The Process for a Custom Paint Job
There are many tasks associated with putting an incredible paint job on any car. Each task is equally important, and non should be overlooked.
It all starts with stripping the car of all existing materials. We do this to isolate any potential rust issues, and remove any previous body work that could possibly fail, and ruin the new work. Without stripping the car down to metal, the foundation can not be guaranteed, and for the amount of work being performed, and the money being spent, it is well worth a little extra to insure against failure. This provides the foundation for good metal work.
After the car is stripped, the metal work can begin. This includes grinding out any rust we encounter, welding in any patches necessary, strengthening any areas that have suffered from metal fatigue, and massaging any damaged areas to get them back to their original shape, or as close as possible. This provides the foundation for good body work.
After all metal work is completed, the body work can begin. Using only the finest plastic fillers on the market, we now fill any dings and repair any edges that may be rough. The car is now sanded to get a smooth surface overall and ready for primer.
Prime and Block
After the body work is completed, we prime the car using only the finest primers on the market today. Primer provides a surface that paint adheres to very well, and is also used for the final shaping. We block sand the primer to get each and every panel to it’s correct shape, and then prime it again. The second round of primer is what really determines how good the finish product can be. After we block sand it a second time, we are ready to seal it. Good prime and block is essential to providing a good foundation for paint so that the finish product is error free.
After the car has been primed and blocked properly, we “Seal” the car. Essentially, sealer prohibits the next stage of paint (base coat) from bleeding through and losing it’s proper color. The sealer is like primer in some ways as it is the final step for base coat is applied, but we generally don't block sand it. It has a “tougher” finish to it and as stated before, provides a non permeable membrane so that when the base coat is applied, it does not bleed into the primer. This allows for much more even finish of the base coat.
This is the color coat of the paint process. Once the car has been sealed, we apply the base coat and get a nice, clean, even application. What is important in this stage is to make sure that we get even coverage. Proper base coat application provides the foundation for the final step: Clear Coat.
Clear coat is the final finish on the car. It is what gives the paint it’s shine, and toughness. When applying clear coat, a clean environment is essential. Clear coat is generally applied in 2 to 3 coats. Different manufacturers have different guidelines, and call for different techniques. Now that the car has it’s clear, we start to have a real good understanding of what the final finish will look like.
Color Sand and Buff
We call this stage “Cut and rub”. Basically, after the clear coat dries for the appropriate amount of time, we “color sand” or “wet sand” the clear coat to remove any imperfections in the top layer. This is a multi-stage process where we start with 1200 to 1500 grit paper, and then work in 3 stages all the way up to 3000 grit. After the sanding process, we now buff and polish. Again, this is done in 3 stages. The first requires the use of a wool pad on a high speed polisher, and some good rubbing compound. This is done to remove the 3000 grit sanding scratches. Then we move to a foam pad with a less aggressive polish. And finally, a second foam pad with an even less aggressive polish.
The end result, if all of the above stages are done correctly, is a custom paint job that will be worth every penny spent, and will last for years.