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 3-stage polish
a 3 stage polish is a 3 step process in which you use 3 different polishes to end up with a finishing polish. It doesn’t have to mean that you begin with a rough polish, then a medium polish to end with a finishing polish. It also applies when you use a medium polish, light polish and then a finishing polish. As long as the process involves 3 different steps, it is considered a 3 stage polish.
However, the most commonly used situation is when a detailer uses a heavy polish, then a medium polish and ends with a finishing polish.
Reasons to choose a 3 stage polish
There can be several reason why you would choose a 3 stage polish:
- You need to do quite some corrections
- You have the time do as much as you can
- You feel/think/know that a 1 or 2 stage polish would be to little
Whatever the reason might be for you, a 3 stage polish has its benefits and its downsides. The main benefit is that you can achieve a lot of correction. The downside is that it takes a lot of time. 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. A 3 stage polish might not often be the most efficient choice.
How to save yourself time
Make the decision to work with either SMAT or DAT.
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 DAT 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 DAT polish will remove less microns of paint then a medium SMAT polish, simply because the SMAT polish will retain its cutting power whereas a DAT 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.
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