Abrasives, paints, auto body masking tape: what you need for automotive painting
Written by Ionela Stetco
Abrasives are a wide category that includes many different products to prepare the car for paint or smooth the paint itself once applied, enhancing its best properties. One of the most used abrasive in auto body shops is sandpaper, which is employed both in dry sanding and wet sanding.
Dry sanding is one of the most important processes for preparing the car for the application of fillers, primers, paints, or any other coating; the abrasive is spread on the surface with the aid of grinding discs, in order to remove the old materials from the car and optimize the surface for the grip of the next layers.
Wet sanding is a far gentler process that also involves water, in order to keep the sand and the surface wet. During this step, in fact, it is important to minimize the abrasion power of sandpaper to protect the paint from scratches and improve its smoothness.
Paints are, as expected, the most used products in automotive paint. Their application on the auto body usually divides in basecoat and clearcoat, two different stages of the job with different purposes. Basecoat is performed after the application of the primer coat, with the aim to give to the car the desired color; depending on the visual effect wanted, different kind of paints will be employed.
Clearcoat is the final stage of automotive painting, coming just before waxing. Its purpose is mainly protective: the coating covers the paint layer with a glossy and translucent film that resists weather conditions and UV rays.
Today, the most used types of paints can be classified in solvent base paints and water base paints, the latter introduced to reduce the environmental impact of the job.
Auto body masking tape
Auto body masking tape may appear as an optional tool when compared with abrasives and paints. However, this product is essential both in DIY and in professional automotive painting; in addition it is employed in all the stages of the job, protecting the car body from overspray of primers, abrasives and paints. Auto body masking tape is for sure the most versatile and flexible product involved in car paining.
Auto body masking tape is applied on the car to mask off the areas that should not be treated or painted. A good tape should resist the high temperature required during drying cycles, withstand the chemicals in the paint and guarantee perfect adhesion to prevent the paint from bleeding through. Additional qualities include removal without residue, high conformability to fit irregular surfaces, easy and controlled unwind.
Auto body masking tape can be used alone on the surface to protect, or aid the application of other products such as masking paper or films.
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