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Water-Based vs. Solvent-Based Automotive Paint

Water-Based vs Solvent-Based Automotive Paint

Bodywork and paint technology has come a long way in the last 20,40,60 years. Practically all paintwork done is now water based, versus solvent based. Here’s a few pro’s and con’s over them:

Water-Based Automotive Paint:

Environmental Friendliness: Water-based paints are more environmentally friendly as they have lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This means fewer harmful fumes during application.

Health and Safety: Water-based paints are generally safer for both the painters and the environment due to reduced exposure to toxic chemicals.

Drying Time: Water-based paints tend to dry faster than solvent-based paints. This can lead to quicker completion times for paint jobs.

Color Accuracy: Water-based paints often provide better color accuracy, making it easier to achieve consistent and vibrant shades.

Solvent-Based Automotive Paint:

Durability: Solvent-based paints are known for their durability and resistance to various environmental factors, making them a solid choice for long-lasting finishes.

Application Flexibility: Solvent-based paints can be used in a wider range of temperatures and weather conditions, which can be advantageous for certain types of projects.

Coverage and Thickness: Solvent-based paints typically offer greater coverage and the ability to create thicker coats, which can be beneficial for hiding imperfections or creating specific textures.

Potential Health Concerns: Solvent-based paints release higher levels of VOCs, which can contribute to air pollution and health risks for those working with the paint.

Ceramic Coating:

The trendy thing to talk or say is “Ceramic”- but what is this stuff? It seems that practically everything in the automotive world can be enhanced with ceramic…stuff.

Imagine ceramic coating as a super-strong, transparent barrier that bonds chemically with the surface of the paint. It creates a strong, hydrophobic (water-repellent) layer that helps in repelling water, dirt, dust, and even harmful UV rays from the sun. This helps to keep the paint looking glossy and new for a longer time. There are certainly different levels of quality and types, and while some may say it’s good- if it comes in a spray bottle it’s usually not.

Ceramic coating is installed by a quality operator that has thoroughly cleaned and prepped the paint surface beforehand. This is usually called “color correction” where contaminants and swirls are taken off the surface. The ceramic is then applied with an applicator, which then bonds to the paint. While it sounds crazy, this process usually runs in the neighborhood of 800-3500 dollars depending on the damage, level of quality, products used, and the operator who’s doing it.

Color matching:

Paint color isn’t just a superficial layer; it’s a blend of science and art. Every vehicle’s paint is composed of pigments, binders, and solvents meticulously mixed to achieve a specific hue. But colors can change due to factors like sunlight exposure, wear and tear, and the passage of time. That’s where digital paint matching comes into play.

Digital paint matching is a cutting-edge technique that employs technology to recreate the original color of your vehicle with utmost accuracy. Here’s how it works:

Spectral Analysis: To begin, a small sample of your vehicle’s original paint is analyzed using a spectrophotometer. This device measures the wavelengths of light reflected by the paint, providing detailed color data.

Color Database: The collected data is compared to an extensive color database, which includes factory paint formulations. This helps identify the closest match to your vehicle’s original color.

Custom Formulation: If needed, the paint technicians can fine-tune the formula to account for any color discrepancies that might have occurred over the years. This ensures a precise match that’s tailored to your vehicle.

Spray cards: Spray cards are small panels that the paint technician can test the paint that was created before actually painting the vehicle. Sometimes, depending on the complexity of the paint (color/hue/pearlescent types and amount/metallic flake/etc) spray cards take multiple attempts to achieve the desired results.

Spray and Blend: Skilled technicians use advanced paint application techniques to seamlessly blend the new paint with the existing color. This process requires a keen eye and a meticulous hand to ensure a flawless finish.

If you’re interested in getting something fixed on your vehicle regarding bodywork, remember that cheap bodywork isn’t good- and good body work isn’t cheap. An example is the yellow Ford Bronco at the top of this article has nearly $20,000 in paint and body work on it. Quality counts, and quality costs to have flawless paintwork.

Alex Noll

CEO – ABR Houston

Welcome to ABR Houston, the leading European auto repair shop in The Woodlands. With over a decade of experience and a proven history of serving over 10,000 satisfied customers, we have recently relocated our shop to The Woodlands to better serve our valued clients. Our commitment to exceptional service and expertise remains our priority. From routine maintenance to intricate repairs, our dedicated team is determined to keep you confidently on the road. Trust in the experience and reliability of ABR Houston, where customer satisfaction drives our passion for excellence. Your Local Experts for AudiBMWMiniRolls-Royce & Volkswagen Service In The Woodlands.

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