Paint vs. Coating, What is the Difference?

coatings and repairs | Renovia | commercial coatings and repairs contractorcoatings and repairs | Renovia | commercial coatings and repairs contractor

As facility and property managers, your job requires you to make decisions on when and how to maintain, upkeep, and improve the look and performance of the properties you are responsible for.  Occasionally, that involves paint and/or coating.  So what is the difference?

It is an age-old question really, “What is the difference between paint and coating?”  Okay, maybe it is not an age-old question.  But the reality is that there is a difference, and as experts in this industry we would like to help you understand exactly what that difference is so that you can make the right decision for your properties.

Simply put, paint is for aesthetics and coating is for performance.  See below as we go into some greater detail.


The main purpose of painting anything is to improve the aesthetics (the look or beauty of something).  Paint can be applied to a variety of surfaces using many different application techniques.  While there are some protective qualities that come with painting anything, that is not the real purpose of paint.  The result of applying paint is for any surface to temporarily look nicer, look more vibrant, appear cleaner, or seem newer than it did before paint was applied.


What paint cannot do is where coating steps in; perform.  Coating is paint with purpose.  The end purpose depends on the coating system that is decided upon.  Like paint, coatings are applied to a variety of surfaces using many different application techniques.  Here are a few examples of the performance a coating system can provide that paint cannot:

  • color retention
  • flexibility and elasticity
  • waterproofing
  • water-shedding
  • breathability (permeable)
  • rust and corrosion containment and prevention
  • self-cleaning
  • anti-microbial

Coating can be paint, but paint cannot be a coating.  The difference is performance.

If you only want to make your property “look” better for a short time (maybe you are preparing it to sell) then paint might be a better short-term and cost-effective option.  However, if you are interested in protecting the asset for many years to come then a coating would be the better solution.

If you’re still not sure where to go from here, let us know.  We are here to help: Contact us!

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