Let's talk about the color black

By Dean 0x

December 12, 2020


Let’s talk about black. According to Ed Tahaney, Black was the most popular color for vehicles in the USA and it accounted for 22.25% of all vehicles sold in 2019 .

I can see why. I sell it frequently at my paint store in aerosol cans, touch up paints, and topcoats. For example, this past month, black has accounted for nearly 40% of all my paint sales. It's almost a panel paint color for 90% of all solid blacks.

However, there are downsides to black. It shows all of the "missed" body work, it generates heat, and you have to buff the surrounding panels. I know panel painting isn’t what we do, but I panel painted when I started. It was easy and I didn't have to spend money on extra paint additives. I am great at…..but, body work is not where I excel. Black showed every scratch, even die-back. There is an expression I definitely agree with: “black is the hardest color to paint”.


However, here is my advice to all you novice painters dealing with black:


1.     Check the body work and make sure it is perfect before you start.

2.     Always let primer dry for a day, and if you can put the (cured) painted primer parts (or vehicle) in the sun for a couple of hours to let it photo-chemically react. This means the sun’s UV rays will pre-shrink the primer. This allows  you to sand it smooth before painting.

3.     When painting black, don't use black primer. It is hard to see your topcoat coverage, and fixing it will cost you time and money.

4.     Make sure you put at least 3 coats of clear. Here is why: When you have to sand and buff, you are going to sand one layer off. You need 2 full layers of clear or it robs you the depth of the oem clear. Having only one layer of clear will eventually lead to peeling ( black generates heat, heat leads to loss of adhesion). If you or someone else has to fix that, a spot reducer or any solvent can get under the clear and lift it.

5.     Always make sure to buff the surrounding panels. To create a cohesive look, all the panels need to look similar. Your newly painted panel is nice, clean, and glossy- it will stick out to scratched panels. Even if the paint is perfect, it doesn't look like that to the customer. They will think you can't paint. The best solution is to take 30 minutes to buff the panels, and you will have a repeat customer.

6.     Lastly, always blend, never panel paint. Not all black is black. Harley Davidson's black is defiantly not just black. It is 85% black, and 15% gold. Don't quote me on those figures because every paint company has a different formula. Also, be sure to check out my factory pack table I created here.

Black Basecoat Paint

Transtar factory pack black