spray paint types

Different Types of Spray Paint and Their Uses

Spray paints are great alternatives to traditional brush and liquid paints. They are easier to apply and dry off much faster and are used in many casual paint jobs and minor projects.

However, in the category of spray paint, there are many types and finishes for spray paint, and they each serve different purposes. So, before you go to the shop and pick one up, it’s better that you know about all types of spray paint, their purpose, and then decide which one is the best for you.

We’ll try to be in-depth about spray paint and its types, so stick around till the end to get a good idea about spray painting.

What Are Spray Paints?

what is spray paint

Spray paints are essentially liquid paint that is highly compressed in an aerosol can. The cans have a push valve on the top that sprays the compressed paint when pushed.

The highly compressed paint sprays out of the can semi-vaporized, meaning the liquid particle is torn apart and sprayed like a gas.

Spray paints are used in both professional and casual paint jobs as they are available in almost every color and can be applied to many materials depending on the type of spray paint.

How Many Types of Spray Paint Are There?

There are many different types of spray paint available for various jobs and purposes. However, for most casual and professional works, you will mostly be looking at 10 types of spray paint. All of these have different individual purposes and textures.

General Purpose

This kind of spray paint is suitable for various situations and surfaces, and it’s also the most widely used spray in casual works. It can be used on most indoor and outdoor surfaces and materials, making it very versatile.

However, it is not suitable for rather extreme situations such as heat or cold.

High Heat

These spray paints are ideal for extreme situations with very high heat as they can withstand up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. Regular spray paints would start melting at such a high temperature.

It is perfect for painting outdoor items that will be exposed to heat most of the time as your car. It’s also great for painting things that generally get hot while operating, similar to ovens.


Epoxy sprays are great for household usage. The paint is very thick and has a heavy adhesive that makes it highly resistant to stains, scars, and other marks. It also contains a large number of polymers, which make it highly durable.

However, the strong adhesive and thick coating make it very hard to remove or clean.

Acrylic Spray

As the name suggests, the acrylic spray leaves an acrylic-like texture on the surface. On top of that, it is completely water-resistant. The spray substance is flexible; thus, it provides a very durable finish.

Ideally useful for cars, bikes, and other automotive paint jobs.


It is a very situation-based spray paint that isn’t used that much. Frosted spray paint is used to make transparent things (like glass) semi-transparent so that it’s harder to see through them.

It’s mainly used on car windows, bathroom glass doors, house windows, etc. It gives the glass a frosted matte finish with a tint that looks great.  


The lacquer spray paint is a very old version of spray paint that is quite hard and durable. But for it to show up, you have to apply the color multiple times and require several layers of coating. It also requires sanding in-between the applications.

This complication is why it’s not very popular or used these days. However, the durability is unquestionable.

Chalkboard Spray

Chalkboard Spray is a special kind of spray in terms of use cases. It turns the material into a blackboard-like surface which you can then write on using chalks and erase easily with a duster.

It doesn’t require any unique application methods. Chalkboard sprays are especially popular for children’s appliances.


Enamel sprays are known for their high durability and shiny/glossy finish. They are very versatile, and they dry up fast.


The name is pretty self-explanatory. A rust preventive spray is used on outdoor items that are mostly made out of metal. It creates a protective coating layer on the material that prevents it from chemically reacting with other molecules, thus preventing rust.

They have many colors and finishes, but it requires sanding out the surface and making it smooth, so there’s no gap.

Oil-based spray paint

These are like any other spray paint, but oil-based spray paints don’t require primers to be added beforehand. It is useful to some people who want to reduce costs, but most experts don’t recommend it.

Types of Spray Paint Finishes

A spray paint finish is a texture that the spray paint leaves on the surface after drying. Most well-known spray paints will have one of the five types of finishes available. Finishes are vital as they determine how the color will look and feel once applied.

Here are the five types of spray paint finishes and a brief description –


Spray paints with a gloss finish give the surface a moderately reflective and shiny texture, reflecting light. But as we know, glossy surfaces are more prone to scratches. Stains and marks are also harder to remove.


It provides the most shine and reflective surface of all finishes. Glossier than regular gloss finishes, it reflects more light more uniformly. So, when applied correctly, it creates a vague mirror-like surface.

That said, stains, scratches, and marks will be the most visible on this surface. It also attracts a lot of fingerprints.


This sits somewhere in-between gloss and matte finishes. It gives a flat texture, but when significant amounts of light hit the surface, it will shine—most people like it for its moderate glossiness.


A flat/matte spray paint becomes completely flush with the surface after being applied. It leaves no gloss or reflective properties. This provides a classier and traditional look, which makes it suitable for most projects.

The matte finish is a favorite amongst consumers.


It makes the surface very reflective but not shiny; this is what differentiates it from a gloss finish. A reflective non-shiny surface resembles a metal-like surface. When appropriately applied, it leaves a beautiful finish.

How to Choose Spray Paint?

Choosing spray paint mostly comes down to personal preference and the type of application. Using the correct type of finish is also essential to bring out the most of the spray paint.

For Painting Cars

How many spray cans to paint a car

Cars have to face harsh weather conditions and the scorching sun, which causes cars to generate a lot of heat from the inside. Considering these, you’d want spray paint that can hold up against these.

A high-heat or enamel spray paint would be your best choice here. If you’ve seen the descriptions, you’ll know exactly why. As for the finish, most cars will look great with a flat, semi-gloss, or metallic finish.

For Painting Graffiti

spray paint graffiti

Graffiti painting has its own separate spray paints; they are ideal for outdoor usage and are specially made for graffiti.

However, most enamel spray paints should be appropriate for graffiti paintings. Along with that, we’d suggest a metallic finish as they make the color look genuine.

For Painting on Wood

spray paint wood

If the wood you’re painting on will mostly stay outdoors, an enamel spray paint would be a great choice. On the other hand, you can use either a general-purpose or an epoxy spray if it’s indoor furniture.

For Painting Metal

Metal surfaces are mostly smooth so that you can use practically any type of spray paint. However, if it’s going to stay outside, it’s better to use rust-preventive spray paint.

Some Common Spray Paint Brands

Now to round up everything, we’re going to list some of the most well-renowned spray paint brands so you can start shopping right away.

  • Rust-Oleum
  • Montana
  • Liquitex
  • Loop
  • MTN
  • Ironlak

Most of these have a variety of finishes, types, and colors from which you can choose. They are also great for multipurpose uses, so you’re not bound to use one spray for one task.


Spray paints are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their easy-to-use and wide range of applications as their demand increases. If you’ve wanted to get into spray painting, now is the best time.

We’ve talked about the various types of spray paint and given you a short guide as to which to go for. Hopefully, you can make a clear decision now, as it’s easy to get confused by all the types of spray paints out there.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top