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It might at this stage be advisable to include a brief explanation of what is meant by covering capacity. This term, when applied to paint, is often misunderstood even amongst tradesmen. In the general sense, it is used to indicate how far a paint will spread, but a surface can be spread or covered with a paint without the original surface being obliterated or hidden, as when varnishing. To many people the term “covering capacity” indicates the power to hide the original surface, but the correct term for this is “hiding power”, or obliterating properties. The liquid part of a paint determines its spreading properties, and upon the pigments depends how well it obliterates the old surface. The covering capacity stated for the paints described in this chapter are based on the proper obliteration of the surface when the paint is spread over the area mentioned.
The number of different paints that can be classed under this heading is so large that subdivision is necessary according to the type of work on which they are to be used. Finishing paints are made in two grades—inside and outside quality; the weather resistance depends upon the quantity of oil and the kind of pigment. It is not necessary to discuss the relative merits of the different kinds of pigment because, as previously mentioned, paints can be purchased in a ready-mixed form, and if a reputable brand of paint is labelled as suitable for outside use, it can be taken for granted that it will be satisfactory.