How To Get The Perfect Finish When Paint Spraying A Car

Posted on 02 November 2016 Jake Martin


Getting the perfect car paint finish depends on the interplay of three important factors:

  • Using the right products at the right ratios
  • Using the right techniques for even coverage
  • Environmental factors, such as humidity and ambient temperature in the spray booth, as well as outside weather conditions.

In previous articles we have explained the importance of the first two factors. To get a great looking automotive finish, you need to use the right paints, such as our Kapci range of metallics, clear coats, thinners and fillers. You also need to pay attention to how the paint is applied, using the right application pressure, coverage ratio and overlap on each of your coats.

However, even if you do all this perfectly and the car paint finish looks brilliant after you’ve just sprayed, when you go back to the same panel a few days later the colour may have changed. This infuriating issue is almost always due to environmental factors.

Overcoming Environmental Factors

Ambient temperature and humidity can have a huge effect on the final finish. Even in an isolated controlled spray booth, heat and moisture will be drawn in from outside, affecting the speed with which the paint dries. In general, a cold or humid environment may result in a darker final appearance, whereas a warm or dry environment can give a lighter appearance.

The final colour may also be affected if the paint is applied too lightly, or too dry, as the toner may not adhere sufficiently to the panel. Whatever the cause, there is no need to sand and repaint the entire panel. An inaccurate colour match can be remedied as follows:

1) Clean the entire surface with a high quality degreaser, such as 605 Kapci Degreaser.

2) Mask the unaffected areas to prevent contamination.

3) Adjust the spray booth environment through heating or air conditioning, depending on the final result you want.

4) Apply up to two drop coats at a lower pressure of around 1.5BAR. You will need to use one of the following two approaches:

For A DARKER Finish

If the paint finish is lighter than your original colour match, you will need to make it darker. This is best achieved in a cold environment. It is important that you keep your spray pressure low, with a fairly heavy application to darken the colour. Use a Slower drying thinner to slow down the drying of the paint, with a bigger fluid tip for denser coverage.

For A LIGHTER Finish

Warmer environments are more conducive to a light paint finish, so if the colour is too dark you should start by warming up the booth so the temperature is at least 20°C. Light applications at a relatively high spray pressure will give a lighter result. Use drop coat application techniques with a large spray fan to give you the correct coverage if necessary. A smaller fluid tip could also result in a lighter appearance or use a dedicated setup for water based paint.

Achieve A Perfect Car Paint Finish Every Time

Paying attention to application techniques and the spray booth environment will help you achieve a perfect finish for every customer. To assist you, we have made a free tutorial video full of helpful spray painting tips, covering the full process from paint mixing to final finishing. FLP Group’s Jordan Salt explains the professional techniques that reduce the risk of paint defects and guarantee a great result, whatever the environmental conditions. You can access your copy of the video by clicking here.

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