Whether you paint your own home or hire a professional company to do it for you, the paint you choose is essential to completing this process successfully. However, despite this fact, many homeowners remain unaware of what exactly they’re putting on their walls—or how these products are even made to begin with. So, before you start weighing your options, make sure you take the time to gain an understanding of how home paint is made and how this can affect the environment within your home.
Primary Paint Ingredients
First and foremost, it’s important to discuss the different ingredients that go into particular paint products. These substances can influence everything from how the paint will dry on your walls to how many Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, will be released into the environment when it does. As such, knowing what some of these materials are can help you determine whether it’s something you feel comfortable using. These are the core components to any type of residential-grade paints:
Pigments are a paint’s primary source of color and are comprised of several natural resources ground together into a fine powder. It’s this powder that’s later mixed into paint solutions to give them their unique hues. Some examples of this include titanium oxide, which creates white pigment, and carbon black, which produces black. When these pigments are mixed together in varying amounts, they can create any color across the spectrum. This is why it’s very easy to order custom-mixed paints that match your specific choice.
Solvents, on the other hand, are the liquid carrier for the solid pigments to dissolve into. Depending on the type of paint you ultimately choose, this solution could consist primarily of water for latex paints, or turpentine for oil-based paints. These solvents will make it easier to spread paint over a surface and initiate the drying process. In fact, as paint dries, it’s the evaporated fumes from these materials that are released into the air surrounding your walls. This is why low VOC paints will typically opt for a water base over a turpentine one.
It’s important to consider the additives in your paint as well. These ingredients add additional effects to the paint, making it better suited for specific environments or giving it a specific type of finish. For this reason, there’s a lengthy list of options to choose from when custom mixing your own product to use at home. Certain additives can promote a faster drying process, strengthen the coat against frigid temperatures, and even inhibit mold growth in some cases. It all depends on the performance you want the paint to have.
Binders, or resins as they’re often known, then act as the glue that allows the finished paint product to stick and cure properly to a surface. Once mixed into the batch with the other ingredients, binders ensure that once the paint dries it won’t release its hold on the wall. Most common binders, such as acrylic emulsion polymers, are especially effective at sinking into porous materials. However, if you want to paint something like cement, different binders might need to be used to create the same result.
The Paint Mixing Process
Now that you know what roughly goes into your new paint, it’s time to officially talk about how home paint is actually made. Upon being ordered from your local department store, the order is sent to a paint plant where the mixing process will take place. While some stores are equipped to handle this process themselves, most find it more effective to have the order filled elsewhere. With most standard paints, the mixing goes as follows:
Making a Pigment Paste
First, a pigment paste is prepared using the proper amount of pigment powder to create the desired color. The powder is then combined with enough binder, solvent, and additive to give the solution a thick, glue-like texture. This mixture is the core of the paint product, but, in this state, it’s much too thick to spread reliably.
Mixing and Filtering the Paint Solution
Once all the necessary components are present, the batch is placed into an industrial sand mill to grind down and equally disperse the metal pigment powder. This machine is what fully mixes the ingredients together and creates a liquid with a consistent hue. Any remaining particles are then filtered out of the liquid.
Thinning the Product
The paint still isn’t ready to be used. Even with the chunks of pigment ether ground down or removed, the mixture is still much too thick to be evenly applied on a surface. This is why, the paint is then infused with even more solvent. The solvent will help further disperse the materials in the paint solution and eventually provide it with a thinner consistency. Though the amount of solvent being added to the paint will vary by paint type, overall, this step makes it much easier to apply in the home environment.
Canning and Selling
Then, finally, the product is canned, labeled, and shipped back to the store where you either buy it or pick it up. When canned, the product is given an air-tight seal to ensure it can’t dry while it’s waiting to be used. It’s also common for a bit of that batch to be smeared over a section of the lid and allowed to fully dry. This is to give you an idea of how the paint will look once it’s on your walls—which many homeowners find helpful for the first stages of the process.
Not all paint is made equal. This is why it’s crucial you know what’s going into your paint and how it’s created. So, to learn more about how paint products are mixed, or to gain expert advice on which type you should pick, give Bear Mountain Custom Painting a call. Our professional house painters in Cumming, GA are familiar with the paint manufacturing process and can help you pinpoint which mixture would have the largest impact on your home. Don’t let just any paint find a home on your walls—let us find the one that’s both stylish and healthy.