Types of spray paint: differences between lacquer, enamel, vinyl & oil

The application of any spray paint determines which of the types of spray paint to be used. Spray paints come in various types in relation to the purpose for which they are to be used, e.g. spray paint for wood, etc. It’s important to understand these applications before embarking on any painting project.

Let’s take a look at the major types of spray paints based on surfaces on which they are used.

Spray paint for general purpose

These types of spray paints are the ones we see sold in the market all the time. We use this spray paint on different types of objects like metal, hardwood, concrete, etc. General purpose spray paints have quick drying ability, which is the main reason why they are used for quick painting jobs.

General purpose spray paints require little to no preparation, however, one might need to prime or clean the surface of the object to be painted so it can stick properly.

Specialty paints

This spray paint type covers a wide range of paints. There are some specialty paints that have more unique uses than others. An example is the chalkboard paint which can turn any surface into a chalkboard.

On the other hand, a frosted paint is another specialty spray paint that is used to reduce glare on glass.

Spray paint for plastic

We can’t use general purpose paints to spray paint plastic because it won’t stick to the surface. So, it’s important you use only spray paint for plastic on plastic surfaces. There are various types of materials that the spray paint for plastic can be used for, such as PVC and others that have smooth surfaces.

Usually, plastic materials repel other paint types, like oil-based and water-based paints.

Decorative paint

This type of spray paint is known for its aesthetic value, with much emphasis on the colour of various objects. Another advantage it has over others is its variety of faux finishes, like granite and stone which are both under decorative painting.

Rust-preventive paints

As the name implies, this spray paint is used for metallic surfaces, particularly those that are outdoors. This spray paint for metal usually gives metals a glossy coating, thereby preventing cracking and fading, as well as not allowing metals to undergo oxidation, which is known to lead to rusting. Examples of items for spray paint for metal include, bicycles, mailboxes, swing sets, metallic doors, etc.

Now that we know the spray paints for various purposes, let’s take a look at the various forms of paint that you can use with whichever kind of sprayer you have. There are various procedures that you need to do before spray painting, like thinning, etc., to get the appropriate consistency for the surface being painted.

Here are some of them:

  1. Lacquer

Lacquer was once a very common paint in yesteryear. It was used to paint various things from house furniture to vehicles. However, lacquer is no longer used the same way today because of the extra work it requires when using it to paint. In fact, if we are to paint a very large surface, we would need to apply it up to six times. Also, lacquer requires sanding after applying it each time!

The major advantage of using lacquer is that it prevents oil and dirt from staining any surface it’s applied on; its high-gloss brand provides a shiny effect.

  1. Vinyl

This type of paint is made from a combination of water and plastic, and is also a lightweight paint. One major advantage it has is that it’s waterproof and weatherproof, which makes it suitable to be used on siding and floors.

Vinyl has three different finish types namely: vinyl soft sheen, vinyl silk and vinyl matte.

As its name implies, vinyl silk is a paint that has a glossy finish. One of its biggest qualities is its high durability. On the other hand, vinyl soft sheen has lesser brightness than that of vinyl gloss. However, it has similar durability with vinyl silk, which makes it still retain its lustre even if you clean a stain with water. The third type, vinyl matte is used for larger surfaces, walls and ceilings. It has no shiny quality, which is why its usage for exteriors and interiors.

  1. Enamel

Enamel is an excellent type of paint that we use for spray painting projects. Over the years, more people have switched from using lacquer to enamel because it lasts way longer. In terms of the number of applications, enamel won’t need more than two applications, making it way lesser than that of lacquer. The polymers present in enamel make it stay longer and will be no problem when exposed to environmental changes.

However, enamel is mostly used as a finishing coated on top of another paint, making it produce luster and shine to the overall job. It’s an oil-based paint, which could either be glossy or semi-glossy, depending on your preference.

  1. Oil-based paint

Generally, oil-based paints have a glossy finish and if combined with a resin, they are a bit lightweight. Oil-based paints can be used for indoor and outdoor purposes, making it useful for a wide range of purposes. While oil-based paints take time to dry, they can be used to paint a very large surface in just one application, which will save so much time.

On the other hand, one must be careful when spraying this paint on a surface because it’s known to produce fumes during application. Therefore, the ideal thing to do is to either work outside or in a large space with the windows open, if one must work within a confinement.

The only issue with oil-based paints is that one needs to do some touch-up in a couple years because it would either fade off, crack or even change colour. When you apply a new coat, it’ll retain that attractive look.

Time to start painting

Spray paints can be classified into two categories; the surfaces on which they are applied and particular type of paint used. You need to understand all these, so you don’t make a mess of your painting project.

You cannot use spray paint for wood to paint metal or plastic; you won’t get the proper coverage or finish. Better still, why not let us take the stress and hassle of your hands and let our great team of professional spray painters do the job for you?

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