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Special Overlap Considerations

Generally speaking, a painter cannot go wrong by laying down each stroke of car paint with half of its width overlapping onto the stroke immediately before it. This ensures that there is an even, thorough coverage, with excellent blending between the strokes so that there will not be horizontal stripes visible on the car’s surface like those found on a childhood magic marker drawing.

Since you will be returning in the opposite direction, the overlap will fall onto paint that is still wet, especially at the near end, causing more thorough blending between the strokes as well as greater depth and richness of color. The 50% overlap rule applies to primer as well – streaks in the primer will tend to show through the paint as well, unless a heavy sealant is used (which should also be overlapped, of course), while overlapping will create a smooth, even primer coat.

There is one large and very important exception to the 50% overlap rule, however – the application of kandies and pearls. These paints are very thin and need multiple layers both to look properly even (rather than striped) and to achieve the look of glossy depth which they are supposed to have. A 75% overlap pattern is needed for these paints – aim slightly above the lower edge of the painted area as you make each stroke, and remember that the process will be longer and more painstaking, but the jewel-like beauty of the finished paint job will be well worth the effort.

Because kandy colors, and to a degree pearls, are semi-transparent or transparent, any variation in coverage will stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. The color will appear blotchy or streaked if you attempt to use 50% coverage, but 75% overlap will provide enough blending to result in an even appearance.

The signs of a successful application are not subtle – the paint job will look smooth even when only the first coat of kandy color is being laid down, even though there are probably around half a dozen more to be added. Note that the primers and sealers used underneath kandy colors are applied with 50% overlap, not 75%, since they are not kandies themselves.


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