Is your Paint Technician Over-Looking Proper Solvent Selection?

St. Louis Area Body Shops always have one element to deal with that body shops in other parts of the country do not, the ever changing climate in the Midwest. These variations in temperature/humidity make selecting the correct solvent for your coatings supercritical, yet often overlooked. 

Why does it matter? Let’s look at what reducers do. They thin the paint, act as a carrier to the panel you are painting, and help with final leveling, all very important functions. Reducers are made up of front solvents, middle solvents, and tail solvents. A fast reducer like PPG’s DT870 has more front and mid-solvents. DT870 will have a smaller pattern, skim over on the top first, and appear to dry fast.

A fast solvent while appearing to dry fast can also stay wet underneath causing havoc especially on undercoats like primer-surfacers and sealers. A slower reducer can actually help cure a lot of nagging issues in a paint department.      

Let’s take a look at PPG’s DT895. 

DT895 is a slower solvent that is made up of more middle and tail solvents. This reducer will dry from the bottom out, have a nice large pattern, and do a better job of orienting metallic colors and making your sealer/primer edges melt in much nicer. When a reducer dries from the bottom out it also will make your clearcoats have less of a chance of trapping solvents underneath. 

Trapped solvents in primers/sealers can cause a plethora of issues, like shrinking, edge-mapping, ringing, and scratch-swelling. I know the old thinking is fast reducers are faster. Slow reducers are slow. Not the case in the PPG line. Slower solvents actually perform much better overtime in a body shop. 


Also, don’t look at the temperature outside to match up with reducers. A reducer like DT885 works great for a cool shop, DT895 for general purpose, and DT898 for warm/hot weather.  Even with our Waterborne system, selecting the correct solvent for primers, sealers, and clear coats is equally important. So next time you grab a gallon of reducer, stop, think, and maybe step up one level of reducer. Remember, sometimes slower is faster.