PAINTING: The functions of the paints, Defects in Painting, Effects of background, Effects of weather and Painting of various surfaces


Paint is a liquid surface coating. On drying it forms a thin film on the painted surface. Paints are classified as oil paints, water paints, cement paints, bituminous paints and special paints such as fire proof paints, luminous paints, chlorinated rubber paints (for protecting objects against acid fumes), etc. The paintings are the coating of fluid materials

The functions of the paints are:

• To protect the coated surface against possible stresses mechanical or chemical; deterioration—physical or environmental;

• Decorate the structure by giving smooth and colourful finish; check penetration of water through R.C.C;

• check the formation of bacteria and fungus, which are unhygienic and give ugly look to the walls;

• check the corrosion of the metal structures;

• Check the decay of woodwork and to varnish the surface to display it to better advantage

Defects in Painting:

• A painted building with full colour effects gives complete satisfaction. But the appearance of defects becomes a ready source of complaint. Unfortunately painting defects are by no means uncommon. They may arise from a variety of causes but the principal reasons behind them are incorrect choice of paint in relation to backing materials, application of paint to a damp surface or one to which moisture may have access and; poor workmanship.

Effects of background:

• The factors affecting durability are dampness, cleanliness, movements, chemical reactions, etc. The traditional construction in brick, cement, etc. involves the use of wet procedures. If paint is applied on an insufficiently dry background the moisture is trapped and in the process of subsequent drying the adhesion of the paint breaks down. Emulsion paints are somewhat better in this respect.

• The painting processes can be delayed for proper results for movements caused by shrinkage and special paints should be used for thermal movements.

• Chemical reaction between backing material and paint film may push the paint off the backing material and lead to softening or decolourise the paint. This effect generally occurs only if moisture is present and is noticeable in oil paints over materials containing cement or lime. The breakdown of bond is because of the crystallization of salts below the paint film and the discolouration is usually due to action of free lime on the pigments.

Effects of weather:

The paint film is subjected to chemical attack of atmosphere, sunlight and heat, all deteriorating it. Special chemical resistant paints should be applied in industrial areas. Alkali resistant paints weather well in coastal areas. Blue and green colours tend to fade when exposed to bright light. In addition the fierce heat of sun may breakdown the paint film because of the disintegration of the material itself and also because of the thermal movement. The most common defects noticed after paintings are as follow:

Blistering and peeling

Blistering and peeling are swelling of the paint film and can be defined as localized loss of adhesion between one or more coatings or between primer and parent surface. When swelling is because of oil or grease on the surface it is known as blistering and in case of moisture it is called peeling. It occurs in nonporous coatings such as oil based paints and enamels. A special heat-resisting type of paint should be used for hot surfaces such as radiators. It is brought about by moist air, oily or greasy surface, or imprisoned gases between the painted surface and the paint film, which expand under the influence of heat. Emulsion paints provide a porous coating and allow the moisture to pass through.


Checking is a mild form of cracking. If hair cracks produced enclose small area it is known as crazing. In case the enclosed area is large the defects is called crocodiling. It is caused when the paint film lacks in tensile strength and occurs when paint is applied during very cold weather or because of insufficient drying of undercoat. When cracks are very small and do not enlarge with time, the top coating is flattened with emery paper and a fresh coat of paint is applied.

Cracking: The cracks extend throughout the entire paint system extending right down to the original surface. Cracks in the plaster or masonry do not let the paint to remain intact.

Paint applied on glossy surface. Premature application of top coat before the previous coat has completely dried. Painting improperly seasoned wood.

Flaking: It is detachment of paint film from the surface. The moisture penetrates through the cracks on the coatings and the bond between surface and paint film is lost. The curing methods are: Use of plastic emulsion paints, Surface should be rubbed with emery paper before applying a fresh coat and All dirt or dust on surface should be removed prior to painting.

Chalking: Paint film becomes powder due to insufficient oil in primer.

Alligatoring: One layer of paint films sliding over the other one, when a hard paint is applied over a soft one or vice versa.

Wrinkling: or crawling appears when the paint film is quite thick or the oil in the paint is more than required. The lower portion of the paint does not dry due to greater thickness of the paint film which shrinks due to drying in course of time.

Running and sagging: Paints applied over smooth and glossy surface do not stick and flow back or towards the unpainted area. This is known as running and sagging. The surface to-be painted should, therefore, be rubbed with an emery paper before painting.

Bloom: is identified as dull patches on the finished, polished or painted surface due to defect in the quality of paint or poor ventilation.

Flashing: is characterized by the appearance of certain glossy patches on the painted surface. The reasons attributed to this defect are weathering actions, use of cheap paint, and poor workmanship.

Grinning: it is due to the imperfect opacity of the paint film even after the final coat. The background and its defects can be clearly visible in such a case.

Failure of Painting: The main causes of failure of painting are:

• Bad workmanship DUE TO Conditions for painting

• Moisture DUE TO Salt and alkalies

• Unsuitable surfaces DUE TO Wrong choice of paint

Painting of various surfaces:

A. New plastered surface:

The procedures for paining a new plastered surface are:

1. Surface preparation: 

Paint cannot take care of construction defects. Before applying the paint, it is ensured that the surface is free from dust, dirt, loose matter, grease etc. and is rubbed with an emery paper, to provide a mechanical key between surface and paint for satisfactory adhesion.

2. Sequence of Painting: 

The primer (first coat) is applied with brush or spray on the prepared surface. It should be thinned with water or thinner in the recommended manner and proportion before application. After drying it is rubbed with emery paper. Dents and cracks, if any, are filled with putty using a knife applicator. Putty should not be applied thick. If the required thickness is large, it should be applied in two coats. After the putty has dried, the whole surface is rubbed down well in order to smoothen the putty andprovide a mechanical key to the finished coats. Two or three finish coats are applied. Each coat is allowed to dry before the application of next coat.

B. Old plastered surface

The procedure depends on the state of the existing coating. If any of the defects discussed below is very much pronounced it is completely removed and the surface is painted as a new surface.

C. Painting of new woodwork

Painting of woodwork should be done with great care. Normally 3–4 coats are sufficient for wood work.

• Surface preparation:

 The wood should be well seasoned, dried, cleaned and the surface made smooth with an emery paper. Nails, if any, should be driven down the surface by at least 3 mm.

• Knotting: 

Knots in the wood create lot of problems. These excrete resin which causes defects such as cracking, peeling and brown discolouration. Knotting is done so that resin cannot exude from the knots. Any of the following methods may be used suitably.

Ordinary knotting: This is also known as size knotting. The knot is treated with a coat of hot red lead ground with a strong glue size in water. Then a coat of red lead ground in boiled linseed oil is applied.

Lime knotting: The knot is covered with hot lime for 24 hours after which it is scrapped off. Thereafter, the process described in ordinary knotting is followed.

Patent knotting: Two coats of varnish or shelac are applied.

• Priming coat: 

The main function of priming coat or primer is to form the base for subsequent ones. After knotting priming coat is applied over the entire surface to fill all the pores. A second priming coat is applied after first has dried. In general the ingredients are same as those of the subsequent coats but with a difference in proportion.

• Stopping: 

After the priming coat putty is applied to fill the pores of the surface. Then it is rubbed smooth. Colouring pigment is also added to it to match the shade of the finished coat. On drying, the selected paint is applied with brushes to bring smoothness and uniformity in colour. After painting the surface in one direction, the brush is worked in the perpendicular direction to eliminate brush marks. This is known as crossing. All the successive coats are applied after drying and slight rubbing of previous coats for proper bond.

D. Painting of old woodwork:

The old paint is removed with a sharp glass piece, sand paper, paint remover or with a blow lamp. Any smoky or greasy substance should be washed with lime and subsequently rubbed with pumice stone. The surface is then washed with soap and water and dried completely. Then two coats of paints are applied in a way similar to that described in painting new surfaces.

E. Painting metal surfaces:

• New ironwork: The surface should be free from scales, rust and grease. Scales and rust are cleaned by hard wire brush. Grease is removed by using petroleum or by hot alkaline solution of Na2CO3 or NaOH, benzene, and lime water. A priming coat of red lead with barytes and raw linseed oil is then applied over the prepared surface. After drying of the priming coat, one or more undercoats with desired paint are applied. The second coat is given only after the first coat has dried. The finishing coat is applied carefully to produce a smooth fine surface.

• Old ironwork: The surface is prepared by scraping properly all the scales and rust with emery paper. The greasy substances are removed with lime water. The old paint may be burned with a blow lamp or by suitable solvents. After this the surface is brushed with hot linseed oil and painted as for new iron work.

• Structural steel: The major problem to overcome in painting iron and steel is corrosion due to electrolysis caused by the presence of air and moisture. Red lead is considered to be the best priming coat; it produces a tough elastic film, impervious to air and moisture. Pure linseed oil priming coat is detrimental in that it stimulates corrosion. The linseed oil film is rendered more impervious by the use of spar varnish. Graphite paint used for black colour, is very durable and is not affected by sulphur films, ammonia or chlorine gases. Silica-graphite paints are best; they do not crack and blister in course of time. Aluminium paint is also gaining popularity because of its shining and contrast properties and heat and chemical resistance. Bituminous paints may be very well adopted to paint inside of pipes, iron under waters, piles, ships and boats; they are unsatisfactory when exposed to sunlight. Lead or zinc paint should never be applied directly over the iron surface as it encourages galvanic action destroying the paint.

F. Painting of floor surfaces: 

The enamels are used for painting of floor surfaces. The selected enamel should be strong enough to resist abrasion, moisture, and alkali actions. It should be of shinning nature and quick drying type.

G. Painting of concrete surfaces: 

The cement paint is used to paint concrete surfaces. The paint is available in a powder form and it is dissolved in water to workable consistency. The paint thus prepared should be consumed with in 2 to 3 hours. The two coats are applied at an interval to provide curing of painted surface.


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