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Paint Finish

Paint Finish Published: 26th Apr 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Paint Finish
Paint Finish
Paint Finish
Paint Finish
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It’s make or break time as there’s no hiding place when it comes to a paint finish. yet there’s no reason why a keen diy owner can’t make a go of it

Fact: A bad paint job will totally ruin everything that’s gone before it and also be a waste of effort and money. The flip side? To do it right costs thousands!

There are no short cuts because the final job is only going to be as good as what lurks underneath and a typical professional prep can take up to 100 man hours. Cellulose is the oldest and the most suitable finish for ‘home use’ due to the much less dangerous fumes it gives off, although you still require a proper protective mask and a ventilated area if you value your health.

Alas, this type of paint is fast becoming harder and ever more expensive to obtain and it’s compounded by the fact that an increasing number of even seasoned professionals are reluctant to use it.

The benefits are there is no need for finishing lacquer; you simply apply the coats you desire, cutting back with a compound and finishing with a polish. It takes more time and effort but many still prefer this traditional finish as it isn’t over glossy and so perhaps more in keeping with the era of the classic vehicle being resprayed. Furthermore, it’s much easier to touch in for a good match.

Two-pack paint offers a straight ‘from the gun’ quality finish plus it requires little burnishing afterwards and the finish is much tougher than cellulose. The downside is that it cannot be applied at home, safely and legally without special breathing apparatus (although naughty people have done it). It is also harmful to the environment as well as you so watch that you don’t run the risk of prosecution – neighbours will be watching.

On the other hand, new water-based paints have taken over in the professional bodyshops because it offers similar standards of finish yet is far kinder to the environment and to the user. Two-pack generally requires a lacquer which is where much of the ‘danger’ lies to you and the environment if you don’t possess the proper professional protective equipment.

A suitable, friendlier alternative for home use is a ‘2K’ high gloss base paint that doesn’t need a lacquer at all. It goes on like cellulose but has the gloss of two-pack – it sounds the ideal solution in other words.

The drawback is that it requires flattening and polishing like good old cellulose (no bad thing we reckon) and some experts warn that, without that protective lacquer, is more prone to fading unless regularly treated to compounding and polishing – again no bad thing in our books. Speak to a paint expert for best advice before deciding on what type you want to use.

One recent alternative – or fudge if you like – is a plastic paint film which is safe and easy to apply as well as good value at around £200 – not the stuff for concours candidates but it tidies up a cheap classic at minimal cost.

In theory, you can respray a car using simple over the counter aerosols, but if you do this, opt for the larger panel spray cans that bodyshops rely upon (contact one or a paint supplier for details). Like brush painting, the finished product is only as good as the initial preparation – but in the right hands, there’s no reason why an aerosol can’t achieve the same quality as an average respray: 10-15 cans does an average car incidentally and autojumbles frequently sell general coloured cans for just a few quid a pop!

See our budget respray elsewhere in this special!

Paint your wagon

Colouring your opinion?

If you’re having a full respray carried out, you’d be mad not to pick a colour that’s in vogue for your model that could well enhance its residuals but you have to balance this against originality – and the respray has to be a thorough one. Pricey

Delights of diy dabbling

Don’t scoff; if you take the time to prepare the surface well, a quite acceptable DIY spray finish can be achieved at low cost plus it’s ‘in period’ for some oldies. Similarly brush painting can provide an entirely decent finish for a cheap classic

Setting the right tone

If your car can stand only a part respray and you are worried about a decent colour match, consider a crafty two tone job. On some 50’s/60’s classics it can look really classy. And don’t overlook details such as the fuel filler flap; makes all the difference

Five top tips

ManuaL labour

You can save a fair wedge of cash by doing as much of the prep and repair work yourself although, bear in mind, that a bodyshop may not guarantee the final finish as it didn’t do the preparation, so it’s swings and roundabouts

The price is right

Get as many quotes as you can but, obviously, look for recommendations at the same time as a low price isn’t the be all and end all. Typically, a bare metal respray can range from £3000 to over ten grand depending on if you carry out the prep work or let the bodyshop do it all. A simple flat and ‘blow over’ can cost £1200, again depending upon the level of work the sprayer needs to carry out

Let us spray…

Respraying requires a good-sized garage or work area that gives you room to move around quickly that needs to be clean, dust-free and properly vented; the latter a vital point when dealing with the likes of paint strippers and ‘Etch-primers’

Why not try diy?

Using over the counter DIY tools and materials, you can in theory spray away for under £500 and if you’ve only got a cheap and cheerful classic worth only a few grand then why not have a go? If it looks naff, then practice makes perfect – or more than satisfactory as many DIY home restorers will testify to!

A bit of a fit up

Before the final painting, offer up any new trim pieces and such like for a dummy run fit because last thing you want is for the new parts to cause damage to that lovely new paint job…



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