What Are The Different Types of Spray Paint?

what type of spray paint is best

What is spray paint? What are the different types of spray paints? Not many crafters and artists may be able to answer this question a few decades back. But with a lot of innovation in the painting and crafting industry, people are becoming familiar with spray paints and what they can use them for. Spray paint has taken over the industry from brush and roller systems. 

Back to the question, what are spray paints and their types? As the name implies, spray paints are fluid-like paints filled into an aerosol container. You can dispense it with a valve system or use a spray gun. Spray painting serves as an alternative to the roller and brushes painting methods. Spray paints come in different finishes and types. You may be familiar with the flat, matte, gloss, or satin finishes; spray paints have types such as frosted, enamel, epoxy, oil-based, lacquer, general-purpose, and more. 

This article will look at the different spray paint types and how you can use them to put a great finish to your projects. In sum, you’ll learn the following in this article:

  • Different types of spray paints
  • Best spray paint types for different surface

You’ll also learn more about spray paint and what to look for before choosing any types of spray paints. Stay connected and read to the end.

Let’s keep reading!

10 Different Types of Spray Paint

There are different types of spray paint and each has its purposes and surface applications. Here are the top-10 types of spray paints you can use:

General-purpose

As the name suggests, general-purpose spray paint is a great option for various surfaces and projects. You can use it for metal, stones, cars, stickers, woods, fabrics, furniture, graffiti, street art, plastic, etc. Additionally, general-purpose paint also makes both your indoor and outdoor projects shine. 

They offer amazing durability and long-lasting property. This means that the spray paint won’t chip, flake, crack, or fade in a short time. The paint can stay permanently on the project for as long as the project lasts if you apply it properly. 

Again, general-purpose spray paint is formulated from high-quality materials. They are fast-drying spray paint that dries out completely to the touch in a short time. They come in a wide variety of vibrant colors and may not need a lot of surface prep.  

They are generally low in price and affordable, although some general-purpose spray paint products are not suitable for some items.

Lacquer

Lacquer spray paint is known for its incredible durability and hard finish. What it means is that this paint can hold out against any harsh weather conditions, including moisture and hard snow. They don’t peel off, crack, flake, or chip easily because they bond properly to the surface they’re applied to. 

However, you will need to apply up to 3-4 coats of the paint before your project can show up the paint sheens. Yet, the more the number of applications, the brighter and more resistant the surface becomes. 

Being hard coating, lacquer requires a lot of surface preparation, including sanding ad priming. You’ll have to sand between coats to ensure that the paint adheres to the surface. 

Although it may no longer be a popular option for spray paint enthusiasts, many consider lacquer spray paint due to its durability. Lacquer is pretty hard to apply. You may not be able to spray paint hard-to-reach corners.  

Epoxy

What distinguishes epoxy spray paint from other spray paint types is that it comes in two types: interior and exterior epoxy spray paint. 

The interior epoxy spray paint works well for indoor projects such as ceilings and walls. On the other hand, the exterior is a great option for projects exposed to extreme temperature, UV light, and harsh weather conditions. You can be sure that exterior epoxy spray paint will withstand and resist household stains, cleaners, and elements. 

More so, the paint is super-easy to clean and apply; it dries pretty fast and has quality bonding and adhesion. It requires less cost of maintenance. Epoxy spray paint offers more durability and long-lasting features than other regular spray paint. 

The epoxy contains a lot of polymers and adhesives. It implies that this spray paint type contains some harmful odor that you shouldn’t inhale. 

Enamel

From the word go, enamel paint is typically an oil-based spray paint, meaning it can be toxic. It is ideal spray paint for outdoor projects and high-traffic areas, although it can be used indoors. Enamel spray paint works pretty well on outdoor furniture, handrails, kitchen cabinets, doors, decks, bathroom cabinets, window trims, and more. 

In addition to an application, enamel spray paint offers durable and dust-resistant property that makes it the perfect pick for all your outdoor items. It can stand out from the shenanigan of the weather, snow, ice, moisture, UV light, and elements. It can also resist fading and chipping. 

When it comes to coverage, enamel comes atop. It covers a wide area in one single sweeping motion. In fact, the best enamel spray paint product can cover up to15 square feet or more. Yet, it offers a stunningly wide range of decent finishes, ranging from gloss, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. It dries out super-fast.  

Acrylic

Acrylic tends to rival enamel but it’s generally a water-based spray paint. Acrylic spray paint is popular among artists and crafters because it is made up of color pigments. Acrylic is a non-toxic spray paint type, thanks to its water-based property. 

This type of spray paint is also resistant to water and as a versatile formula, it provides a long-lasting finish to your projects. If you’re in search of spray paint for your vehicle and other automobiles, acrylic spray paint is the best pick.  

It is easy to apply and clean as you will only soap and water to clean the surface. Acrylic spray paint doesn’t need any solvent like mineral spirit to wipe off stains and messes. It allows you to add more paint mediums to make it thick so that it doesn’t drip or splatter. It’s relatively cheap and dries out completely in a short time.  

Oil-based

In search of the spray paint with the highest degree of durability? Go for oil-based spray paint because it ticks the right boxes. It is made to withstand harsh weather and other tough outdoor conditions. It takes some hours, sometimes 48 hours to completely dry out and cure. Oil-based spray paint is highly corrosion-resistant and won’t chip or flake.  

But it will adhere and bond strictly to your project surface. You won’t need a primer to apply an oil-based spray paint because of its formulation. You won’t also need a lot of surface preparation, including sanding between coats. 

With oil-based spray paint, you can easily come up with a smooth and even high-gloss finish. An oil-based finished surface has substantial resistance to wear and tear.

It can be a bit hard to clean a surface finished with an oil-based paint because it’ll require solvents like a mineral spirit or denatured alcohol. 

High-heat

When used or kept under extreme heat, high-heat spray paint won’t budge. Where your project sprayed with water-based paint will peel off and flake, high-heat spray paint will stand. This is the first standout property of high-heat spray paint. 

High-heat spray paint can hold out against temperatures as extreme as 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s staggering! This is the type of spray paint that s mostly used to finish household appliances, including stoves, microwave ovens, burners, and more.  

The paint is specifically recommended for exterior application. They can also work well on metal items such as engines, wood-burning stoves, and grills. It is a highly durable option for your automotive engines. 

However, if not applied or formulated properly, high-heat spray paint can chip and peel off the surface in a short time. You have to go for the best product on the market. 

Chalkboard

Chalkboard spray paint is the type to buy for those looking for spray paint that offers zero or low odor. They give off no odor or harmful volatile compounds. 

In terms of application, chalkboard spray paint is most suitable for use in kids’ bedrooms. The paint contains no toxic solvent that could suffocate children. Besides, it doesn’t dry out quickly on its surface. It works well on the wood surface as it is easy to apply and clean, although it is thicker than most 

The paint doesn’t require any serious surface preparation. You don’t have to sand, lean or prime your surface. Chalk spray paint will bond to any surface regardless of whether it’s sanded, primed or not. However, you may have to sand your surface if it’s slick, but you don’t have to strip the existing old paint layer before applying chalk spray paint. 

Frosted

One of the top spray paint options for glass is frosted spray paint. If you want to turn your transparent project surface into semi-transparent, this is the kind of spray paint to opt for. Making frosted glass becomes pretty easy with this option. You can enjoy your privacy with frosted spray paint.

Frosted spray paint also creates an elegant semi-transparent glass to prevent see-through while allowing light to filter through. Yet, it doesn’t leave any mess or harmful chemicals behind on your glass. The spray paint also dries to the touch in a short time. It is the perfect choice to keep your glass beautiful while looking frosted.

On the other hand, frosted spray paint has low resistance to flaking and peeling. In fact, you can use your fingernails to tap off the paint from the glass. You’ve got to do it properly. If not, the visual effects of your projects will be poor.

Rust-preventive

The name says all about this spray paint type. Rust-preventive spray paint helps to keep your projects from corrosion and rust. This means that the item can withstand a lot of extremely harsh weather conditions.  

This makes the paint only recommended for outdoor use. It works perfectly on metal, metallic furniture, and highly durable exterior objects. This paint works on metallic areas of your car. You can apply it on high-touch areas and other items that are prone to rust. It can come in oil-based or metal spray paint. 

The paint comes in a wide variety of finishes, including flat, gloss, semi-gloss, and high-gloss finishes. The paint ensures durability and a long-lasting effect on your project. What’s more, rust-preventive spray paint requires deliberate surface preparation to avoid peeling. You’ll have to strip old paint coating, sand, clean, and prime the surface. Or else, you will see your surface peel and crack, and crumble.

Best Spray Paint Types for Different Surface

Best spray paint types for fabric

If you’re planning to spray your fabrics, -whether absorbent (natural) or non-absorbent (synthetic), it’s best to make a date with general-purpose spray paint. It offers durability and can withstand the frequency of washing and wearing. General-purpose spray paint will also work on silk, cotton, wool, and linen clothing. If you also want to spray paint your shirts, you can also opt for it as it is easy to apply and clean. 

Best spray paint types for metal

Enamel oil-based is the best spray paint type for metal. Enamel spray paint is the best choice for outdoor projects like metal as an oil-based formula. They clean up easily and will resist moisture and elements. What’s more, enamel spray paint gives off vibrant colors and ensures incredible durability. Enamel is a budget-efficient option, as you may not have to prime your metal surface before applying it.   

Best spray paint types for wood

General-purpose high-gloss or semi-gloss oil-based spray paint sheens are the ideal formula to apply to wood. The paint coats have strong resistance to chipping and flaking and won’t fade with time. Also, oil-based spray paints are easy to clean, non-porous and offer a smoother and shinier finish and protection to your wood item. What’s more, they last longer, have a low odor and don’t absorb moisture. Instead of the moisture building up on the surface, the general-purpose paint type will repel it. 

Best spray paint types for plastic

Adhesion is a top factor you should consider when choosing a spray paint type for your plastic project. And no other spray paint works well and adheres to plastic items than oil-based or shellac-based spray paint. Either of these spray paint types will also be perfect on clear cake stands, recycled plastic bottles, and other plastic objects. In addition, plastic spray paint needs to be durable and flexible to withstand exposure to UV and harsh weather conditions. 

Related: Best Spray Paint for Plastic of 2022

Best spray paint types for glass

Although any general-purpose spray paint works and bonds well on glass, water-based acrylic spray paint still ticks all the boxes for your glass projects. Water-based acrylic won’t chip or flake over time if you frequently handle the glass object. They are adaptable and flexible and can be used on a wide range of glass surfaces, including canvas, wood, paper, and other projects. It is also water-proof, meaning it cannot soak up moisture. 

Related: Best Spray Paints for Glass of 2022

Best spray paint types for cars

Acrylic spray paint is the best to consider when you want to paint your car. The paint is pretty easy to apply. You can spray the hard-to-reach corners in your car. The paint also leaves behind a nice high-gloss finish on your car. Besides, acrylic spray paint when used on cars lasts longer than other spray paint types. It also forms a hard shell as it dries out on the car. 

Best spray paint types for graffiti

Since graffiti is mostly an outdoor project, oil-based spray paint will be the perfect pick. The reason is that oil-based spray paint offers incredible durability. In other words, it won’t fade, flake, or chip when faced with serious moisture or other weather factors. If done properly, oil-based may stay permanently on your project for as long as the project lasts. Even with a rough graffiti surface, oil-based spray paint will bond perfectly.    

Final Words

Spray paints are categorized based on purpose and surface. The different types of spray paints have different functions, purposes, and surfaces. You’ve got to be careful not to use metal project spray paint formulated for wood and vice versa. It may not be effective as you would think. Where Lacquer, for example, will be effective, oil-based spray paint may be off. The more professional you become, the more you understand how these different spray paint types work.  

The paints’ resistance to different situations and conditions also matters. Some can withstand the shenanigans of snow, wearing, washing, touches, and moisture. Some will crack, chip, or flake at the slightest provocation. Know your project to choose your spray paint. It’s that simple! 

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