Spray Painting De-Mystified: Common Jargon in Plain English

Posted on 31 May 2016 Jake Martin


Welcome to our new blog! In these articles we are going to publish a wide range of information, tips and resources aimed at paint sprayers working in the automotive marketplace. We’ll be covering a variety of topics, spanning legislation and regulations, practical techniques, product reviews and theory – something for everybody.

In this article we’re going to kickstart our blog with an explanation of some of the common jargon used in the industry. These basic terms are used extensively by sprayers but are often mystifying for people who are new to the industry. We try as hard as possible to avoid ‘tradespeak’ whenever we can, but there is no getting away from a short list of elementary but informative phrases that we all use on a day-to-day basis.

Jargon buster

This small list of phrases explained below refers to products used by automotive spray painters, it is certainly just a taster and there is loads more products for any inquisitive mind to research on our website www.flpgroup.co.uk , also we invite you to follow the links provided by each entry to gain further knowledge. We have arranged our guide in the order in which they are commonly used i.e. with pre-treatment and prep products first, followed by paints and clearcoats then specialist products.

Pre-treatment products:

These products are used before you begin spraying, to ensure you have a good, level surface to work with.

1) Fibreglass: When there is a serious hole to be filled, you get out the fibreglass. In the context of automotive spraying, Fibreglass is a glass strand paste used to bridge holes and fill large, deep areas. You use fibreglass when the damage is too extensive to be effectively smoothed over with any of the previous fillers and stoppers. Fibreglass can also be known as jam!

2) Filler: Before you can apply a new coat of paint, you first need to prepare a smooth and even surface. Cars are continually getting small dents and scratches that are often not visible to the naked eye, but can still make a paint job look patchy and uneven. Filler is a paste that is mixed with a hardener and used to fill dents and dings. Browse our range of fillers here: www.flpgroup.co.uk/flk5250

3) Stopper: For tiny pinholes and minor chips in the bodywork, standard fillers are unsuitable. They are simply too thick and intrusive to make a smooth finish possible. A Stopper is a thin filler used to fill pinholes and other minor damage. You can see our selection of stoppers here: www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl10691

4) Top Stop: This is a very popular brand of Stopper, well-respected and the first port of call for many sprayers when they need a stopper that works reliably each time. You can review Impa Softon Stopper directly on our website, along with other leading brands: www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl306911

5) Celly putty: Not to be confused with ‘Silly Putty’, which is something quite different, Celly Putty is a thick, cellulose paste used to fill thin scratches and minor chips. We stock Celly Putty on our website. Visit this page to browse our selection: www.flpgroup.co.uk/flk4001

6) Panel Wipe/ Pre-paint Degreaser: The usual prerequisite to all paint jobs, Panel Wipe is a chemical solution that de-greases panels before painting. Even if no fillers or stoppers are required, sprayers will normally treat a car with Panel Wipe, as it prevents accumulated dust, grease and dirt from causing irregularities in the new paintwork. Browse our range of effective Panel Wipe / Pre paint degreaser here: www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl20231

Spray Painting Products

This is where sprayers get down to the business of applying the new coat of paint. This usually happens in two variations; a basecoat followed by a clear lacquer or a solid colour top coat.

1) 2k / 2 pack: These terms refer to an automotive paint formula that comes in two parts paint to one part hardener (2:1). The first is an acrylic based paint that is mixed with an isocyanide hardener before applying.  2K paint is available in a tinter mixing scheme www.flpgroup.co.uk/flkc or in ready mixed colour batches www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl2017

2) Basecoat: The basecoat is the colour or paint that is applied to a panel after priming and other initial pre-treatments. It is commonly a metallic paint, which requires a final clearcoat (see below). Basecoats are available in a tinter mixing scheme www.flpgroup.co.uk/flkb  or in ready mixed batches from our online store: www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl2018

3) Metallic: Metallic basecoat paint take its’ name from the metallic particles that are mixed in with it to give it its characteristic shine. Both metallic and basecoat paints are available from FLP Group in a tinter mixing scheme www.flpgroup.co.uk/flkb or in ready mixed batches www.flpgroup.co.uk/fl2018

4) Pearl: Pearl paints are also variation of basecoats that are applied in a similar way to metallic basecoat paints. They contain light refracting compounds that create subtle changes in the colour spectrum with varying light as it hits the surface colour. The result is an attractive, pearlescent character, which gives the paint its name. You can review our pearls in the tinter mixing scheme on our website: www.flpgroup.co.uk/flkb

5) Lacquer / Clearcoat:  Sprayers use lacquer as a clear coating to give additional shine and durability to pearl, metallic and basecoats. Lacquer is a clear, fast drying liquid that is sprayed in even layers over the panel once the basecoat has completely dried. We have a number of leading lacquer brands available to review on our website:

Finishing Products

After the application of basecoat and clearcoat, it may be necessary to even out the paint surface to ensure a perfect finish. Or indeed, prior to painting, during the final preparation of filler and primer layers the sprayer may require wet and dry papers. For this, you may need the following:

1). Wet and dry: This refers to specialised sandpaper designed for use either on a dry paint surface or in conjunction with soapy water (wet). The sandpaper comes in varying grades but is considerably finer than commercial products one might use in traditional sanding. They tend to start at a grade of p180 and upto p2000. The higher the number, the finer the abrasion is. The soapy water used with wet sandpapers is to prevent wet paint fragments clogging and then drying in uneven clumps.

Special Products

1) Underseal: This is a specialist spray coating that is not used in standard panel paint jobs. Underseal is a thick, tar-like coating used to cover the underside of a vehicle and protect it from the elements. It is a popular option for 4x4 and off-road vehicles, as well as a treatment for cars before the wet weather of winter. You can find our selection of underseal paints here: www.flpgroup.co.uk/flk5100s

There is so much information available to help beginners and those with not very much experience – call our team to discuss issues and for product assistance – it may save you a lot of money! For more information about spray-painting, help with technical jargon or to know more about the products we stock, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone on 01302 571571, or send us an email to info@flpgroup.co.uk.





Subscribe to Email Updates

New Call-to-action

Follow FLP

Recent Posts