Alkyd: The Ultimate Guide to What It Is and How It Works

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 19, 2022
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Alkyd is a type of paint containing polyester resin and modified with fatty acids, derived from polyols, organic acids, and triglycerides. It’s a type of oil-based paint that behaves differently from other types of paint.

Alkyd paint is similar to enamel paint, but with a different texture and feel. It’s a great choice for painting walls and provides a great finish that’s easy to remove when needed.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about alkyd paint, from what it is to how it’s used.

What is alkyd

Alkyd: The Key to a Great Finish on Your Home Walls

Alkyd is a term that denotes a type of paint that contains a polyester resin modified by the addition of fatty acids and other components. Alkyds are derived from polyols and organic acids, including dicarboxylic acids or carboxylic acid anhydride and triglyceride oils. The term “alkyd” is commonly used in the paint industry to describe a specific type of oil-based paint that behaves differently than other types of paint.

How is Alkyd Paint Produced?

The production process for alkyd paint is similar to that of other types of paint. However, alkyd paint typically contains a higher content of oil and resin than other types of paint. The addition of these components promotes flexibility and consistency in the final product, resulting in a tougher surface when painted on walls.

What are the Different Types of Alkyd Paint?

There are several different types of alkyd paint available, each with its own unique properties and benefits. Some of the most commonly found types of alkyd paint include:

  • Enamel alkyd paint: This type of alkyd paint is great for use on metal surfaces due to its tough and durable finish.
  • Hybrid alkyd paint: This type of alkyd paint is a combination of alkyd and latex paint, making it a great choice for those who want the benefits of both types of paint.
  • Oil-based alkyd paint: This type of alkyd paint is commonly used for painting walls in the home, as it provides a great finish and is easy to remove if needed.

How to Determine if Alkyd Paint is Right for You?

If you want a great finish on your home walls and are willing to wait a bit longer for the paint to dry, alkyd paint may be the right choice for you. Consider the following factors when determining if alkyd paint is right for your painting needs:

  • Do you want a tougher surface on your walls?
  • Are you interested in painting metal surfaces?
  • Do you want a paint that is easy to apply and provides a consistent finish?
  • Are you willing to wait longer for the paint to dry?
  • Do you want a paint that is easy to remove if needed?

Discovering the Wonders of Alkyd Paint: A Professional’s Guide

Alkyd paint has several unique characteristics that make it stand out from other types of paint, including:

  • Smooth finish: Alkyd paint has a smooth and glossy finish that is unmatched by other types of paint.
  • Coverage: Alkyd paint can cover surfaces in just one or two coats, making it a popular choice for professional painters.
  • Resistant to water and chemicals: Alkyd paint is highly resistant to water and chemical damage, making it ideal for use in areas that are exposed to harsh conditions.
  • Suspended pigments: The pigments in alkyd paint are suspended in the resin, which allows for better color retention and durability.
  • Brush application: Alkyd paint can be applied with a brush, making it easy to use for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

How Does Alkyd Paint Compare to Other Paints?

Alkyd paint is often compared to acrylic and oil-based paints. Here are some of the major differences:

  • Acrylics: Acrylic paints dry faster than alkyd paints and are easier to clean up with water. However, they are not as durable as alkyd paints and do not have the same level of glossiness.
  • Oils: Oil-based paints take longer to dry than alkyd paints and require solvents for clean-up. They also tend to yellow over time. However, they have a smoother finish and are more flexible than alkyd paints.

Understanding the Different Coating Types of Alkyds

Long oil alkyds have a high oil content, typically above 60%. They require a longer drying time but produce a tough and flexible finish. They are commonly used in food packaging paints and coatings.

Medium Oil Alkyds

Medium oil alkyds have an oil content ranging from 40% to 60%. They are easy to apply and produce a good finish. They are commonly used in the manufacturing of electrical cans and for general-purpose coatings.

Modified Alkyds

Modified alkyds are alkyds that have been modified with other components to improve their performance. Some of the commonly used modifications include phenolics, bisphenol A, and acrylic monomers. The modifications affect the drying time, adhesion, chemical resistance, and heat resistance of the coating.

Alkyd Hybrids: The Perfect Blend of Resins

Alkyd hybrids are a combination of alkyd and other resins, such as epoxy, polyester, or waterborne resins. These hybrids are created by blending the alkyd with unreacted epoxy resin precursors before curing. The result is a unique coating that combines the best properties of each resin.

Types of Alkyd Hybrids

There are several types of alkyd hybrids available, including:

  • Epoxy-alkyd hybrids: These coatings offer excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance, making them ideal for use on metal surfaces.
  • Polyester-alkyd hybrids: These coatings are highly durable and offer excellent gloss retention, making them ideal for use on exterior surfaces.
  • Waterborne alkyd hybrids: These coatings are environmentally friendly and offer low VOC emissions, making them ideal for use in indoor spaces.
  • Nanocomposite alkyd hybrids: These coatings contain nanoparticles that enhance the properties of the coating, such as scratch resistance and UV protection.


So, that’s what alkyd is- a type of paint containing a mixture of oil, resin, and wax. Alkyd is great for painting walls because it provides a smooth finish and is resistant to water and chemicals. You can also use it on metal surfaces, making it a versatile paint type. So, if you’re looking for a tough, durable finish, alkyd paint is the way to go.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.