The paint industry and professional painters often use terms that are not to be found in usual dictionaries or that may have different meanings.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


Abrasion (abrasion)
To wear off or down by friction.

Abrasion strength (résistance à l’abrasion)
Ability to withstand traffic or wear.

Acrylic (acrylique)
Binding agent that is sun and weather-resistant, dries quickly and provides excellent adherence. As a result, it is recommended for exterior use. Acrylic is also recommended on shiny surfaces whose texture calls for coatings with superior adherence.

Adherence (adhérence)
Molecular force that prevents the separation of two substances in contact with one another.

Adhesion failure (bris d’adhérence)
Problem observed when an adhesive substance (sealant, adhesive or paint) detaches from surfaces for various reasons. Adhesion failure occurs when the tension exerted on the material is higher than its adherence force (see cohesion failure).

Adhesive (adhésif)
Product designed to glue surfaces together.

Aged concrete (béton mûri)
Concrete that has been aged for a period of at least 28 days and that has attained at least 80% of its compression force.

Aging (mûrissement)
Period during which take place the chemical reactions that enable a product to develop its properties fully.

Air barrier (pare-air)
A construction element designed to be resistant to the passage of air.

Alkalis (alcalis)
Composites present in masonry and galvanized metal (soldering, potassium, ammonia, lime). Alkalis react chemically with the oils in solvent-based products and produce a type of soap that prevents the product from adhering to the surface. This chemical reaction is called saponification.

Alkyd (alkyde)
Group of synthetic resins commonly used in solvent-based coatings. The alkyd is usually obtained from a phthalic anhydride, glycerine and fatty acids or vegetable oils.

Analogy (analogie)
Adjacent colours on the chromatic circle; for example, yellow, greenish yellow and green.

Asphalt-bitumen (asphalte-bitume)
Generic term designating hydrocarbon blends in a viscous or solid form (petroleum-derived). Asphalt is often confused with bituminous concrete, which is composed of bitumen, sand and/or gravel, used to pave roads. Not to be confused with tar, which is similar in appearance, but is derived from coal.

American Society for Testing and Materials. Groups together numerous product testing methods.

Back to top


Base (base)
Bases are paints designed to be tinted using colouring agents, to reproduce colours found in the colour system.

Batch (cuvée)
Production unit.

Bead (filet)
Applying a sealant or an adhesive in a linear form, between two surfaces.

Binder (liant)
Non-volatile ingredient that binds pigments in such a way as to form a uniform film that adheres to the surface (paints). Non-volatile ingredient that binds the ingredients of a product in such a way as to form a uniform paste that adheres to the surface (sealants and adhesives).

Bitumen (bitume)
See "asphalt".

Bleeding (saignement)
Absorption of an oil or liquid contained in a compound by an adjacent porous surface.

Back to top


Catalyzer (catalyseur)
Term used to describe substances that materially change, alter or affect a chemical reaction. In paints, catalyzers - sometimes called hardeners - are agents that dry and harden paint or varnish coats.

Cermalite (céramilite)
Panels measuring 4 ft. x 8 ft., used to manufacture walls that provide the appearance of ceramic tiles.

Canadian General Standards Board. Groups together product testing methods.

Chalking (farinage)
The decomposition of a paint film into a loose powder due to weathering.

Chipboard panels (panneaux de bois aggloméré)
Panels composed of wood chips glued using a water-and heat-resistant binder.

Chromatic circle (cercle chromatique)
Series of 12 pure colours arranged in a circle: three primary colours, three secondary colours and six tertiary colours.

Clarity (clarté)
Degree of clarity of a colour. Clarity indicates whether a colour is light or dark, depending on how close it is to white or black It determines the shade, hue and tint.

Coalescence (coalescence)
Process according to which water-based paints form a film that causes resin particles to fuse.

Coating (revêtement)
Product designed to decorate or protect a surface.

Cohesion (cohésion)
The molecular force between particles within a body or substance that acts to unite them.

Cohesion failure (bris par cohésion)
Problem observed when a product separates or breaks and an opening appears in the product. Cohesion failure occurs when the expansion exerted on the material is higher than its elasticity (see adhesion failure).

Colourimetry (colorimétrie)
Science that makes it possible to define and categorize colours using measuring instruments and computers.

Colour blindness (daltonisme)
A sight-related anomaly that prevents an individual from distinguishing red from green (loss of the ability to identify red or green or a blend of the two).

Colour pigment (pigment de couleur)
Powder and coloured substance that can be organic or inorganic and that colours products.

Colour system (système de couleurs)
Series of colours that can be created using tint bases and colourants.

Colourant (colorant)
Concentrated dispersion of colour pigments used to tint bases.

Compatible surfaces (surfaces compatibles)
Surfaces on which an adhesive substance (adhesive or sealant) can be applied, producing an effective bond after drying or aging.

Complementary colours (couleurs complémentaires)
Colours that are directly opposite on the chromatic circle; for example, yellow and purple.

Compression (compression)
Pressure exerted on a sealant or an adhesive.

Concave (concave)
Curved toward the interior.

Concrete (béton)
Solid obtained by mixing water, cement and sand. Not to be confused with its basic component: cement.

Consistency (consistence)
Degree of firmness, hardness or cohesion of a liquid or a paste in its container. A product's consistency is adjusted based on the product's method of application (cartridge, putty knife, trowel, roller, etc.). Consistency takes into account the product's viscosity and thixotropy.

Contrast (contraste)
Marked opposition between two or more colours on the chromatic circle.

Convex (convexe)
Curved toward the exterior.

Cool colours (couleurs froides)
Colours associated with a sense of coolness. The coolest colours are greenish yellow, green, greenish blue, blue, purply blue and purple.

Corrosion (corrosion)
The negative effect on some metals as caused by water, oxygen or chemical agents. Iron rust is corrosion.

Coverage (recouvrement)
Surface area that an adhesive can cover, based on the application method and the type of surface covered.

Creosote (créosote)
An oily liquid that contains phenol and cresol (a tar extract). It was long used as a wood preservative.

Cutting oil (huile de coupe)
Lubricating oil used when cutting materials: glass, steel, etc.

Back to top


Dispersion (dispersion)
Uniform distribution of pigments contained in paint.

Drier (siccatif)
Additive that accelerates the drying and hardening of certain products.

Drying (séchage)
The process by which the liquid coating changes to a solid state. Period over which an adhesive substance (adhesive or sealant) lets the water or solvents it contains evaporate. How long this period lasts depends on environmental factors (temperature, humidity, aeration, etc.). During the drying period, products go from a paste or liquid state to a solid state that can be flexible or elastic.

Back to top


Efflorescence (efflorescence)
The deposit of whitish salts on a surface, resulting from excessive humidity. The humidity dissolves the minerals contained in masonry and brings them to the surface, where they accumulate after the water evaporates.

Elasticity (élasticité)
Ability of a sealant to withstand expansion and compression cycles without peeling or detaching from surfaces.

Elastomer (élastomère)
Polymer presenting elastic properties.

Elastomer sealant (scellant élastomère)
Elastic polymer based compound used to fill and seal a joint or an opening.

Elongation (élongation)
A sealant's ability to withstand stretching along its length without breaking. The elongation before the breaking point corresponds to the maximum stretching level that a sealant can withstand before it breaks. Stretching is expressed in relation to the joint's original length.

Emulsion (émulsion)
Stable and homogeneous dispersion of fine droplets of one liquid or one solid in a base liquid. Latexes are emulsions of rubber in water (base).

Enamel (email)
Paint providing a smooth, hard and resistant film.

Epoxy (époxyde)
Resin offering extreme hardness, strong adhesion and excellent resistance to most chemical agents.

Epoxy ester (ester d’époxyde)
Mix of alkyd and epoxy resins used to prepare hard and resistant enamel paints and capable of air-drying without the addition of a catalyst (hardener).

Extrusion-sealant (extrusion-scellants)
Forming a product by forcing it through a die.

Back to top


Filler (bouche-pores)
Strongly pigmented composite used to fill the pores of open-grained wood, to obtain a smooth and uniform finish.

Film (film ou feuil)
Coating resulting from the application of one or more coats of paint on a surface.

Finish or appearance (fini)
Term used to describe the percentage of light reflected by a paint or varnish film. The different types of finishes are usually described as follows: shiny, glossy, semi-gloss, pearl, melamine, platinum, velvet, satin or eggshell, flat.

Fire-retardant (ignifuge)
Fire-resistant product.

Flash temperature (température d’éclair)
Minimum inflammability temperature or minimum temperature at which the vapours of a product catch fire on contact with a flame, in precise conditions. When the temperature of a product is lower than its flash temperature, the product will not burn. Not to be confused with the self-igniting temperature, the temperature at which a material burns spontaneous when exposed to the air. For example: gasoline can have a flash temperature in the order of -40 °C, which makes it possible for engines to function even in winter conditions. On the other hand, gasoline does not catch fire when it is being transported from one point to another.

Flexibility (souplesse)
Property of withstanding movement without scaling.

Flow (écoulement)
A product's ability to support its own weight in a precise application (depending on the test method used).

Frost/thaw cycle (cycles de gel/dégel)
A product's ability to resist alternate periods of frost and thawing, which can affect its appearance and performance.

Fungicide (fongicide)
Agent added to water-based products to prevent mildew growth.

Back to top


Glaze (glacis)
Transparent, water-based interior finish used for decorative and special effects.

Back to top


Hardness (dureté)
Resistance to the distortion of a body, measured in precise conditions. The hardness of sealants and caulking is measured using an instrument that verifies a product's resistance to the penetration of a needle, to a given level of pressure (CDN/CGSB standard-19.0-M77, Method 8.2:(shoreA)).

Hiding power (opacity)
A paint's ability to mask the colour of the surface to which it is applied.

Homogenous (homogène)
Mixture whose components are distributed uniformly.

Hydrocarbon (hydrocarbure)
Family of products derived from carbon and containing carbon and hydrogen atoms (for example: petroleum distillates).

Back to top


Immersion (immersion)
Submersion in water or another liquid, repeatedly or continuously.

Inflammability (inflammabilité)
A characteristic of a substance that can be burned. At a given temperature, a body can be:

- non-flammable (cannot be burnt);
- fire-resistant (resistant to fire for a given period before it does burn);
- combustible (burns when lit; for example, wood);
- inflammable (can catch fire easily when exposed to a flame or a spark).

Inflammable (inflammable)
Coating that has the property of burning easily.

Insulating panels (isolant rigide)
Insulating material sold in the form of rigid panels, such as polystyrene, polyurethane, spray-gunned fiberglass, etc.

Back to top


Latex (latex)
Dispersion in water of small particles of synthetic resins or polymers.

Leading material pigment (pigments de charge)
Powder substance that can be organic or inorganic and that gives certain properties to products. Leading material pigments make it possible to increase the solids contained in an inexpensive product.

Levelling (nivellement)
The ability of a coat of wet paint to spread to a smooth and even surface.

Light spectrum (spectre lumineux)
Decomposition of white light into a continuous series of colours.

Back to top


Masonry (maçonnerie)
Types of materials such as brick, concrete, stone, roughcast, mortar, etc.

Material safety data sheet (fiche signalétique)
Document summarizing the toxicological products and health and safety measures associated with a product.

Metamerism (métamérisme)
Property that affects two objects of a different colour, resulting in two identical colours under a certain type of lighting, but two different colours under a different type of lighting. For example, a colour card and a coloured textile which are identical under incandescent lighting, but of two different colours under fluorescence lighting.

Microorganism (micro-organisme)
Any living organism visible only using a microscope.

Mildew (moisissure)
Fungus growth, usually black, that develops on or under the surface of coatings.

Mineral oil (huile minérale)
Refined oil often used in household tasks.

Mineral spirits (essence minérale)
Petroleum-based distillate used as a paint solvent. A mix of petroleum distillate sold under various brand names as a paint cleaner or thinner. Mineral oil also exists in an odourless form.

Monochrome (camaïeu)
Use of only one colour based on different shades, hues and tints.

Back to top


Non-flammable (ininflammable)
Coating that does not burn.

Non-volatile (non volatile)
Liquid or solid substance that does not evaporate in ordinary use conditions. Oils are one example of a non-volatile liquid.

Back to top


Open time (temps ouvert)
Maximum time required to put materials into place.

Operating temperature (température de service)
Range between the minimum temperature at which the physical characteristics of a product remain valid and the maximum temperature that the product can withstand problem-free.

Back to top


Paint (peinture)
Coloured and opaque finish; i.e.: one that is impervious to light and is designed to protect and decorate surfaces.

Peel strength (résistance au pelage)
A sealant's ability to resist peeling.

Pigment (pigment)
Powder and coloured substance that can be organic or inorganic and that is used to colour the surface on which it is applied.

Plastic-adjective (plastique-adjectif)
Flexible, malleable.

Plastic-material (plastique-matière)
Family of materials consisting of macromolecules obtained by polymerization.

Plywood (contre-plaqué)
Wood panels composed of thin sheets which are stuck together and positioned to alternate the direction of the wood grain.

Polyethylene (polyéthylène)
A synthetic or polythene resin which, when modified to a solvent soluble form, is used in special paints made to be water-and weather-resistant. Plastic material manufactured using ethylene polymers (gaseous hydrocarbon) and often used to manufacture containers, packaging, vapour barriers, etc. Material designed to be resistant and impermeable to various solvents.

Polymer (polymère)
Term that applies to various synthetic resins of a plastic nature. Molecule with a high molecular weight, whose chemical structure is composed of a series of long molecular chains.

Polystyrene (polystyrène)
Styrene polymer used to manufacture plastic panels and insulating panels. Polystyrene is very sensitive to solvents.

Primary colours (couleurs primaires)
Colours that cannot be obtained by mixing other colours and that are used to create other colours. The primary colours are yellow, red and blue.

Primer (apprêt)
Paint applied on bare surfaces to provide a sound and solid base for finishing coats.

Abbreviation of polyvinyl chloride.

Back to top


Resin (résine)
Natural or synthetic substance, hard and transparent, that gives several properties to finishes: adherence, flexibility, easy cleaning, stain-resistance, durability, gloss and lasting colour.

Rubber (caoutchouc)
Elastic and waterproof solid obtained as the result of the coagulation of latex in various plants or artificially manufactured.

Back to top


Saponification (saponification)
Production of a type of soap through the reaction of alkalis contained in masonry and galvanized metals with the oils in solvent-based coatings.

Saturation (saturation)
Alteration of a pure colour with a percentage of grey. Saturation determines if a colour is bright or dull. Bright colours are saturated to the maximum; they contain neither black nor white. They are pure colours. Dull colours are non-saturated.

Sealant (scellant)
Pigmented or non-pigmented compound, used as an undercoat on porous surfaces to prevent the absorption of subsequent coats.

Secondary colours (couleurs secondaires)
Colours composed of two primary colours mixed together in equal quantities. For example: yellow and red make it possible to create orange. The secondary colours are orange, purple and green.

Shade (nuance)
Colour mixed with black.

Shellac (gomme-laque)
Transparent finish that stops the bleeding from knots in softwoods such as pine, spruce and fir. Shellac is also used to seal wood pores, thus reducing the number of applications needed to obtain a nice finish.

Silicone (silicone)
Resin that is extremely resistant to heat and chemical products. Silicone paints stay glossy even when exposed to harsh weather conditions. Some silicone solutions are also used as water-repellent, to make masonry waterproof.

Skinning time (temps de formation de peau)
Period of time extending from the application of a product and the formation of a skin on the surface of the product. Period of time shorter than the open time.

Solid (solide %)
Non-volatile part of products including pigments and binders.

Solvent (solvant)
Volatile liquid which under normal drying conditions has the property of completely dissolving binders. Can also be used to lower the viscosity of paints.

Spreading rate (coverage, yield)
The surface area that can be covered in a single coat. The spreading rate is expressed in square feet per liter (sq. ft./liter) or in square metres per liter (sq. m./liter).

Stain (teinture)
Coloured finish, penetrating and opaque or more or less transparent, which changes the colour of natural wood or enhances its texture.

Stainless steel (acier inoxydable)
Type of steel containing chrome and nickel, with the property of resisting oxidation (rust).

Stripper (décapant)
Chemical product used to remove old coats of paint or varnish.

Support flange (boudin support)
Flexible and inert material in the form of a flange, designed to be installed in large and/or deep joints to provide support for elastomer sealant. The support flange is usually made of polyethylene foam.

Substrate (subjectile, substrat)
Surface upon which paint is applied (adhesives, paints, sealants, etc.).

Back to top


Tar (goudron)
Viscous, brownish or black liquid obtained by distilling coal and vegetable based materials. Not to be confused with asphalt or bitumen.

Technical data sheet (fiche technique)
Document summarizing the chemical and physical properties and instructions for using a particular product.

Tensile strength (résistance à la traction)
Resistance to scaling or crazing as the result of tension.

Tertiary colours (couleurs tertiaires)
Colours composed of a primary and a secondary colour mixed together in equal quantities. For example: yellow and orange make it possible to create orange-yellow. The tertiary colours are orange-yellow, orange-red, purply red, purply blue, greenish blue and greenish yellow.

Tetrad (tétrade)
Four colours obtained using a square or a rectangle on the chromatic circle; for example, yellow, purple, greenish blue and orange-red.

Texture (texture)
Smooth or rough aspect presented by the surface of a paint film.

Thermoplastic (thermoplastique)
Substance whose plastic properties vary based on its temperature or which present the properties of plastics within a given temperature range.

Thinner (diluant)
Liquid or volatile ingredient added to products to make them more fluid and to facilitate their application. When the thinner evaporates, the product dries, leaving a film (paints) or a paste (sealants) that adheres to the surface. Thinners are also used to clean tools.

Thixotropy (thixotropie)
The phenomenon by which a gel-like paint becomes fluid when agitated and then gradually returns to its original gel-like consistency after standing (like ketchup).

Tint (teinte)
Pure colour. Also colour blended with white.

Tone (ton)
Colour blended with grey or with a complementary colour.

Total drying time (temps de séchage complet)
Period of time extending between the application of a product and the point at which the product attains its maximum performance level.

Translucent (translucide)
Permitting light to pass through but diffusing it so that objects are not clearly visible.

Transparent (transparent)
Having the property of transmitting light so that objects can be distinctly seen.

Triad (triade)
Three colours obtained using an equilateral or isosceles triangle on the chromatic circle; for example, yellow, red and blue.

Trowel (truelle)
Tool used to apply adhesives or mortar mixtures. Trowels used with adhesives can have jagged or smooth edges. The height, width and space between the trowel's teeth determine the amount of adhesive that is applied and the space that is filled by the adhesive. Choosing the right trowel is crucial for a successful application.

Turpentine (térébenthine)
Volatile liquid extracted from pine and used as a solvent.

Back to top


Ultraviolet (ultraviolet)
The invisible part of light that is located between visible violet light and X-rays. Ultraviolet rays cause tanning in the skin and aging in exposed surfaces.

Undercoat (sous-couche)
Paint applied to surfaces that have already been painted to provide a sound and solid base for finishing coats.

Urethane (uréthane)
Synthetic resin used to manufacture products offering superior flexibility and superior resistance to wear, water and various chemical products.

Back to top


Vapour barrier (coupe-vapeur)
Construction material designed to be resistant to the passage of vapour.

Varnish (vernis)
Usually colourless finish, transparent and very resistant, designed to enhance the natural colour of wood.

Vinyl (vinyle)
Synthetic resin frequently used in the manufacture of water-based products. For example, polyvinyl chloride is used in coatings (see "PVC") and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) is used in adhesives, sealants and paints.

Viscosity (viscosité)
Characteristic that is opposite to fluidity: the resistance to the flow of a liquid or a paste.

Volatile (volatile)
Materials which evaporate from a product during the drying process, under normal conditions of use.

Vulcanisation (vulcanisation)
Chemical transformation of a rubber substance; for example, the polymerization of silicone.

Back to top


Warm colours (couleurs chaudes)
Colours associated with a sense of warmth. The warmest colours are yellow, orange-yellow, orange, reddish orange, red and purply red.

Warping (gauchissement)
Deformation in wood, caused by humidity and heat.

Water-repellent (hydrofuge)
Water-resistant product.

Back to top


Yield (coverage)
Length of the joint an elastomer sealant can cover. The yield is expressed in linear feet or linear metres, per cartridge.

Back to top