Single Stage Paint System

Single Stage Paint

Single stage paints include Acrylic Enamel, Acrylic Lacquer, and Synthetic Enamel. These types of paint were commonly used in automotive paints up until the late 1980’s until the release of two stage paints, although some manufacturers still use single stage paint, often on black, white and red paint finishes.

Single stage paint have the advantage of having deeper colors and can be polished to a gloss that looks better than  a two stage paint system.  Their downfall is their lack of durability.  Single stage paints are very soft and can easily be scratched and damaged and are prone to oxidizing when exposed to the elements.


Two Stage Paint System (Basecoat/Clearcoat)

Two Stage Paint (Basecoat/Clearcoat)

Since the early 1990s, auto manufacturers have switched to Two Stage Paint, also known as Basecoat/Clearcoat, for most of their vehicles.  The new paint system offers many advantages over the Single Stage paint that has been used since the introduction of the automobile to the market.  Two Stage Paint are more durable; they last longer and are harder to damage.  They are also more environmentally friendly than their single stage counterpart.  If your vehicle was produced after 1990, there is a very good chance it will have this paint system.

Where Single Stage Paint has a single thick coat of color paint over the primer, Two stage paint uses a thin layer of color paint covered by a thin layer of colorless (clear) paint.  The clearcoat provides protection by being very durable and hard.  It also makes the paint shine when it is in good condition.



Three Stage Paint System (Tricoat)


Three stage paint (Tricoat Paint)

Tricoat or 3 stage paint is a variation on the basecoat/clearcoat process.  In a Tricoat, a layer or clearcoat is mixed with either a little bit of color to create a translucent layer or with metal flakes or perls to make the paint more reflective.  This layer sits in between the basecoat and the clearcoat layer.


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