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Different Types of Car Paint

Posted by Shane Singh at

There are a few key things to understand with automotive paint, we can piece together to help you understand the entire automotive refinish process and hopefully point you in the right direction for what you need for your project.


Similar to building anything, there’s a number of “stages” and in the refinish process they are mainly referred to as “coats”. The preparation of the substrates and surfaces we will cover but for now let’s get a good understanding of the “coats”.


Different paint systems and coating processes will leave you with different results - as we dig deeper into this you will see there are a lot of variables that are at play when it comes to the refinish process.


Surface Preparation - depending on whether or not your project goes down to bare metal will determine the primer to be used. If your project has bare metal in large areas, either an etching primer or epoxy primer will be required. An etching primer coats and adheres to the bare metal substrate but is not sandable or a build coat. An epoxy primer is a great all-rounder, with a good solid build and metal adhesion. 


If you put an etch primer down or don’t need one you can overcoat the old coating with a Primer Filler. This is a nice sandable coating that gives you a good foundation for your project and will seal off the old paint.


What is 1K, 2K also known as single pack or two pack car paint? 

1K Car Paint describes paint that does not require hardener or any form of chemical activation. It’s the most commonly used coating and also referred to as a “clear over base” or “basecoat clearcoat” system.


2K Car Paint - this is a product that has to be mixed with a hardener/activator that causes the paint to harden. A clearcoat that goes over the basecoat/1K paint is a 2K Clearcoat because of the durability, hardness and UV resistance of the coating. 


We hope this gives you a clearer understanding of the different types of automotive paint available!


The best way to breakdown what’s used for what is the following:


Car / Automotive Paint - Basecoat/Clearcoat (Metallic Colours, Pearls, Custom Colours)

Car / Automotive Paint - 2K (Solid Colours e.g. White, Black, Grey)

Industrial - 2K or Enamel (both are single-stage and industrial colours are usually a solid colour)

Marine - 2K

Aircraft - Get in touch with us - we have certified aerospace coating solutions available


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