Monitoring paint material costs can be tricky. Not only are there a lot of variables, but contrary to popular belief the most profitable painter is not always the one that is using less material.
I was reviewing some paint costs and comparing usages for a small MSO when I found an issue between sealer and basecoat. As I was comparing the shops, I found one shop was very low in sealer use but really high in basecoat usage. When I brought this up to the painter, he said his “experience tells [him] when [he] needs to seal something.” While I value experience, it’s important to continue learning about the trade to stay consistent with process changes. With an increased use of transparent coatings by manufacturers, the painting process has shifted away from this painter’s process.
In the current BASF Fundamental Refinishing Concepts, sealer requirements are mentioned in a couple of areas. The first is in reference to warranty requirements when applying basecoat over OEM e-coating or when refinishing aftermarket parts.
As you can see, applying sealer is necessary not only to meet Glasurit and R-M warranty requirements, but to meet OEM specifications too.
The second instance is in reference to ground coats and the one most often overlooked. The statement below describes how the painting process has changed as manufacturers are creating more dynamic colors.
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While some ground coats are created using a derivative of the basecoat, others are created using tinted sealers. The area to focus on here is the second use of ground coats mentioned in the statement above. These ground coats are created using tinted sealers that range from white to black and are dependent on the basecoat color. That paragraph states, “The use of the required ground coat color is required to achieve color match of translucent colors and cannot be achieved with additional coats of basecoat only.” This is why the low use of sealer and high use of basecoat during my review raised a red flag. While checking to validate my red flag, it was found that some colors required a ground coat to achieve the proper color-match and excessive basecoat was mixed to recreate the OEM finish. Over-applying basecoat to achieve color-match is waste — with the use of the correct ground coat it can be eliminated.