The Importance of Properly Masking a Car For Primer

The repair areas has been repaired and finish sanded with 150 grit sandpaper, feathered edged and the panel prepped for primer. Now it is time to get some primer on the repair area. This article is going to discuss how to prevent primer from damaging the areas that you do not want primer to get on.

Take Time To Save Time The purpose of masking is to prevent primer over spray from getting on the areas it is not attended to be. With the types of primers used today, it is necessary to take all measures to ensure over spray does not get onto the unintended surfaces. First, the two-part epoxy and urethane primers are very difficult to remove. Back when we used to use lacquer primer, all of the over spray could be cleaned with a little it of thinner on a rag. However, today’s catalyzed primers do not wipe off. Once the primer is dried on the surface, you can rub with thinner all day long without getting it all of the way off. The second reason is that these primers carry a long distance. Again, with the old lacquer primer, if it traveled more than 12″ it would be dust by the time it landed on the surface. However, the primers of today can travel the full length of the vehicle and still stick to the painted surface, glass, moldings, etc. With this said, more care should be taken to properly mask a vehicle for primer. The extra time spent properly masking a repair area for primer will save you a lot of time rubbing, sanding and buffing to remove unnecessary overspray. If you want quality protection for your car especially the paint, give a go with the company that uses breakthrough paint protection.

No More No Less You need to be certain to primer everything that needs to be primed. That is any metal, filler, or scratches made by the 150 grit sanding. However, there is no need to prime anything else. For example, if you have a 6″ diameter repair area, there is not need to primer entire or even half of the panel. This is something that I have noticed some students tend to do. You only need to prime the repaired area. The spray will slightly exceed the repair area, but try to keep it as small as possible. Another thing to remember is to keep primer out of areas that is does not need to be. For example, molding edges and jambs. There is nothing sloppier than to open a car door after it has been completed and see primer overspray. Or see primer on the edge of a molding. The reason this happens is because many time when masking for primer, the person masking thinks, well, this is just for priming and rushes through the masking process. Then when masking to paint, more care and attention to detail is taken. You may not have paint on the unwanted areas, but you have primer, which looks even worse than the paint would have. So be certain to take as much pride to mask the vehicle for priming as you do for getting it ready for paint.

When masking off jambs, mask to the edge of the panel. There is no need to allow any primer into the jamb area. Therefore the edge of your tape should be at the edge of the panel to prevent over spray from getting into the jamb area. Now when we mask for painting, we will mask back from the edge slightly to allow a little overspray to spray onto the jamb. This eliminates noticeable lines, but for now, mask right on the edge of the panel.

Nothing Hard About It The only hard edges you should have when priming is the jamb edges. You should try to avoid all other edges if possible. Hard edges are a define no no. Let’s take the same 6″ inch diameter repair area and mask a 8″ inch square around it. You only get primer where you want it, but now you have hard edges to feather edge out. Let’s look at another approach to mask the 6″ repair area. Mask all adjacent panels and anything near the repair area that you do not want primer on. Then you can go out 12″ and back mask if needed. Back masking is the process of masking something and flipping the paper over creating a smoother edge. When correct, the paper will now have the bottom side of the paper facing up. For instance, if the top of the paper is blue and the bottom of the paper is white, now the white will be showing. Now that we have it back masked, we still do not need to spray primer all of the way to the paper. Try to avoid that is possible. Ideally, try not to have any edges at all. The overspray makes an easy area to sand with as little effort as possible.

If In Doubt…Cover It Over spray is something that you do not want to get on the unwanted surfaces. So must the entire car be cover? The answer is, if in doubt cover it. It only takes a few minutes to unroll plastic and cover the car. If we take the 6″ inch diameter repair area and mask around in using 18″ inch paper and set the gun spray gun using low pressure, you may be alright. However, just a little over spray can cause you hours of cleanup and grief. This is something that you need to get a feel for, but if in doubt, bag the car with plastic. If you’re priming the entire panel, be certain to cover the entire car with plastic. A little time spent in the front end will save a lot of time in the back end.

Tell Tell Signs Masking is perceived by amateurs as being unskilled and unimportant. However, I think you will agree that best best looking paint job can look horrible if you see paint and/or primer on moldings or in jambs. The idea is to make invisible repairs. Improper masking is the easiest and fastest way to determine that a vehicle has been painted.

These tasks are hard to put in writing, but only take a minute to demonstrate so be sure to check out the free training videos. Learn more at the car paint jobs.

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