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Applying the clear coat

Posted by Jay Schneider. Filed under Clearcoat.
July 2, 2009

Once the building block foundation has been set for the type of clear coat, the application of the clear coat is equally important as well. OEM finishes have a certain appearance that we have all become accustomed to – they generally have a slight orange peel look to them. In a body shop environment, a talented Paint Application Engineer will be able to reproduce the OEM finish on the repairs just made. The objective is to repair the vehicle to the point where you can’t tell it was in an accident. Simply put – you pay for insurance to insure that if your vehicle ends up in an accident, the repairs made will look as if it never was. This holds true for buffing, polishing and finishing. An orange peel can be wet sanded out, buffed, polished and finished. But, a highly polished flat spot in the middle of an OEM panel would be a dead give-a-way telling of a repair. A definite detractor if and when you plan to sell your vehicle. Tri-Coat clears are equally sensitive to application techniques. Tri-Coat clears are very difficult to master with respect to matching OEM finishes. Say for example you are hit in your left rear quarter panel, and your vehicle is a pearl white color. Once the foundation is laid, the color coat is applied next followed by the Pearl or tinted clear. The amount of the tinted clear determines the hue of the paint. The high amounts of refractive flake in the clear makes it very difficult to match the OEM finish. In our example, the shop most likely will have to repaint the entire side of the vehicle to avoid a mismatched color. This example is one of the few where the amount of clear laid down is critical. Typical thickness of clear coats averages from a varibale1.5mil OEM to up to over 3mil on repaired panels.


Scott S. McLain

Vice President

Lake Country Mfg.


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