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'Amateurs guide to paint'


Whether a new coat of paint is needed to brighten up your car's finish or hide a scratch, painting a vehicle can be tricky due to costly equipment, limited space, time constraints, and multiple types of paint. While it may be difficult, it is possible to do without the help of a professional. Here are some important things consider before selecting and applying paint to a vehicle.

Type of Paint

'Type of Paint'

There are multiple types of paint, which cover a wide variety of needs, such as Bumper, Peel-able, and General Purpose Paints. Most paints contain three ingredients: pigment, binder, and carrier. Pigment carries the color, while binder (or resin) is a thick, sticky liquid, which hardens when exposed to air. Carrier is a solution that resin is suspended in, which keeps the binder in liquid until it is applied. All three of these elements are found in the most common types of paint, which are acrylic, metallic, and urethane. Acrylic paint provides a glossy finish and is typically easy to apply. Metallic paint tends to be a bit more eye-catching and is great for hiding scratches. Urethane paint is incredibly popular, as it can be sprayed, dries quickly, and is very durable.

I. What to consider before painting a vehicle:

Painting a vehicle requires a dry, climate-controlled workspace to prevent water from being present. It is important that water does not get trapped between the paint and the body's metalwork, which would cause the vehicle to rust.

A garage, specifically a two-car garage, is ideal for painting a vehicle because it should provide ample space to work, while keeping out dust and debris. It is recommended to clean the workspace before painting so that dust, debris, and anything else that can damage the paint are removed. Use a mop to clean up, then allow adequate time for the floor to dry so water is no longer present in the space. Afterwards, it is recommended to hang drop cloths around the space so paint doesn’t get on walls, tools, etc.

Typically, painting a vehicle could take as few as two to as many as ten hours to complete. This time constraint could make things difficult, so it's best to start early in the morning. That way you have optimal lighting while you are painting your car.

Painting a car can range anywhere from $600 to $2,000, with full vehicle paint jobs typically costing around $2,000. While painting a vehicle at home might be more cost-efficient, it also increases the odds of errors as a DIY-painter might be less experienced than a professional.

II. Painting a vehicle:

While there are many important things to figure out before painting a vehicle, but it is also important to know the steps of painting a vehicle.

1. Remove any and all rust

Rust can be damaging to your vehicle, and painting over it not only defeats the purpose, but could lead to even more damage. Rust can be removed by cutting away the impacted areas and welding in new material, or by replacing the panel entirely. Chemical treatments offer another alternative, as they can be applied to stop the oxidation process, which will prevent rust from worsening. These chemicals come in either sprayable liquids or gels, and going this route will ensure that paint bubbles do not form later on. There are, unfortunately, downsides to chemical treatments as they can only be applied to areas with light surface rust. Likewise, areas that are rusted through or flakey cannot be treated with chemicals and must be removed by replacing the body panel or by cutting out the area. Finally, treatments could take anywhere from two to twelve hours depending on the severity of the impacted area.

2. Apply a body filler
A body filler helps to fill in any imperfections that may be on the body of a vehicle. Fillers range in price, though inexpensive ones tend to be lower in quality, which means they will not last as long as higher quality fillers. Additionally, lower quality fillers make it more difficult to sand the vehicle. Sanding is already an arduous process, and adding extra time and effort can be avoided by spending a little more money on a higher quality filler.
3. Sand the vehicle
Sanding a vehicle before painting allows for paint to be applied to a consistent surface. Use a sanding block so that the same amount pressure is applied throughout and so finger marks aren't present. The sandpaper on the block should be around 180 grit to start, in order to remove high spots in the body filler before finer sandpapers are used to achieve a smooth finish.
4. Ventilate the workspace
Workspace cleanliness is very important to ensuring that dust and debris are not applied to the car, but properly ventilating the workspace might be even more important. After all, paint and the chemicals found in it can be incredibly harmful. A painter can create a budget-friendly exhaust fan by taping a furnace filter to the rear of a standard box fan. Paint dust and chemical residues can be prevented from sticking to objects outside the painting area by having the fan face away from the area.
5. Add primer before painting the vehicle
Applying a primer should be done before applying paint. Primers protect the body of the vehicle, and failing to apply the primer before the paint could lead to oxidation on the body panels. The quality of primer is important because higher qualities tend to lead to a long-lasting finish. Professionals tend to prefer using a two-part, urethane primer so the vehicle’s finish lasts longer and looks even better.

6. Paint the vehicle

It might seem straightforward, but actually painting the vehicle is a very intricate process. First, it is important to decide between using a single or two-part paint. Sometimes these are referred to as single or double stage paints. A single-part/stage paint is typically more affordable and does not need an added ingredient to dry. A two-part/stage paint is also known as a base/clear system, and requires an additional ingredient to dry, but this will allow the paint to look better for a longer period of time.

A pressure regulator should also be used to ensure the paint pressure isn't too high or low. Additionally, a water and oil separator should be used so that paint isn't contaminated and to make sure that the paint is properly mixed throughout the whole process. Use a can-style or HVLP gun to apply the paint, and make sure that the same brand and color are used throughout the process so that the color is consistent. Finally, a clearcoat should be added after the vehicle has dried. Doing this will help to preserve the paint and help deter scratches that could damage the vehicle.

Painting a vehicle can be an expensive and time consuming process, but Pep Boys can help along the way by supplying paint, supplies, and helpful tips. Whether an amateur or professional, it is always important to keep safety in mind while painting a vehicle, as the chemicals in paint can be detrimental to one's health. Despite these concerns, adding a new coat of paint to a vehicle can be very helpful as paint helps to prevent rust, in addition to creating an eye-catching color.