Paint Preparation or “Prep” Work

Paint Preparation or “Prep” Work

OK, bodywork done, then you paint it. Right? Is that with a roller or a brush?

Well, not so fast. Actually, the paint is applied with a spray gun (HVLP, or high volume – low pressure), but the application of paint is probably the easiest part. Preparing the surfaces for refinishing is absolutely, positively critical.

Clean and smooth, smooth and clean – a good paint department’s mantra. Keeping a surface clean during the collision repair process is a must. Collex’s paint department uses the proper wax and grease removers, solvents and cleansers to keep the portions of the vehicle to be painted clean throughout the entire process. Even during the many phases of sanding, a surface is cleaned before and after. For the “smooth” mentioned above, this requires sanding – and several iterations of sanding. Our technicians sand with a machine, with a block or by hand. Each type of sanding is followed by a finer grade of sandpaper to get the surface to the desired, jewelers smoothness.

For brand new parts with bare metal or plastic, or for areas that have had bodywork performed on them, the surface will require coats of a primer-surfacer, an initial layer of paint that helps seal the surface and offers an excellent means for smoothing out the panel. Once the primer is dry, the area will need to be sanded again. Although this portion of the repair process is labor intensive and time consuming, it really is critical: as our technicians proceed through this process, potential problems can be more readily identified.

Again, the focus is clean and smooth. Overspray, or paint that has made its way to other parts of the car, is unacceptable. To make sure this doesn’t happen, paper is taped and applied to the vehicle to prevent the tiny air-borne particles of paint from going anywhere other than on the surface it is intended for.

Once the prep work is complete, the vehicle or parts to be sprayed are brought into one of our two paint booths for the next phase of repair: the application of color and clear coat.