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"The $50 paint job" -- experience?

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  • "The $50 paint job" -- experience?

    I heard "the $50 paint job" mentioned on a car podcast in passing, so did a little Google research. There's information everywhere -- many websites, a Hot Rod magazine article, etc. The basic idea is to use thinned Rustoleum paint (or Brightside boat paint) with a high-density roller and just roll the paint onto the car (with wetsanding between coats, of course).

    Some links:

    No clear coat, no metallics, of course, but classic Minis didn't have those options when they were new, either. Has anyone tried this? Intriguing. I think I'm going to have to go practice with a spare Subaru hood I have sitting in my garage...

  • #2
    There's no reason it shouldn't work since it's basically the way cars were painted in the early part of the 20th century.

    There are a few thing to keep in mind. You will need heat. The temperature will need to be 70-80F while the paint cures. 70F is probably a bit on the cool side. This is hard to do in the Northwest.
    Everything should be as clean as possible. It takes a long time for the paint to dry and while it's drying almost anything will stick to it.
    It is a lot of physical labor.

    Let me know how it works.

    If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


    • #3
      As for the "clean as possible" comment, I'm not so sure. The first link is a guy who does his Corvair OUTSIDE (under a canopy, I think). Bugs fly in and get stuck in the paint...he asserts that flaws disappear in the between-coat sandings.

      As for the "a lot of physical labor" comment...that's why I had kids! Just kidding -- they're still too young and probably wouldn't be able to wear a dust mask properly.

      Based on the comments, it sounds like there are some "pros" as well as the cons -- no worries about overspray (because there is no spray), straightforward to do on one's own schedule...not sure about the temperature requirement -- because the basic technique is to thin the paint to the consistency of milk and to lay down multiple thin coats, it sounds like each coat dries within hours. I haven't seen the temperature issue specifically addressed, but the thread was started by a guy from Canada, so he wasn't likely to have had much warmer weather than we do.

      It occurs to me that I also have metal panels on scooters that need re-painting, so they may be a good candidate for a first attempt.


      • #4
        A few things come to mind when you base your paint job on price! Remember that the prep work is the biggest part of a paint job. As Kelley was saying you will need heat for the paint to dry and you really have a critical time frame in between coats of un-catalyzed paint. Also by using products like Rustoleum you won’t be getting UV “ultra violet” screeners, meaning that you won’t get longevity out of your paint job. Also this paint will not be catalyzed so it could wash off if you spill gas, oil, and even windshield washer fluid. Applying paint with a roller or a brush could exceed “mill” thickness which will lead to cracking and chipping.
        If you are considering going to the trouble of doing the body work and painting your own car, and are looking for a “cheap” paint job, this might be a better way to go!
        If you can disassemble your car, and do your own body work then I would consider contracting out the spraying to somebody like Maaco. You would at least have a catalyzed product on your car, and a whole lot of time saved by not spending hours rolling, sanding and polishing.