non-messy and relatively easy to use.
Emulsion Paints: These are water-based paints with a vinyl or acrylic resin additive to give them a hard-wearing quality. This also lends them sheen of varying degrees. Emulsions dry quickly, do not have a strong smell and are easy to apply; they are therefore the preferred paint choice for ceilings and walls. There are three types of emulsions: vinyl silk, vinyl satin and vinyl matt.
Enamel Paints: These are oil-based paints that dry to become hard and glossy.
Acrylic Paints: These are made of color pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. They are water resistant paints. Acrylic paints can be diluted in water, and depending how much they are diluted, they can resemble water paints or oil paints.
Latex Paints: These are a combination of a binder (usually acrylic, vinyl, PVA, or something else), water, pigment and filler.
Tempera: This paint is made by binding pigment in an egg medium. Originally, tempera was made by grinding pigments by hand and then mixing them with egg yolk. Sometimes, honey, water and milk in the form of casein are all added. These paints dry to produce a matte finish.
Gouache: In this paint, pigments are suspended in water. Gouache differs from water paint in that the pigments are larger, and the proportion of pigment to water is also higher. In addition, chalk powder is also present.
Oil Paints: These are made by mixing ground pigment with oil such as linseed oil, sunflower oil, walnut or poppy seed oil. Depending on the oil, the shine achieved is different. As is the drying time and the amount of yellowing.
Water Paints: This is made of finely ground pigment mixed with gum Arabic and glycerin, suspended in water.
Natural Paints: These are paints made of naturally available material such as earth oxides, vegetables, roots and leaves.