Different Types of Automotive Paint


Different Paint Types

Single-stage – in this paint the color pigment is added to the urethane clearcoat and applied in one step. Single-stage paints do not provide as much protection from the suns UV light which can break down the paint pigments. Having clearcoat only on the top provides better protection and holdout. This is a common choice for fleet vehicles and economical jobs. Single stages can come in both metallic and solid colors, however solid colors are a much more common choice as using a metallic single-stage can limit repair options such as polishability.

Base / Clear – this is the most common choice of paint used in the industry today. It is atwo-stepp process where the basecoat is applied to the surface & followed by a urethane clearcoat on top of it. This how most vehicles are painted from the factory as well as being refinished. These can be solid colors or contain metallics & pearls.

Three Stage/Tri-coat – This process is similar to base/clear. This is only used with pearlescent colors. A solid basecoat is painted on first, then followed by a coat of a pearlescent. This gives the effect that the pearls are sitting on top of the color. It is followed by a clearcoat for shine and protection. This is used sometimes from the factory.

Candies – This is unique paint jobs that pretty well only exist in custom painting. It is accomplished by spraying a metallic color first, then followed by a transparent solid color. The effect is the metallics reflect through the solid color on top and produce a high sparkle effect.

Metallics vs Pearls

Metallics – these are flakes of aluminum that reflect light. They will complement the color they are added to and provide a sparkle appearance. They come in different shapes and sizes that will alter the way they appear.

Pearls – these are flakes from the mica mineral. Modern mica\’s are actually synthetic and not mined but still produce the same effect. They are also coated with another mineral that will give the mica a color. The mica flakes are able to provide a separate color of the paint, the color depends on the mineral they are coated with. Mica flakes allow light to pass through them and a visible color is produced.

Waterborne vs Solvent

The only difference between the two is the delivery method. The pigment is transferred to the surface using either of the two. They each present different strengths and weaknesses for the refinisher but there is not much difference in the quality they produce. There are a few waterborne clearcoats available, however, it is mostly basecoat that utilizes water technology. Solvent paint lines utilize various petroleum-based products for paint delivery.

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