Pre-Painting Preparation and Masking Off


Here are some basic instructions for preparing your car, truck, van or SUV for painting.

First, wash the vehicle with soap and water. Then wipe down areas to be painted with mineral spirits to remove any contaminants. Now wash the vehicle again and dry it completely. Sand all the areas that you will be painting; feather edge all bare-metal sections. Wipe down areas to be painted with mineral spirits again, then mask off all the parts that you will not be spraying to prevent them from getting painted unintentionally.

Here are a few simple directions for masking.

Using newspaper is a good idea because you can get it free, there is lots of it, and it is readily available. (Use plain paper for newly-painted surfaces to avoid some of the ink bleeding onto the paint.)

Choosing the proper masking tape is important. Avoid "flat" tape (the version without ridges) because it does not bend around corners easily. Instead choose tape that has corrugations (ridges) built in that enable you to stretch the tape easily around corners and bends.

Some rubber surfaces will not take masking tape. If you must, apply a clear lacquer onto rubber and allow it to dry before using your tape.

Try not to leave ridges or crinkles in the paper when taping it down, if possible. Tape them down flat. Apply tape only to the edges of the paper on the areas you are masking off. Applying a lot of tape makes it difficult to remove later. Tip: apply just tape to the edges of surfaces you want to mask, than add paper and tape onto the tape you have already applied.

After you have completed all of the preparations above and masked off areas you do not want painted, your should be ready to prime and paint your vehicle.