The vehicle is the liquid portion in a paint. It wets
the surface being painted, penetrates into the pores, and
ensures adhesion. Until recently, the base of most paints
was oil, such as linseed oil, but few paints today contain
oils. Some have vehicles of processed oils in
combination with synthetic resins; others have vinyl
chlorinated bases that are quick drying.
To add to the drying properties of paint, certain
metallic compounds, called driers, are added to the
paint. When mixed with oil, they act as conveyers of
oxygen, which they take from the air and add to the oil,
speeding up the drying process.
Thinners are used for thinning the paint to the
proper degree for spraying, brushing, or rolling. They
also increase the penetration of the paint into the surface
and cut down the gloss. Too much thinner affects the
durability of the paint. The most common type of
thinner is made of mineral spirits, but the proper type to
use depends on the paint base. Never use diesel oil or
kerosene to thin paint.
Types of Paint
Paints are of many different kinds, and the Navy
constantly works and experiments to improve them.
As a result, you are provided the best paints available
for the type of surface to be covered. Most Navy
paints are named according to color and/or use, such
as exterior gray deck and pretreatment coating
PRIMERS.Primers are base coats of paint that
stick firmly to bare woods and metals, providing a
smooth surface for finishing coats. They also serve to
seal the pores, and those applied on steel are rust
inhibitors as well.
A minimum of two coats of primer should always
be used after the surface is cleaned down to the bare
metal. A third coat should be added at all outside
corners and edges. At least 8 hours of drying time
should be allowed between primer coats.
SYNTHETIC PAINTS.Synthetic resin
coatings, such as epoxies, urethanes, and inorganic
zinc, are used for areas subject to severe service or
exposure, such as bilges, tanks, and decks. The base
coating is mixed with a converter (hardener) to cure or
harden the paint film.
EXTERIOR PAINTS.Vertical surfaces above
the upper limit of the boot topping (waterline area,
painted black) are given two coats of haze gray.
Horizontal surfaces are painted with exterior deck gray
(darker than haze gray) except the underside of deck
overhangs, which are painted white.
A nonskid deck paint is used on main walkways,
flight decks, and hangar decks. It contains a small
amount of pumice, which helps to give a better footing.
Top-hamper areas subject to discoloration from smoke
and stack gases and the tops of stacks are painted black.
INTERIOR PAINTS.Depending on the use of
individual compartments, several colors are authorized
or prescribed for interior bulkheads, decks, and
The choice of colors for berthing, messing, and
recreation spaces usually is left to the individual ship.
All other shipboard spaces are painted the color
prescribed by the Naval Sea Systems Command. Deck
paint colors, for example, are dark green in the ward-
room and officers quarters, dark red in machinery
spaces, and light gray in enlisted personnel living
Some common bulkhead colors are green for
offices, radio rooms, the pilothouse, and medical
spaces; gray for the flag plot, the combat information
center, and the sonar control room; and white for store-
rooms and sanitary and commissary spaces. Overhead
colors are either the same as the bulkhead or white.