What is paint?
It is a product that provides protection to the surfaces of your home. It has decorative qualities that enhance the look and feel of a house.
Comming in a liquid form that when dry protects the surface that it is applied to. Paints have a different chemical makeup depending on whether they are acrylic or alkyd based.
They are made up of mainly binders, pigments, additives and solvents.
The binders are what hold all the ingredients together. In their dry form they also hold the paint to the surface or substrate.
The pigments are what make the colors.
The additives are what can assist with the life of the paint and include hardeners, anti mould resistance, UV resistance as well as making it easier for the painter, with easier brush ability and splatter resistance. This doesn’t mean it won’t splatter however it will help to keep the painter and area cleaner.
The solvents in house paints are generally acrylic, vinyl, latex or alkyd. Acrylic, vinyl and latex paints are made with water as their main ingredient hence known as acrylic or water based paints. Alkyd paints have mineral turpentine and mineral thinners as their main ingredient and are known as enamel, oil based or solvent based paints.
Uses where and when
Both acrylic and oil based paints can be applied to most surfaces so long as the correct preparation has been done.
That is what makes it hard to know what to paint where.
The first and most important rule when choosing the type of paint is what surface you are painting onto. You can apply enamel to an acrylic surface but not acrylic to an enamel top coated surface, you can apply acrylic paints to an enamel/oil based primer or enamel/oil based undercoat. You will need to make sure that the primer or undercoats have dried thoroughly.
Three main uses
Primer is used as the first coat for coating bare substrates like dry timber that requires a bit of extra oil in it.
Undercoat is used to seal bare areas as well as to coat over primer coat prior to applying top coats.
Top coats are used to overcoat both primer as well as undercoat.
Some paints claim to be self priming however I suggest you check the fine print on the can for instructions prior to application.