Should I use Clear Coat over Black Stripes and other Flat Paint?

Tags: Clearcoat · Paint Additives · Specialty Paint

Be Sociable, Share! stripes on vehicles today are decals. They are applied after the car is painted and made out of a vinyl material that is really a pain in the neck to work with unless you have had some practice.

On older vehicles these stripes are painted on with a flat paint and normally they are not protected with a clear coat but this is not to say you can’t use clear over flat paint.

Obviously if you used standard clear coat paint over flat paint it would look glossy and this is not what you want.


So how can you retain the flat finish while still protecting your work?

You have two choices…

You can use a flat clear coat that is formulated to dry flat or you can use your standard gloss clear and add a flattening agent that will cause the glossy paint to dry flat.

If you can obtain a quart of flat clear from the same manufacturer this is probably your best bet however if you are in a pinch most auto body supply stores will have flattening agent available for acrylic and urethane paints.

If you decide to use the flattening agent you should practice your mixing for best results. This product normally comes in a quart container or smaller and is used sparingly but how much you use depends on how glossy you want the end product to be.

You can also use this flattening agent in a single stage paint to flatten a black paint that is used for suspension and firewall / engine compartments of classic cars.

Flattening Agent is Universal as long as you get it for the right paint type Acrylic or Urethane.

The other additives that you add to your paint can effect the gloss of the paint including the hardener.

I have actually seen some manufacturers provide hardeners with a flattening agent in it but that is not a common thing.

Read the directions closely and they will tell you the amount of product it takes to get a totally flat paint or a semi gloss.

Paint a test panel on a primered and painted surface and allow it to dry until all solvents have flashed. At least 4 hours unless you are force drying the paint. It is good to do your test the day before you use this product for the first time.

A final trick that you should know is that most stripes that are painted are finished before the body of the vehicle is painted.

There are two reasons to do your stripes first. One you have less area to mask off and two when you pull the tape after the main body paint has cured it will flow out very slightly on to the edge of the stripe and reduce the edge that often occurs.

It is also important that you have similar numbers of layers of full coats when you are painting stripes or other large color changes with taped lines.. this is to reduce edges. If you expect to paint 4 full coats of body paint with 3 top coats of clear then paint your stripes the same way.


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