Important Tips on Do-It-Yourself Paint Jobs

Body Shops in the St. Louis Metro Area thrive on collision-type repair work. Most of these shops rarely or never will take on an overall paint job, let alone something on a classic car. That leaves you the classic car owner a couple of choices. 

First, you can take your baby to a specialized restoration facility and get an incredible quality, full-detail restoration, and that COULD cost you the same amount as a small mortgage. 

Second, IF you know a bodyman/painter that does some stuff at home he/she could offer the expert skills with a lower price tag, but if you do not know someone in a shop that could be difficult. 

Your last option is to do it yourself. No matter which option you choose, the most important thing is to partner up with an experienced paint jobber like Cooper Color, who has experts in-house to get you the right equipment, supplies, processes, and products for your do-it-yourself paint job. Having someone to call with expert knowledge is invaluable throughout the process. 

Stay away from mail order/internet paint suppliers, and stay away from the value brand mobile warehouses that pass their product off as “premium” and do not offer support. Cooper Color strictly sells PPG Coatings, the leader in custom and hot rod finishes. PPG has many different options for Primers, Sealers, Topcoats, and offer different ranges in value to meet the individual’s cost needs. Also, Cooper Color is a one-stop shop for all of the supplies you’ll need, like tape, plastic, sandpapers, fillers, and even the correct spray guns for whatever coatings you use. 

Five important tips on doing a garage/home paint job that will help make the end result the best possible: 

  1. Air Compressor and Dryer Setup: You’ll need at least a 220 volt 5 horsepower compressor that moves at minimum 12 cfm., 110 volt compressors won’t cut it. A dryer to remove moisture/oil is a must. Look at cfm on an air compressor before horsepower rating. 
  2. Environment: Here is where it could get tricky. Always check with local municipality regulations in your neighborhood before painting anything. If it is feasible make sure you spray in a detached garage with ventilation, Remember, isocyanate coatings are toxic and dangerous. A friend with a spray booth is nice too! Respirators, eye safety, and gloves are a must. 
  3. Follow Directions: PPG has product data sheets for every product. Read them thoroughly. Don’t try to be a chemist. Go by the book as far as mixing ratios and flash times. 
  4. Know your limits, and choose your topcoats based on that: If you are a first timer doing a paint job in your garage, I wouldn’t try a way-out custom color, tri-coat-pearl, or candy color. If you have a solid color planned why not use a high quality single-stage topcoat like PPG’s Concept or Delfleet Essential that catalyzes directly and does not require a clear coat? They have amazing gloss and are more forgiving for a novice bodyman/painter. This step is where it is important to have a knowledgeable jobber like Cooper Color. 
  5. Slow, Slow, Slow: The most important step is to not be in a hurry. Choose slow reducer/hardeners for your primers/sealers/colors/clear coats. Wait the necessary time between coats. The slower the solvents, the better the product will spray, look, and perform. Do not hurry up and mask/paint at 8:00 pm after a long day of sanding. Start fresh after a good night’s rest. 

Painting a car yourself is a very rewarding experience you can be proud of. Make it fun. Get friends involved. Ask for tips from people you might know who do it professionally. Having the correct products and support is half the battle, and nobody is better than PPG and Cooper Color.