How to choose a decent quality paint and primer?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2024 12:33 am
chopolds wrote:While not entirely accurate: look at price. Good quality materials cost more than cheap ones or ones left out. Even each different manufacturer has different levels of quality. Usually "used car lot" paint, a mid grade, and a premium. Stay away from the cheapest

This pretty much sums it up.

No doubt there are smaller paint manufacturers out there who make very high quality products and sell them at realistic prices. But....who wants to be the crash test dummy to find out which ones are and which ones aren't?

I've burnt my fingers more times than I can count trying "new" and "better" products even from well known manufacturers. Clears that look good initially but then don't last, base coats that seem to have an aversion to sticking to anything, primers that are supposed to save you money but end up doing the opposite. So, I stick with Axalta, plus a couple of products from other brand name manufacturers that I know work well.

I've had a full Axalta Cromax paint system for around 20 years and prior to that had a PPG Cobra/2K system. I can mix 4 of the 3 different qualities that chopolds mentions but I pick my mark carefully. The economy paints don't cover so well so you needs more coats or a well matched or shaded primer/base. More coats means higher DFT and that's bad. The premium product covers in 1.5 coats, mainly because it has more than double the quantity of tinters in it. Less coats, especially if hardened, means lower DFT and that means better chip resistance and more elasticity so it will be less likely to crack/craze with temperature variations later. Better adhesion, too. Initially the price is scary, but once you factor in that you'll use maybe only half the quantity then it becomes clear why the big shops all use premium range products.

A point on those blacks. Black is not black. Most paint companies have two, sometimes three black base tinters. Usually there's a 'dirty' black which has a brown colouring to it and then there's a 'jet' black which has a bluer colour. The third one is a very deep black. It is unusual for a colour on a car to be 100% based on a single, in this case black, tinter. There are usually other tints mixed into the final colour - often blue, but sometimes green or red and even white. The ratio of tinter to binder can also make a big difference to the final look of the colour. If I want a straight, jet black, then I usually use BMW 086 Schwarz or Toyota 202 Black. Very similar formulae and either would give a result similar to that bike tank pictured above. The Ford Ebony Black on the truck cab isn't a true black, having Opaque Red and White in the formulation (depending on the variant). Also what is very important is the skill of the painter in both spraying on the paint or clear. Getting that glass finish doesn't come without a lot of experience and effort.

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