English English Nederlands Nederlands Deutsch Deutsch Italiano Italiano Español Español Français Français 简体中文 简体中文 Português Português Русский Русский
    DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!

    Advertisement

What is a clear coat

Written by:

The clear coat is a transparent layer of paint that can be used to cover the colored coat. The clear coat is usually the last coat of paint that is applied to a panel. The thickness can vary a lot per panel and per manufacturer. On average it can be between 30 and 80 micron. The clear coat is not always used, single stage paint is not covered with a clear coat.

Why use clear coat

A clear coat can be used for several reasons, a few of these are:

  • To prevent oxidation of the colored coat
  • To change the reflective index, changing the level and type of gloss
  • To increase the overall thickness of the layer of paint
  • To add a cheaper layer of paint while still adding protection of the panel underneath

Although paint has become a cosmetic item that adds to the “show ‘n shine” of a car, it was mainly used in the past to prevent the metal panel from rusting and suffering from exposure to the elements. Over time, the paintwork had become more and more important for the overall look. When colors where introduced, the aesthetic appeal of the paintwork grew. Today, the paint used to protect the panel underneath has become a cosmetic property that can help with the sale of a vehicle. The shape and dynamics of a vehicle are often based on the reflection of light and how this influences the look of a vehicle. Clear coat is often cheaper then the colored coat, so adding a few layers of clear coat will increase the thickness of the paint without adding to much to the overall cost.

What is clear coat

The clear coat is one of several layers of paint that covers the panel. It often begins with a layer of base coat which acts as a primer to help bond the paintwork to the material of the panel. It is then covered with a layer of colored paint, sometimes even different colors over each other. Eventually the colored coat is covered with the clear coat, the last coat to protect the paintwork. The base coat and the colored coat are actually matte, the colored coat have different finishes, but is usually glossy. The thickness of this transparent layer affects the way light behave inside the layer of paint, and directly affects the type and level of gloss you get.

Not mandatory

Although it is very common, the clear coat is not mandatory. Some ways of painting a surface can be such as “single stage” paint, or “uni paintwork”. This means the colored coat is also the last coat. This type of coat finishes with a glossy finish and does not have to be covered with a clear coat. Some painted surface are not even finished with a clear coat, which results in a matte finish. This can proof difficult to keep clean, but attracts attention to some that want something different.

Clear coat failure

In some cases, clear coat can fail. This results in a patchy looking paintwork. It is sometimes compared to the surface “shedding its skin”. Unfortunately, this can not be correction. When clear coat start to fail, it can best be removed by a professional and re-painted.

Different related articles

  • The best sealant
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best sealant". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
  • Festool GmbH
    Manufacturers
    Festool is a large manufacturer of electrical equipment. Their range of products differ from battery powered sanders, to cordless drills and corded/cordless polishers. The company originates from Germany but is active in almost all countries in the world. It can also be found in DIY and hardware stores....
  • Chipex Ltd
    Manufacturers
    Chipex Ltd is an UK-based manufacturer of autodetailing products to repair paintdamage, restore paintwork and to remove severe imperfections in the surface of paintwork. ...
  • What is a primer
    Correction
    The primer coat is used between the material the panel is made from and the layers of paint that will follow. In some cases there can also be filler underneath to make sure the panel is perfectly flat and smooth before starting to paint....
  • The best detailing brush
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best detailing brush". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
  • How to apply sealant
    Guides
    In the field of protective products, the sealant has become a rising star. The demand for an easy to use sealant has grown over the last decade. There is also a rise in quality of the ingredients used with the advancements made in the field of polymer-technology, resulting in better performing products. ...

Links to this article

This article currently has 2 links

Sidebar



Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!