Macy’s Garage
© 2018-2021 - Macy’s Garage, Ltd.

Paint Cost

By Richard Lentinello

Editor and Publisher, CRANKSHAFT Magazine Life-Long Car Guy and Avid Triumph Collector Originally published in Hemmings Motor News, October 2012 Reprinted with permission The single most expensive stage of a car’s restoration is the refinishing of the body. The amount of time that goes into creating a show-quality finish is simply astonishing; it’s one of those undertakings that unless you’ve done it yourself you have no idea what’s involved. So it should be no surprise then that few car owners truly realize what an intense, laborious process it really is, and why a high quality paint finish costs so much. Another contributing factor to the high cost of a quality repaint is the price of the refinishing supplies. Paint today is very expensive due to all the strict EPA guidelines that the paint manufacturers have to abide by, which in turn has made quality autobody paint very expensive to produce. Some pigments, especially those such as reds, oranges and yellows, can drive up the cost of a single gallon of autobody paint to well over $1000; some of the top quality paints that feature the absolute best natural pigments can easily cost over $1,500 per gallon. Metallic paint, and custom mixed candies and pearls, cost even more than straight solid colors do; sometimes double or triple the price. Primers too, such as durable epoxies and zinc chromate primers, generally cost over $100 per gallon as well, but when you add in the price of the reducer (specially formulated paint thinner) and catalyst (the additive that makes the primer harden), then the cost climbs to $200 or more for that same single gallon of primer. Then factor in close to that same amount for all the other various primers, sealers and surfacers that are needed, and before you know it the bill is closing in on another $1,000. Once the price of the final color topcoat is added, it’s very easy to be charged $2,000 to $3,000 just for paint supplies alone for a small car. And if the car being painted is a large ‘30s or ‘40s-era sedan, a long station wagon or simply a full-size car from the ‘50s and ‘60s, then two or three gallons of color will most certainly be needed, and that adds considerably to the final cost. The type of paint you chose will also greatly affect the overall costs. Single-stage acrylic enamel is the cheapest to buy, and because it doesn’t take much work to apply the three or four coats that are needed, overall labor cost is reduced slightly. Urethane enamels that are of the basecoat/clearcoat variety require the most work due to their multiple step process. And when you factor in the added cost of the clear and its catalyst, expect to pay several hundred dollars more for supplies than if you had chosen a straight acrylic enamel finish. Yet the biggest expense in creating a flawless, show-quality exterior finish lies in all the extensive hand labor involved that’s required in getting it to the level so it’s as perfect as it can be. You see, once the many layers of primers are applied then the entire body has to be block sanded by hand to get rid of all the minor imperfections and smooth out all the tiny sand scratches so they won’t show through the color top coats. As you can imagine, this is a very painstaking process, which depending on the size of the vehicle being painted, can take several days or weeks to complete. Because every painter has their own method of painting, there is no singular, definite way to achieving a quality finish. Yet the one essential step that every painter simply cannot do without is the wet sanding process of the color and/or clear coats. This step is far more labor intensive than the sanding of the primer because the entire painted body needs to be hand sanded several times using a succession of various fine sanding papers (from smooth to ultra smooth) that is used with water - hence the term “wet sanding” – and a hand-held sanding block. The reason the wet sanding step is essential is that it removes all traces of orange peel, which is a slight roughness of newly applied paint. Once the new paint is sanded to a flat dull finish, then it has to be carefully polished to bring out the shine, which takes another two or three days to complete. Only then will the new, silky smooth paint shine like glass without showing any distortions in the reflections. As they say, time costs money. And in creating a show-quality paint finish, hundreds of hours of labor is involved.
America’s BEST Triumph Shop
PAINT COST
Macy’s Garage
© 2018-2021 - Macy’s Garage, Ltd.

Paint Cost

By Richard Lentinello

Editor and Publisher, CRANKSHAFT Magazine Life-Long Car Guy and Avid Triumph Collector Originally published in Hemmings Motor News, October 2012 Reprinted with permission The single most expensive stage of a car’s restoration is the refinishing of the body. The amount of time that goes into creating a show-quality finish is simply astonishing; it’s one of those undertakings that unless you’ve done it yourself you have no idea what’s involved. So it should be no surprise then that few car owners truly realize what an intense, laborious process it really is, and why a high quality paint finish costs so much. Another contributing factor to the high cost of a quality repaint is the price of the refinishing supplies. Paint today is very expensive due to all the strict EPA guidelines that the paint manufacturers have to abide by, which in turn has made quality autobody paint very expensive to produce. Some pigments, especially those such as reds, oranges and yellows, can drive up the cost of a single gallon of autobody paint to well over $1000; some of the top quality paints that feature the absolute best natural pigments can easily cost over $1,500 per gallon. Metallic paint, and custom mixed candies and pearls, cost even more than straight solid colors do; sometimes double or triple the price. Primers too, such as durable epoxies and zinc chromate primers, generally cost over $100 per gallon as well, but when you add in the price of the reducer (specially formulated paint thinner) and catalyst (the additive that makes the primer harden), then the cost climbs to $200 or more for that same single gallon of primer. Then factor in close to that same amount for all the other various primers, sealers and surfacers that are needed, and before you know it the bill is closing in on another $1,000. Once the price of the final color topcoat is added, it’s very easy to be charged $2,000 to $3,000 just for paint supplies alone for a small car. And if the car being painted is a large ‘30s or ‘40s-era sedan, a long station wagon or simply a full-size car from the ‘50s and ‘60s, then two or three gallons of color will most certainly be needed, and that adds considerably to the final cost. The type of paint you chose will also greatly affect the overall costs. Single-stage acrylic enamel is the cheapest to buy, and because it doesn’t take much work to apply the three or four coats that are needed, overall labor cost is reduced slightly. Urethane enamels that are of the basecoat/clearcoat variety require the most work due to their multiple step process. And when you factor in the added cost of the clear and its catalyst, expect to pay several hundred dollars more for supplies than if you had chosen a straight acrylic enamel finish. Yet the biggest expense in creating a flawless, show-quality exterior finish lies in all the extensive hand labor involved that’s required in getting it to the level so it’s as perfect as it can be. You see, once the many layers of primers are applied then the entire body has to be block sanded by hand to get rid of all the minor imperfections and smooth out all the tiny sand scratches so they won’t show through the color top coats. As you can imagine, this is a very painstaking process, which depending on the size of the vehicle being painted, can take several days or weeks to complete. Because every painter has their own method of painting, there is no singular, definite way to achieving a quality finish. Yet the one essential step that every painter simply cannot do without is the wet sanding process of the color and/or clear coats. This step is far more labor intensive than the sanding of the primer because the entire painted body needs to be hand sanded several times using a succession of various fine sanding papers (from smooth to ultra smooth) that is used with water - hence the term “wet sanding” – and a hand-held sanding block. The reason the wet sanding step is essential is that it removes all traces of orange peel, which is a slight roughness of newly applied paint. Once the new paint is sanded to a flat dull finish, then it has to be carefully polished to bring out the shine, which takes another two or three days to complete. Only then will the new, silky smooth paint shine like glass without showing any distortions in the reflections. As they say, time costs money. And in creating a show- quality paint finish, hundreds of hours of labor is involved.
America’s BEST Triumph Shop