Let’s start with naming the 3 types of clearcoat
The difference between these 3 types is quite simply how much of the product is ‘solid’, the resins, or going to remain after the solvents have evaporated.
No matter which you choose to use, they all will work. Some better than others.
If you’re simply clearing a single color vehicle, sprayed in base coat, candy or pearl, then you’re safe using any of the 3. Although the one with the least amount of shrinkage is going to be best. Unless you want a customer complaining about their car losing gloss months later.
If you’re burying flake or multi-layer graphics, you’re going to want to grab something that has a bit higher solid content. This will allow you to bury those with less coats, meaning less work for you. As pictured where Brandon McCoy of Gooch Customs is spraying clearcoat over a finished multi-layer graphics panel.
What % is medium vs high solids?
This all depends upon the company you’re buying your clearcoat from. Each company is different. The rough estimate is anything below 40% is medium, 41-48% is high & anything 49% or more is UHS/VHS. Instead of looking at the label name, seek out the solid content. This will either be in their TDS or SDS sheet.
Which Clearcoat Should I Use?
Entirely up to you. Think of this though:
If you use 3-4 coats of a high solids clearcoat, you have plenty of room to cut and buff.
If you did the same with a lower solids clearcoat, 3-4 coats might not be quite enough depending on what you’re covering & how much cutting/buffing you do.
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