top of page

The Perfect Paint Job

Our goal is to accomplish a paint job that has a solid foundation, maximum gloss and will last for many years. This type of painting is not practical for the everyday production body shop, but it will serve you when you do your next restoration or a street rod job. We are going with the assumption that the metal or fiberglass has been stripped of all paint. All bare metals and aluminum should have 80 grit DA scratches.

Spraying primers:

Bare metal is always best cleaned with 700-1 Waterborne Wax and Grease Remover and then let it sit 60 minutes before applying the epoxy!

After first reading our Epoxy Tech Sheet mix enough SPI Epoxy Primer to spray 2-3 wet coats over the entire car. Spray one wet coat and let flash about 30 minutes then apply a second wet coat (3rd coat is optional). Let the epoxy sit overnight then apply body filler or glazing putty over the epoxy. Let the epoxy sit 48 hours before applying polyester primer.

It is not necessary to sand the epoxy before applying the fillers (within the first 7 days of spraying epoxy) as they will bite into the epoxy and feather great. When you have finished sanding all the bodywork you are likely to have some bare metal spots from sanding. Spray one wet coat of epoxy over all filler spots and over any bare metal spots. Now let the vehicle set overnight.

The next day you can start spraying the 2K primer over the epoxy. Once again, it is not necessary to scuff or sand the epoxy before applying primer. The most important thing to remember at this point is spray one wet coat of 2K primer and let it sit for 5 minutes before applying the second coat. Follow this procedure between all coats of 2K Primer. This step when abused messes up more paint finishes than anything else!

When all the primer blocking, and any necessary primer repairs are finished it is always best to use the epoxy as a sealer. Mix up enough epoxy to go around the car with one wet coat and adding a double shot glass of SPI 885 Urethane Reducer per quart. Let the epoxy sit for 30 minutes. Stir one more time and strain. Spray one full wet coat of epoxy over the entire car. The epoxy should sit for 6 hours before spraying basecoat, the best option is let it sit overnight.

Spraying the basecoat:

Next to rushing the 2K primer, rushing the basecoat is the second cause for the final gloss and depth of a paint job to look bad. It’s very important to use the slowest urethane reducer in your basecoat that you can get away with regardless of outside temperature. Even if you spray at 70- 75 degrees, use slow reducer in the base. Just allow enough extra time for the basecoat to flash off and dry. The difference between a slow grade and medium grade reducer will show up in the final gloss.

Spray the first coat and let it totally dry before spraying the second coat. It is best to wait 30-45 minutes between coats of base. Always wait 45 minutes between base colors that contain a lot of black pigment.

If your basecoat is not perfect:

After two coats of base the vehicle should sit overnight, and then do any minor wet sanding with 1500 grit sandpaper to remove any orange peel or trash. Apply the next two coats with 45 minutes of flash time in between coats. Some colors will require additional coats. If this is the case always wait 45 minutes between coats.

Let the basecoat sit overnight.

A word of caution: There are 2-4 basecoats types that cannot be sanded, or you will lose adhesion so avoid those basecoats. Check with your basecoat manufacturer.

Clear Option 1: Applying the clear in a single day

The following day tack off the vehicle, then apply a wet coat of SPI Universal Clear and let the first coat of clear sit 30 minutes.

Spray the second wet coat of clear and let it sit 30 minutes. Let the clear sit for 30 minutes before applying each additional coat as well.

DO NOT BAKE! The booth heat can be set at 80°-90° if you wish.

Normally 4-5 coats of clear are applied during this process.

Then proceed with normal wet sanding and buffing when you are ready.

Clear Option 2: Layering multiple coats of clear over multiple days:

Spray 3-4 coats of clear waiting exactly 30 minutes between coats. Do not bake! You can set the booth at 80°-90° and leave it on if you wish. The next day, if possible, let the car sit in the daylight/sun all day regardless of air temperature as all we want is UV light.

The following day or anytime after, wet sand the car with 800 grit and put it back in the sun for at
least a half a day; a full day would be better. Clean the car with 700 waterborne wax and grease
remover. Do it carefully as anything left behind will destroy the paint job. Let it sit 60 minutes
then apply 3-4 more coats of clear waiting 30 minutes in between coats.

DO NOT BAKE! The booth heat can be set at 80°-90° if you wish.

Anytime after the day of last spraying the car give the car one full day in sun. Wet sand the next
day with the grits of your choice, pull the car out for at least a half day in sun then buff it at your

It’s advisable for black, dark blue and dark green paint jobs to have an extra day in the sun with any of the above steps, as blacks dry/release solvents slower and this step will prevent the black from showing fine scratches and it will help you get rid of swirl marks when buffing.

Wait a long time before waxing:

NEVER wax one of these multiple coat jobs for at least six months or you will run the risk of delamination down the road. You can use detail spray to make the bugs wash off easier and to make drying easier as these products are designed to breathe. A breathable pure carnauba wax is also fine.

bottom of page