Do you really need a spraybooth?

  • How would you like your car painted? Outside or in a spraybooth? You decide
Do you really need a spraybooth to get a perfect finish?

A spraybooth is a dedicated area for paint spraying that provides a clean and filtered environment while preventing paint fumes from escaping and contaminating the lungs of anyone in the workshop. They cost thousands of pounds and are something you will find in every bodyshop you visit, and yet not one “man in a van” mobile repairer has one. So while you need one from a health and safety point of view, do you really need a spraybooth to get a perfect finish?

What follows is a post I found on LinkedIn by PG Distributors, a Midlands based supplier of paint and other products to bodyshops. It consists of pretty standard advice on how to ensure your paintwork is perfect and free of defects.

My question is, if this is what can go wrong in the clean, temperature controlled environment of a spraybooth, how can you paint a car outside on a drive and hope to get a good finish? Oh yeah, that’s right. You can’t.

 

There are several main areas in the refinishing process where pitfalls can trip up refinishers and cause paint defects.

Cleaning
The first step of the repair process is arguably the most important in the perfect repair. It is at this stage where many paint defects are born, including blistering, lifting and peeling. Thankfully, preventing these defects is simple: proper substrate cleaning. Refinishers must ensure the surface is cleaned and de-greased completely with the right products; paint application should be carried out as soon as the substrate has been cleaned.

How clean can it be if there is dust or fumes in the air?

Surface preparation
A multitude of defects can be triggered if the surface of the repair is not prepared properly. Areas here to watch out for include not sanding the repair area enough or using the incorrect grade of sand-paper. Similarly not completing the undercoat process correctly or not allowing the undercoat to dry thoroughly will lead to many common paint defects.

If you can’t control the temperature or get the base panel warm enough, how do you know your primer is cured enough?

Application
Training is key for this stage of the repair, and there are many obvious mistakes that can happen in the spraybooth that can lead to costly defects in the finish. The basic spraygun set-up is the first thing to check. Once the application is underway, refinishers must ensure they position themselves the correct distance from the panel, apply the right number of coats, and demonstrate the relevant spraying technique for the job. Coats that are too thick, that have not had enough film build or that have not been allowed to flash-off for the correct amount of time will always cause defects.

Drying
This stage seems straightforward enough, but it is one where defects can be introduced too. The temperature of the baking cycle must be calculated according to the technical data sheet instructions – not too high and not too low but also the recommended length of time for the activator used. It is also important to respect flash-off times after the last coat was applied.

I have no idea how you can accurately control the outside air temperature. If I could, it would always be Summer

Equipment
Even if all the steps in the process are carried out flawlessly, defects can still appear. Bodyshop equipment is often the culprit, so it is very important it is maintained regularly and working perfectly. Items that can be particularly problematic include filters, pipelines and sprayguns.

All things that easily get dirty and can contaminate your paintwork. They’re even harder to maintain if you work outside.

Environment
In addition to the equipment posing problems, the general environment also plays a role in causing paint defects. The humidity level is a key point that refinishers should be aware of, as well as the bodyshop temperature. In some cases the overall pollution level due to the bodyshop’s proximity to factories, for example, can impact a repair

Hmm. The “general environment”. Does that mean, like, the outside? I guess it does. Oops.

If I’ve given you the impression that I don’t like painting cars outside, well you’re right. It takes a lot of skill and experience to produce great paintwork but if you can’t keep what you are spraying clean you’ve got no chance.

Posted in accident repairs, car body repairs, car spraying, How we repair cars.

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