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Understanding Paint and Coatings

Paint and Coatings

When it comes to protecting and enhancing the surfaces of our offices, buildings, and various objects, two common terms often come to mind: paint and coatings. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Technically speaking they are distinct in their composition, purpose, and application. In this post, we’ll delve into the fundamental differences between paint as a coating and specialized coatings to help you better understand their unique characteristics and uses.


  • Paint: Paint is typically a liquid mixture composed of pigments, binders (acrylic, alkyd, epoxy polymers), solvents (water, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), turpentine), and additives. Pigments provide color, binders hold the pigments together and adhere them to the surface, solvents help with application and drying, and additives can provide additional properties such as UV resistance, anti-fungal properties, or texture.
  • Coatings: Coatings, on the other hand, are a broader category that encompasses various types of protective finishes. Coatings can be liquid or solid and are often more complex in composition than paint. They can include paints, varnishes, lacquers, enamels, and other specialized formulations, depending on their intended use.

Purpose or Use

  • Paint: The primary purpose of paint is to add color and aesthetics to a surface. While paint can provide some level of protection against weathering and deterioration, its primary function is decorative.
  • Coatings: Coatings are specifically designed to protect surfaces from various environmental factors, including moisture, UV radiation, corrosion, abrasion, heat, and chemical exposure. They are engineered to enhance the longevity and durability of surfaces while often offering decorative benefits as well.


  • Paint: Paint is commonly used on interior and exterior walls, ceilings, furniture, and artistic projects. It is ideal for surfaces that require primarily cosmetic improvements.
  • Coatings: Coatings are applied to surfaces where protection is a paramount concern. This includes industrial buildings and equipment, commercial buildings (especially structural components), bridges, pipelines, automotive components, marine vessels, and more. Coatings are chosen based on the specific environmental challenges the surface will face.


  • Paint: While paint can withstand moderate wear and tear, its durability is often limited when compared to specialized coatings. It may require more frequent maintenance and repainting, especially in harsh environments.
  • Coatings: Coatings are engineered for high durability and long-lasting protection. They are designed to withstand extreme conditions and offer superior resistance to damage and degradation.

Specialized Formulations

  • Paint: There are various types of paint, including latex, oil-based, acrylic, and enamel paints, each with unique properties. Paints can be formulated for specific applications, such as high-temperature environments or moisture-prone areas.
  • Coatings: Coatings come in a wide range of specialized formulations, such as epoxy coatings for industrial floors, anti-graffiti coatings, intumescent coatings for fire protection, and more. These formulations are tailored to address specific challenges.

Difference Between Paint and Coatings

While both paint and coatings serve the purpose of enhancing surfaces, they differ significantly in composition, purpose, application, durability, and specialization. Understanding these differences is crucial when selecting the right solution for your project, as it can have a significant impact on the aesthetics, protection, and longevity of the surfaces you aim to improve or safeguard. Whether you’re adding a fresh coat of paint to your living room or selecting a high-performance coating for an industrial project, making an informed choice will yield the best results.

Pesada for True Value

Pesada Painting and Coatings Corporation are experts in the field of both paint and coatings and can help you choose the best product for the right situation which results in true value for your money. With decades of experience and a grasp on all the newest formulations of paint or coatings, their sales team will help you choose between the thousands of options available (See Specialty Services). Call Pesada today for Industrial, Commercial, or Institutional projects.

It may seam like a small thing but the difference between paint as a coating and other coatings could be the difference between value and disappointment.