First of all you need to be 100% sure that your body work is complete, and then make sure that you prep work in done right, and complete, prep work and masking are the most important areas of a professional looking paint job on your car.
I’ll begin by telling you how to check your prep work, you’ll be using your hand to feel the car’s body work, I usually put a clean rag between my hand and the body of the car, it will make it so you can feel any imperfections much better as you go.
You’ll be looking to any high spots, or low spots, along with areas that may feel rough, if you find any of these areas, you’ll need to fix them before your move on the the cleaning, and masking of the car, masking is one of the most important parts, so take your time.
When you mask a car for paint, or primer, your looking for even mask lines around the entire car, and you may think that this sounds simple, but if over mask an area of the car, you won’t have paint in that area, if you under mask, you’ll have paint where you don’t want it.
Unless your removing all of the windows, and chrome from the car, you’ll want to take your time and mask the car exactly right, if you have some over masking, trim it with t a razor blade, if you have under masking add a bit more tape to cover the UN masked area.
Now w have covered masking and prep work, we can move on to the cleaning of the car, this takes place after the car has been masked, and pepped, you’ll need a pre-paint cleaner to clean the surface of the primer.
After you have cleaned the surface of the car, you can start to clean the area where your going to paint the car, unless your planning to rent a paint both to paint your car, I don’t know what it costs to rent a booth where you are, but here it one hundred dollars for a day.
For the best results it’s always best to rent a paint booth, a paint both has a controlled temperature, which makes it a lot easier to perform a professional, you of course don’t have to rent a booth, I have done plenty of paint jobs in the garage.
It will take you a lot longer to clean the garage then it will a paint booth though, and it can never as dust free in your garage, it’s just not possible, so now let’s roll the car in to the paint booth, and then bust out a tack cloth and go over the surface of the car.
When you use a tack cloth, you should never push hard on the cloth, it will leave a residue behind, so just gently place your hand on the cloth, and glide it across the entire surface of the car, once you got this done, your ready to put the sealer on the car.
You should not paint with the same gun that you shoot primer and sealer with, you should have two or three different spray guns that you use, if you only have two spray guns, make sure that you clean them to perfection between the base coat, and the clear coat.
Most cars these days are painted with a base coat clear coat paint system, these systems have been proven to be more durable over the years, with less paint fade due to sun light, and less cracking and checking of the paint.
A base coat clear coat system does cost a bit more to use, but it’s well worth the expense if you want your paint to last a long time, now that I have explained a little about why certain paints are better to use we’ll get right to the sealing of the car.
Noe that we have the car in the booth, and it has been cleaned, and tacked off, we can get down to the fun stuff, when you seal a car you should always follow the manufactures recommended mixing ratios for the best results.
Most of the paint manufactures use a 2:1:1 or a 4:1:1 ratio, what this means is the you’d mix 2 parts of sealer, with 1 part reducer, and one part hardener, or 4 parts sealer, to one part reduced, and one part hardener, that is how the ratios work.
When you go to purchase that paint, and sealer make sure that you ask the dealer for mixing cups, stir sticks, and strainers also, and have them show you how to use the mixing cup as well, when you begin to mix the sealer you’ll pour the sealer through a strainer.
The strainer will remove any impurities that are in the sealer, and make it spray out with no dust, or other contaminants that my otherwise be in it, once you have mixed the sealer, you can pour it in to the spray gun.
Now you’ll need to hang a piece of masking paper, or cardboard on the wall of the paint booth so you can set the spray gun air pressure, fluid flow, and fan width, once you get these three things set to you liking, you can spray the sealer on the car.
Let me just give you a couple of ideas on gun settings, the first setting that you need to worry about is gun air pressure, or pressure at the gun tip, this should be about 25-30 LBS, if you get the pressure to high, you’ll get a dry spray, that looks horrible.
If you set the pressure to low, you’ll get runs in your paint, another thing that doesn’t look good at all, so make sure that you have it set in the 25-30 LBS range, the next thing that you’ll need to set on the spray gun is the fluid flow.
The fluid flow can really make or break the look of your paint also, this you’ll just need to play with, and get it set to your comfort level, depending on how slow, or fast you’d like to move while you spray the car.
You should always hold your spray gun at a 45 or 90 degree angle to the car, this will insure an even spray pattern, and to really insure an even spray pattern, you’ll need to set the fan of the gun also, the fan setting can be a bit tricky.
When you set the fan on a spray gun, your looking for a fan that’s for 4-6 inches wide, with no light spots, or heavy spots in the spray pattern, once you get it there, your ready to spray the sealer, these are the same settings that you’ll need to spray the paint.
Now we’ll put the sealer to the car, what you’ll want to do is start out your spray on the masking paper, and then move on to the car, you’ll need two to three coats, with a 20 minute waiting period between coats for flash time.
If you don’t give the sealer the proper flash time, you will run it, and that is the last thing that you want, you’ll have to wait for it to dry all the way, and wet sand the runs out, and then re-mask the car, and sealer is very hard to sane, so give it the 20 minute flash time.
After the last coat of sealer has dried for about 20 minutes, you can lightly tack cloth it, and then mix your base coat according to factory recommended mixing ratios, and begin to spray the base coat, starting on the masking paper first.
You’ll need to pay close attention to your gun trail, you need to be 100% sure to overlap the spray trail by 50% or as close as you can get it, it usually requires three coats of color, unless it’s a transparent color, and then it may need more to cover.
Once you have a achieved a full coverage with the color, you have 24 hours to spray the clear, so if you want to take a break it’s just fine, with the clear I recommend 4-6 coats for the show car look, and if your going to cut and buff, go the 6 coats and no less.
Clear is the same as color in the way that you spray it, you’ll need at least 20 minutes of flash time between coats, and a 50% over lap of the gun trail, if you follow these rules, your car should look great when you finish the paint work.