Eastwood DIY Auto Painting FAQ’s

Painting a car on your own can be a scary task and can certainly get expensive quick if you aren’t properly prepared to tackle the job yourself. Our tech team gets calls, emails, and chats daily from weekend warriors painting their cars at home and we have compiled our most common questions below.

(Q) Can I use Eastwood Automotive Paint over any primer?
(A) While Eastwood’s single-stage urethane paint is designed for use in conjunction with our Epoxy Primer and 2K Urethane Primer systems, you can use our paint over most other manufacturer’s primers. This includes Epoxy Primer, 2K Urethane Primer, Wash/Etch Primer, Enamel Primer, etc.

(Q) Do I have to apply a primer before using this paint?
(A) Primers have many features, not the least of which is that they provide much better adhesion to bare metal than paint. They also can aid in corrosion protection/prevention. High-build primers like Eastwood’s 2K Urethane Primer fill quickly and help conceal surface imperfections. That said, it is possible to just “scuff and shoot” if the existing finish is in good shape (no peeling, flaking, rust or other obvious issues). This means Eastwood’s Single-Stage Urethane paint may be applied over properly cleaned, abraded and prepped factory finishes.

(Q) How is this paint different from basecoat/clearcoats I’ve used in the past?
(A) Eastwood created this paint system as a single-stage paint, which means you don’t need to apply a separate clearcoat, though you have the option of doing so. We think this provides additional flexibility for a variety of situations.
NOTE: Gasser Green Metallic and Malibu Sunset Orange Metallic are both made with exceptionally coarse aluminum flakes, which makes these colors difficult to shoot in single-stage applications. Plan on using clearcoat when shooting these two colors.

(Q) Can I mix clearcoat into the paint?
(A) Yes. In fact, this is an old trick that a lot of single-stage painters use to save time and avoid shooting a separate clearcoat once the color has finished setting up. Adding clear into the final coat or two of color will significantly increase the gloss and provide increased durability. Doing so also makes color sanding of metallics easier. Any amount of Eastwood’s 2:1 European Clear may be mixed into the single-stage paint, as they are completely compatible. Just make sure to mix both the paint and the clear with their own activators, at the correct mix ratios, before blending the two systems together.

Q) Should I add reducer to this paint?
(A) Eastwood’s single-stage urethane paint mixes 3:1 with our Urethane Activator. No reduction is required. In most cases, adding a reducer will cause this paint to run; in some situations, experienced painters may chose to add a little for improved flow (must be high-quality urethane-grade reducer).

(Q) How many coats should I apply?
(A) That really depends on a few variables. This paint is designed to provide a sufficient dried film thickness (2 mils) in two to three coats; however that may not always be enough for proper coverage. Keep in mind that solid colors tend to cover with fewer coats. Pearls and metallic colors may take an additional coat or two. Also worth considering: What color is the primer? Are you painting over “patchwork” (patchwork means there’s some factory finish, some new primer, some Bondo)? Generally, we advise shooting two to three medium wet coats, with at least 10 minutes flash time in between each. With metallic colors, a final “fog coat” may be applied to help set an even pattern/flake orientation.

(Q) How long do I have to clearcoat, or put more paint on?
(A) This is a urethane topcoat system, which means you have 18 hours before it reaches full cure. You can add a clearcoat, or another coat of paint, anytime after the previous coat has flashed (10-15 minutes) or before 18 hours. After those 18 hours have passed, you’ll need to abrade the surface (minimum of 400-grit) before topcoating for adhesion purposes.

(Q) How much paint will I need?
(A) That depends on the vehicle you’re painting, the color you’ve chosen, whether you’ll be using a primer, etc. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest a one-gallon setup is enough material to paint a standard-sized sedan. On larger projects, or projects where you plan to shoot the firewall, under the trunk deck, under the hood, jambs, etc., we suggest two setups or more.

(Q) If I order multiple gallons, will my paint match?
(A) Eastwood’s Single-Stage Urethane Paint is formulated in large batches, which helps ensure consistency from one gallon to the next. However, it is possible to receive two gallons from different batches (especially when ordering a second gallon at a later date). You can easily check to see if your gallons are from the same batch: look for the five-digit number on the left side of the white sticker found on the lid of the can. If you do find the gallons are from different batches, we suggest blending the materials together in a large pail, then pouring back into the gallon containers. This ensures one consistent color in all cans.

(Q) How come my Rat Rod Black dries like a semi-gloss instead of a satin?
(A) This is a high-build product that is formulated to give complete coverage and a full film thickness in two coats. Additional coats, or excessively wet coats, will lead to a higher gloss in the finish. If results are still too glossy, try shooting one light “tack” coat, followed by a medium wet coat. Additionally, you may try to shoot this satin paint “on the dry side” with adjustments to air pressure and fluid control at the gun. It’s important to make sure this material is properly mixed prior to use. Because flatting agents tend to settle out of suspension over time, Eastwood suggests placing the can on a shaker for a few minutes before opening, then mix thoroughly with a stir stick, taking care to pull up material from the bottom of the can and mix it back into solution.

(Q) How come my Rat Rod Black doesn’t seem to flow out right?
(A) Because of the high-solids content required by the resins that make this a satin finish, you may have to make some adjustments to the gun and/or your application technique. You might also find that adding a little urethane-grade reducer will significantly improve flow and leveling, resulting in a smooth finish with much less orange peel.

(Q) Can I apply the 2K Urethane Primer Surfacer over bare metal?
(A) Yes, this primer may actually be applied over properly prepared (cleaned, abraded) bare metal. If, however, there’s considerable body work, or if the metal is pitted from sandblasting, we suggest applying the 2K Urethane Primer over one or two coats of Eastwood Epoxy Primer.

(Q) Do I have to sand the 2K Urethane Primer Surfacer?
(A) While this primer is super easy to sand smooth, you may shoot the Single-Stage Urethane Paint over it in a “wet on wet” application. That means the paint may be applied over fresh primer that has still not cured. Just wait until the primer has flashed before applying paint. Doing this provides superior inter-coat adhesion, with a chemical bond holding the primer and paint together, as opposed to a mechanical bond resulting from scuff sanding.

(Q) Can I apply the Eastwood Epoxy Primer over bare metal?
(A) Yes. Epoxy Primer is a great choice for bare metal and a lot of other substrates, providing exceptional adhesion. Eastwood’s 2-part epoxy can be applied over steel, fiberglass, body fillers, existing finishes and even aluminum (though you should first use an etching solvent to treat the metal).

(Q) Do I have to sand Epoxy Primer before topcoating?
(A) No, epoxy may be topcoated without sanding up to four or five days. After that point, you’ll need to abrade the surface.

(Q) Can I sand this Epoxy Primer?
(A) Yes. If you wait about two or three days, you can sand this primer. If sandpaper balls up, turns gummy, or develops hard spots, you might want to wait longer, increase the temperature where the vehicle is being stored, or try wet sanding.

(Q) Can I reduce this Epoxy Primer?
(A) You may reduce this system beyond the 1:1 mix ratio. Doing so will reduce the dried film build, a common practice when using the epoxy only as a sealer over bare metal, existing finishes, etc. However, adding reducer will change the ready-to-spray VOC and may take this system out of compliance, depending on your area and local regulations.

(Q) Do your products have a shelf life?
(A) This depends on the product in question. Certain items, such as activators and hardeners, are susceptible to environmental conditions such as heat and humidity. Excessive exposure to moisture can quickly spoil these products. Paint, primers and clears, in general, should be used within 2 years.

(Q) What’s the best way to care for my finish after painting?
(A) You should try to keep the finish clean using detergent wash products designed for automotive uses, while minimizing exposure to harsh environmental conditions such as excessive UV and acid rain, among others. Regular waxing will also help maintain your finish for years to come. On fresh paint, wait a minimum of two weeks before waxing; if it’s stored in a cold garage, the longer you wait, the better.

(Q) What does “recoat window” mean?
(A) The term “recoat window” refers to a period during which a specific paint material may be topcoated with no additional surface preparation required. The result is a chemical bond between the two materials. After the recoat window has closed, the coating will need to be abraded before it can be topcoated. This allows for a mechanical bond between the two materials. Recoat windows vary, and change with each system and according to the specific conditions. Always check the mixing and application instructions for the specific material in question.

(Q) What air pressure and tip size should I use?
(A) Different systems require different gun setups. We suggest you check the Product Information Sheet for the specific paint, primer or clear system you plan to use, which will indicate the correct gun setup information.

(Q) Can I use Eastwood Urethane Clear over other paint systems?
(A) Absolutely. Substituting this clear in other manufacturer’s basecoat/clearcoat systems is a great money-saving alternative. Just be sure to use Eastwood’s 2:1 Clear Activator and follow the other manufacturer’s recommendations for prepping their basecoat material.

(Q) How does Eastwood Urethane Clear compare with more expensive clears?
(A) We think you’ll find this clear is as easy to use, if not easier, and performs just as well, if not better, than most other clears available from the big manufacturers. It features premium European resins than make it very easy to apply, with exceptional flow and leveling characteristics. Those same long-lasting resins also provide exceptional buff-ability, which means you’ll be able to sand and polish this clear for a spectacular show-car-quality shine, even days after application.

(Q) What kind of UV protection does this Eastwood Urethane Clear provide?
(A) There are basically two ways a clear “shields” harmful UV rays. The first protects the pigments within the color beneath the clear from fading, or shifting. The second protects the clear itself. You’ll find Eastwood’s 2:1 European Clear holds up just as long in direct sunlight as comparable clearcoats you’ve used in the past.

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