Sunday, June 18, 2017

The $100 paint job that costs $350

We had high hopes for an affordable paint job.  We did a lot of research online and found many people getting great results with Rust-Oleum or Valspar Tractor and Implement paint, so we popped on down to our local store and then remembered...oops, we live in Kalifornia where all you can get is soy based paint to go along with the soy based people.  Lucky for us, there is Amazon and 2 days later, we were ready for our discount paint job...Valspar Tractor paint in International Harvester White and Gloss Black for the stripe ($15/qt * 5).

We did a lot of prep work, wet sanding and priming all the bare metal with 2 rattle cans of Rust-Oleum etching primer ($5 each) where the old paint or stickers just rubbed off to bare metal.

On the big day, we got our 3M auto tape ($3.50 / roll * 3) out and masked everything for spraying.

Just when we were ready to go, fate stepped in.  It turns out, you can't really use an HVLP sprayer on such a large object with a tiny 6 gallon, 2.6SCFM compressor.  Not to mention, our junky Ryobi died just outside of it's 1 year warranty (note to self, never buy Ryobi anything again).

Luckily, our friend Pat had an awesome 26 gallon compressor that we could borrow so we raced over only to find it was 220V only and our garage only has 110V.  Strike 2.

At least we had a fallback.  Our work garage had a small 8 gallon compressor, but it was rated at 5.5SCFM, just enough for our 6SCFM Harbor Freight gun.  We borrowed it on a Friday and were back in business...until we turned it on and realized that the regulator on this one was busted too...blowing the safety valve just when it got to pressure.  Strike 3.

Discouraged doesn't really express the extreme emotions we felt after being thwarted at every turn.  We texted our friend Pat again for commiseration and he responded...from his truck...on the way to Harbor Freight!  It wasn't in our trailer budget, but $150 Father's Day sale price for a 21 gallon compressor was just too good to pass up.

Father's day morning went great.  Papa got a lovely bug banner, the kids were on their best behavior and he had the morning alone to put a new dress on the old girl.

We thinned the paint 16 oz paint, 2 oz mineral spirits, 1 oz Valspar hardener.  Valspar recommends Naptha which is also banned in CA.

As I learned in the best trailer tutorial I found, first you adjust your gun, then spray a tack coat, wait a bit then spray your top coat.

Here we go...

Driveway paint jobs are never going to be factory finish and we had a few problems with bugs loving the certain death of outgassing enamel.

Luckily most of them came off easily with just a flick after the paint set up to tacky and didn't leave much of a mark.  The paint has a bit of orange peel and a few drips (luckily all within the sanded stripe area), is both more beige and more yellow than we wanted, but we are pretty happy at our discount paint job.  Once the paint cures a bit, she will get a black stripe in a location currently under discussion.

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