Paints and colors - all types in the overview

An almost unmanageable number of different paints and colors fills the shelves of hardware stores. How to divide up paints and varnishes, and which types are available, can be found in the following overview, as well as the preferred areas of application.

Paints, colors and glazes

Basically, you can once distinguish between paints, colors and glazes.

To dye

Colors are mainly used for wall decoration. Synthetic resin emulsion paints predominate in commerce and crafts. They are very stable and have a high opacity, but you have to expect in this case also with environmental pollution and occasionally with health hazards.

In addition, the following colors are also available in stores:

  • Natural resin dispersions (usually high solvent content, can smell for a while)
  • Latex paints (very expensive, water-resistant and washable, mostly available only as "pseudo latex paints", can not be painted over
  • Pure silicate paints (contain water glass, very health-promoting, since there are no artificial substances)
  • Synthetic silicate paints (containing only about 5% synthetic resins, almost as good as pure silicate paints)
  • Lime paint (solvent-free, preservative-free)
  • Paints (water-soluble, washable, no organic solvents, rarely today)
  • Casein colors (contain milk proteins, natural ingredients, but can form ammonia)


Varnishes seal the surface of painted objects with a thin, impermeable layer. They therefore also serve to protect these objects.

Lacquer can be divided into:

  • according to the binder used
  • according to the type of processing (dipping paints, etc.)
  • according to function (primer, topcoat, sealer)
  • according to the solvent content (water-soluble, solvent-containing)

The most dangerous to health and the most environmentally harmful are the so-called nitro paints. Resin and alkyd resin coatings also have a high potential for damaging the environment and health, as they can consist of up to 50 percent organic solvents.

On the other hand, dispersion varnishes are particularly low in solvents and thus well suited. However, their properties are not always sufficient for all purposes.

The so-called high solid coatings are usually well suited for use in the home, since they form thick and stable layers of paint and with a solvent content of between 10 and 30 percent are still reasonably environmentally and health-friendly.


Glazes are - unlike paints - always translucent. Lasers are mainly wood, but occasionally glazes are also used for other materials.

Technically, a distinction is made between thin-film and thick-film glazes. Thin-film stains always contain a high amount of solvent, they should not be used in the interior if possible. For thick-layer glazes, there are both solvent-free and solvent-containing products.

For glazes, it is always important to repaint regularly, as the glaze layer wears off over time.

Video Board: Different types of paints for beginners | Fatema's Art Show