The stages of painting a car and the types of Automotive Paint Finishes


Car paints play an important role in improving the visual appeal and protecting the surface of the vehicle. A high-quality car paint gives a shiny appearance, which makes it more valuable for the target customers.

What are the stages of painting a car?

Painting a car is not as easy as using a brush on a piece of wood. A lot of factors are required which include:

  • A closed place where there is no dust nor humidity
  • Proper tools for sanding, spraying, and shielding the unwanted areas from being painted
  • Treating the rust and wiping out the dust from the surface before applying the paints

1. Preparation Stage

1.1 First things first, the rust and/or old paint of the car are thoroughly sanded off. The goal is to give the outside of the car an even surface onto which the paint can adhere.
1.2 Any holes in the metal are filled with putty. The surface is then smoothed and any excess of putty is removed using a flat-edged putty knife.
1.3 The surface of the car is cleaned using a dry cloth, and the areas that are not being sprayed are covered using tape. 

2.     Primer

Following the preparation stage is the primer application. A primer is a kind of a paint that prepares the car surface for painting upon. The use of the primer is an initial phase of the car painting process as it helps to level the surface of the metal car body and remove any defects. The initial primer coat aids to protect the metal body of the car from rusts, high temperatures, stone splinters, and UV rays.

3.  Base Coat or 2K Acrylic Topcoat

The second important step is applying the base coat (color coat) or the acrylic topcoat. In this step, the color of the car and its visual appeal come into existence.

-There are different varieties of base coat: solid, metallic, pearlescent and xirallic. Each one of these varieties have distinct properties, and give a different finish.

-The Acrylic Topcoat is a bicomponent paint that should be mixed with its appropriate hardener before spraying. The colors in this range are all solid shades. Since this topcoat gives the car the shiny appearance and the protection and resistance required, no need for the application of the clear coat. (skip step 4)

4.  Clear Coat (On top of Base Coats)

The last stage in automotive painting is the clear coat application. The clear coat is a transparent coat applied atop the base coat. Since it is the final step of the car paint and comes in immediate contact with the surroundings, the clear coat must be long-lasting. It should have the ability to protect the surface coat from external abrasion and provide mechanical, chemical and weathering resistance.

What are the types of Automotive Paint Finishes?

1. Metallic Paint

Metallic automotive paint is made when finely ground aluminum is added to pigmented and un-pigmented paints.  The aluminum particles provide a sparkle that ranges in size, brightness, and sometimes color, depending on the manner in which the aluminum is ground, refined, and modified. 

2. Pearlescent Paint

The pearlescent paints are similar to the metallic paint, but instead of the aluminum powder, this paint contains ceramic crystals. The ceramic crystals refract and reflect sunlight, making the surface more shiny and appealing.

3. Xirallic Paint

Xirallic is an alumina effect pigment made of aluminum oxide platelets covered with titanium oxide that shows a strong glitter effect with a distinct shimmering behavior. The main differences between the xirallic and pearl pigments are in their composition, the pigment’s shape, and the way how these two properties determine their interaction with light.

4. Solid Paint

Solid paints are the most widely used paint finishes on cars, mostly because they’re easy to apply and easy to match.

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