When you polish a surface, the level of imperfection defines how much work it will be to achieve a perfect finish. This can either be a 1 stage polish, a 2 stage polish or even a 3 stage polish. Different types of stages needed define slightly what pads and/or polish you are going to need, and might give an indication of the time-frame needed.
What makes it a 1-stage polish
A 1 stage polish is the minimal amount of steps you can do when you polish a surface. Which product you use isn’t very relevant, although it would be unwise to do a 1 stage polish with a heavy cutting polish. Simply because you will not finish with a perfect finish. A 1 stage polish can be done for several reasons, and is one of the types of stages that can easily be done by hand or machine. For novices the 1 stage polish is a safe way to start out with a polish.
Let create a hypothetical situation:
Lets say that 4 different polishes remove an exact amount of paint in an exact frame of time (in real life it depends on many different variabels).
- Finishing polish: 1 micron in 10 minutes
- Fine polish: 2 micron in 10 minutes
- Medium polishing: 4 micron in 10 minutes
- Heavy polishing: 6 micron in 10 minutes
- Cutting compound: 8 micron in 10 minutes
The surface you are going to polish has a surface imperfection that is 5 micron deep.
You always need to work your way down from rough to least rough. So you would always want to finish with a finishing polish.
There are a few different ways you can tackle this:
Problem: takes a very long time.
Problem: takes a long time.
Problem: 3 different stages.
- #1: This would be a 1 stage polish, but because it takes 50 minutes it is not a smart choice.
- #2: With 20 minutes, this 2 stage polish would be a decent choice, but sometimes the jump from a medium polish to a finishing polish might be to big. Would be the choice to make if you are in a hurry.
- #3: Also a 2 stage polish, but it takes 30 minutes. Would be a good choice if you have the time.
- #4: Still takes 25 minutes, but you would need 3 different pads and you will be using 3 different products. Not the most logical choice.
Reasons to choose a 1 stage polish
There can be several reason why you would choose a 1 stage polish:
- You are in a hurry
- You only need to remove surface oxidation
- You only need to remove marring
- You feel/think/know that just claying would be to little
- You don’t have sufficient pads to do a 2 stage polish
- You don’t have sufficient products to do a 2 stage polish
Whatever the reason might be for you, a 1 stage polish has its benefits and its downsides. The main benefit is that it takes a short period of time. The downside is that it might not be enough to fix any imperfection you might encounter. Especially professional detailers that have to work with fixed time-frames sometimes need to make a general decision based upon: what approach will remove the most imperfections in the least time.
In many cases, a 1 stage polish is just used to quickly remove some very superficial imperfections.
How to save yourself time
Make the decision to work with either or .
When you are working with a medium polish, and you want to skip the need for a fine polish, because you want to jump to the finishing polish, you probably want to use a polish. This will start out with the cutting power of a medium polish, but after working it in, you will finish with a very fine polish. Which will minimize the jump from a medium polish to a finishing polish.
However, keep in mind that a medium polish will remove less microns of paint then a medium polish, simply because the polish will retain its cutting power whereas a polish will become more and more fine, cutting less and less as you work it in.
Make the right decision for you situation and you might save yourself a lot of time.