With the rise in cost of paints, coatings, and associated products it not unusual for hobbyists to look for any way they can to make their consumable items like paints and primers go further. We often get asked in our Tech Department if paint and primer can be thinned to make it “last longer”. This is a loaded question and we like to go over the possible scenarios.
Thinning paint is possible if you use the appropriate thinner or reducer for your paint. You will want to match the needle-nozzle setup on your paint gun to get the best finish when done. Reducing paint will use less paint but remember it may also mean that you will use a reducer or thinner to do so. So if you’re simply trying to save money the extra cost of reducer or thinner may negate the money saved by making the paint go further.
Also realize that if your paint is thinned out too far it won’t cover as well and will take more coats. Ideally 2-4 coats of paint is enough to cover when using a base coat – clear coat system but if you thin the paint out too much it could require as much as 5-10 coats to get the same coverage! In the end the most important thing is that the paint covers well and lays out nicely. We suggest laying out a few test panels and play with the mixture and consistency of your paint to get the best results. You’ll find a light reduction in paint will help flow out and will also save a little paint. Most over-all paint jobs on a medium sized car will take 1-2 gallons of paint. The amount used will vary on if you’re doing the inside of the car, jambs, under hood, etc.
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