Paint Booth Dictionary — A Glossary of Important Terms

Dual-skin? CFM? Bake Cycle? – There are a lot of different terms thrown around in the world of paint booths. Do you know what they all mean?

It’s always important to have references that you can use to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings when technical questions arise. They’re also great to have on-hand when new painters or technicians are entering the world of paint booths. This is why GFS decided to put together an ever-expanding glossary of the most commonly used terms and acronyms that you can use as a reference any time, or share with anyone who can benefit from a little more insight in to the language of paint booths and finishing systems!

Accelerated Drying

Utilizing auxiliary air blowers inside a paint booth to break up the slow-moving boundary layer of air that forms on the painted surface due to laminar air flow. Introducing accelerated air at opposing angles to the laminar airflow results in a rapidly sped up drying process.

Air Make-Up Unit

Supplies conditioned and filtered air to the booth, minimizing temperature variations and removing particulates that compromise finish quality.

Air Replacement

Air replacement systems replenish equal amounts of fresh air into an environment for every cubic foot of air exhausted from that environment.


Managed airflow enables a painter to get maximum efficiency of the paint sprayed while directing overspray away from the painted finish. In a superior design, air is controlled to flow in unidirectional layers, either in horizontal, semi-downdraft or downdraft flow patterns, while maintaining an even velocity.

Airflow Balance

Looking at a well-balanced system, the booth is at a negative pressure (relative to the outside) from the time the fresh filtered air enters the booth until it leaves through the exhaust filters.

Auxiliary Spray Booth

Parts priming and parts jamming operations are performed in Open Face or special cut-in paint booths, leaving the main booth free for assembled parts or vehicles.

Baffle Filtration

A baffle type redirects airflow with offset holes in the media, which could be paper, metal or Styrofoam. Heavier overspray cannot change direction quickly enough, resulting in paint collecting on the media.

Bake Mode

Often used to describe the period of time required for curing the paint applied to the object being painted.


Often used interchangeably with the term “heater.” The two burner categories are “direct fired” and “indirect fire.” Can also refer to the unit of combustion located inside the heater.


The volume of air needed to move through the booth and into the exhaust chamber is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).  Area x Velocity = CFM (cubic feet per minute of air)

Cool Down

The period of time required to cool down the booth and the painted object once curing is completed. This phase starts automatically upon completion of the bake period, and can take as much as 30 minutes for a car.


Air flows horizontally through a crossdraft booth, parallel to the floor and over the product. Crossdraft airflow starts at the front of the booth, with air entering the booth through either filtered products doors (non-pressurized booths) or an intake chamber (pressurized booths). Air exits the booth through an exhaust plenum located at the rear of the booth.


Curing a finish means to bring it to its intended degree of hardness and luster.


Sound measured in decibels (dB). A sound-pressure level corrected to the “A” weighing network. A change of 1 dB is detectable by the human ear. An increase of 10 dB is a doubling of the loudness.


Generally accepted as the best airflow style, downdraft booths do an excellent job controlling overspray and contamination. Air enters the booth through a full-length, filtered ceiling plenum. From there, air flows vertically over the product and into the filtered exhaust pit in the floor.

Dual Skin

Paint booth wall panels that are constructed of two pieces of sheet metal, sandwiching a layer of fiberglass or foam insulation to provide energy savings, sound attenuation, and a cleaner, more aesthetic appearance to the exterior of the paint booth.

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