High Performance Finishes
Our High Performance Finish is our highest quality finish, giving your car, truck or motorcycle the deepest, richest color and that eye-popping shine that takes the paint to the next level. When good as new is not good enough, consider our High Performance Finish. After all, doesn’t your project deserve the best?
When you select a High Performance Finish, here is what you get:
Step 0 – Preparing the car
This step is to remove any paint that will affect the application of the new finish and to perform any heavy body repairs that might be needed. Not every car will require this preparation step, so I don’t really consider it part of the 13 steps to a High Performance Finish. Cars that will need this preparation work will have cracking or peeling paint, too much paint already, heavy rusting that must be removed, or substandard body and/or paint work in the past. If the car needs the paint removed, it is removed by Media Blasting, much like sand blasting, but instead of using sand to the remove the old paint, tiny plastic beads do the work with far less potential damage to the car’s metal surface.
Step 1 – Cleaning the surface
Good paint starts with good preparation. For paint to look its best, the surface to be painted must be clean. When I say clean, I don’t mean dusted off clean, I mean squeaky, your mother would be proud, eat off of it clean. Every car gets wiped down several times with a wax and grease remover. If I am not sure it is clean enough, I clean it again. If I am still not sure, I clean it yet again. Only when I am certain the car is clean, does the car move to the next step.
Step 2 – Applying first primer coats
Before the primer coat is applied, the parts of the car that are not to be painted, tires, windows and the like, are covered. All repairs at JMC AutoworX start with an etching primer and epoxy sealer, to protect the metal underneath from damage and corrosion, but for the mirror like shine of the High Performance Finish you must have an ultra-smooth surface underneath. By applying three coats of Evercoat Slick Sand over the epoxy primer, this high solids primer fills in any tiny imperfections in the surface. The High Performance Finish starts right here.
Step 3 – Sanding
After the primer has dried, the car is hand sanded using a technique called Long Blocking, which is nothing more than sanding the car with sticky-back sandpaper attached to long rigid blocks. This is important because the long block ensures there is no waviness introduced to the surface during sanding that will show up later. The primer coat is sanded, and sanded, and sanded until all the imperfections of the body are reveled.
Step 4 – Smoothing and filling
With the exception of Rolls Royce, few cars have perfectly straight bodies, even directly from the factory. As the castings wear during the stamping process, and during assembly, very slight ripples appear in the metal. Most go unnoticed, but careful sighting down the lines of a car will show they do exist. This step fills all those slightly uneven ridges and valleys and makes for a perfectly smooth surface. But in this case, it won’t cost you north of $250,000. Any slight dent repairs and other light metal work is performed now.
Step 5 – Cleaning the surface
The car is again maliciously cleaned of any dust and oils.
Step 6 – Apply second primer coat
Unpainted areas are again covered then an application of a urethane primer covers the coarser, high solids primer used before. As before, the primer is used to allow for good adherence of the final coats and to smooth the body. This primer is finer and allows for a smoother finish.
Step 7 – Sanding, again
After the primer has dried, the car is again hand sanded using the Long Blocking technique, but this time using a finer grade of sandpaper. This further smoothes the surface so that the final painted coat looks its very best.
Step 8 – Cleaning the surface
The car is once again meticulously cleaned of any dust and oils.
Step 9 – Apply urethane sealer
This step seals the substrate, everything applied to this point, from the top coat to ensure the paint has the maximum depth and clarity. Again, the areas not painted are covered to protect them from overspray.
Step 10 – Apply color
The paint in your choice of color is sprayed on the car. All the hard work, all the days sanding, and cleaning, and sanding again, if done right, pay off at this moment with a finish you can be proud of.
Step 11 – Apply clear coat
The final application is the clear coat, used to protect the finish underneath and to provide the gloss.
Step 12 – Wet sanding
Wet sanding, like every sanding step before it, is used to remove imperfections. In this case, the imperfections removed are in the paint, imperfections that prevent the paint from looking its absolute best. Wet sanding is a technique that involves sanding the paint surface with ultra-fine sandpaper while the surface is wet, hence the term wet sand. The water acts as a lubricant that prevents the sandpaper from removing too much paint and it washes away the sanding dust so that the tiny imperfections can be seen. Wet sanding is a tedious, time-consuming and messy job, but it is also the step that brings out the mirror-like gloss of the High Performance Finish.
Step 13 – Polishing
As you can imagine, sanding your car’s paint, no matter how fine the sandpaper, is going to dull the finish. I polish the paint using progressively finer 3M polishing compounds until the fine haze that is left after the wet sand is removed the and the true luster of the paint revealed.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps and a lot of time involved in producing a high quality finish. Where I will spend days hand sanding to get the surface perfect, the preparation steps of an economy paint job involves little more than masking and painting. If you want a finish that is a step above the everyday, I invite you to visit our shop and talk to me; allow me show you what a High Performance Finish looks like. I think you will like what you see.
Want even more? Read about our upgrade to the High Performance Finish below …
I recommend the High Performance Finish for most high end applications as it provides good value for your money. But … if money is no object and you want the very best finish possible, there is a finish beyond the High Performance Finish. Call it the Ultra-High Performance Finish. With this finish the car is prepared in the same manner as the High Performance Finish, but there are additional measures taken between steps 9 and 10 to ensure an even smoother gloss and richer color. Call them steps 9a, 9b and 9c.
Step 9a is where the car is painted, not with the color of your choice, but in a gloss black. The gloss black will reveal any tiny imperfection, if they exist, so the imperfections can be corrected. While the black paint will reveal imperfections that are invisible any other way, the most important benefit it provides is a super smooth base for the paint that follows.
Step 9b is, as you might guess, more sanding. But because we are sanding a finish coat paint, it can be sanded ultra-smooth, smoother than primer ever could. By laying down this extra smooth layer, the following layers of paint begin smoother and can be finished smoother than possible when painting directly over primer.
Step 9c is cleaning, removing the dust created from the sanding in step 9b. Now the car has a mirror like smoothness, a base that is itself a High Performance Finish, which allows the paint that follows to have an even smoother finish after sanding and polishing. A finish that goes beyond the High Performance Finish to become the Ultra-High Performance Finish.
Unless you never intend to drive the car I don’t recommend this upgraded finish. This finish is so smooth that driving the car will mar the finish … simply dragging your fingers across the paint will leave marks. So unless your car is going to be a trailer queen, never taken out and driven, stick with the High Performance Finish. But if you want the best … JMC AutoworX offers a finish to suit your needs.