Single Stage Urethane Paint Tips

Written by samantha volz
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Single Stage Urethane Paint Tips
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Car repair and maintenance is often the work of professionals in the field, but those who work on their own cars may decide to do simple paint touch-ups and repairs themselves. Some do-it-yourselfers turn to single-stage urethane paint, which can cover repair work and fill in faded colour on your car.

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Proper surface preparation can make the biggest difference between an effective paint job and a mess. Urethane paint applied to an unclean or uneven surface can dry unevenly, resulting in bumps, fish eyes and other unsightly problems.

Clean the area you will paint with a solvent cleaner, such as a grease or wax remover. You can find cleaners specifically designed to clean car panels and other such metals at automotive supply stores. These cleaners will remove dirt, dust, wax, grease and other contaminants that can ruin the way the urethane sticks to your car.

Sand the cleaned area with 150-grit sandpaper and then with 320-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper will roughen the surface slightly, making it more accepting of paint. Wash the area again to remove sanding dust.

Depending on your urethane product, you may need to apply a primer. Paints adhere better to primers than to bare metal alone.


Follow all specific product instructions regarding mixing your single-stage urethane paint, as some paint products may require different mixture ratios than others. However, most paint products will require a number of additives for ideal adhesion.

Most paint products require you to mix both activator (also called hardener) and reducer into the paint mix before applying. These additives create the desired paint consistency for your car for optimal paint bonding. The reducer can also help your paint flow more freely through your spray gun.

Many single-stage paint kits come with a variety of reducers. Study each option; generally, the reducers work best in different temperatures.

Some kits come with optional additives, such as fish-eye eliminator or accelerator, which can help you lay flat layers of paint onto the surface. Read all instructions and usage details for these additives to determine if you need to use them.

Do not mix your paint products until you have prepared the surface. Most paints have only a two-to-three-hour pot life, meaning that they will harden or dry within the pot at that time. You must use your mixed paint before the pot life runs out.


The application rate for your urethane paint will vary depending on the colour of your car. In general, the car will require two to three coats of paint to match your desired colour.

Allow each coat to dry for 15 minutes between coat applications so that you can see what the paint looks like dry. This will help you to determine if you need another coat.

Practice with the paint sprayer before you turn it on your car so that you can get smooth, even layers of paint over the entire surface.

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