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Thread: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

          
  1. #1
    Registered Member fishbonezken's Avatar
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    Question The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Why do some car care products have different polishes for metallic and non-metallic paint?
    And this doesn't apply to Meguiar's?

    Correct me if I am wrong,

    Metallic paint is the same as non-metallic and they are just metal flakes mixed with the paint and both are sprayed with a layer of clear coat. Which makes them both the same actually?

    So why do they have different products for different paint type?

    regards

    P.S, My grandfather is arguing with me because I'm using the wrong polish(M80) on metallic paint, if it's dual purpose, it won't produce results compared to a polish specifically made to polish metallic paint.

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    Registered Member Murr1525's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Well, look at it this way... Meguiars could put the same product in two different bottles, for metallic and non metallic, and sell twice as much... but Meguiars doesnt tend to advertise like that.

    And I dont belive they are metal flakes anymore, just plastic beads, etc.
    '08 Subaru Legacy 2.5i SE - Newport Blue Pearl

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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    It's marketing.

    Some companies also offer polishes for light colored paints and dark colored paints but if the finish coat is a clear coat of paint, then what would it matter?

    There's also some boutique web-based wax companies that offer waxes they claim are specific to red paint and black paint, but 2 things,

    If the car has a clear coat, then how would it matter? (99.9% of all new cars have a clear coat).
    A quality wax should work great on any color.

    From Hot Topics,

    Which LSP is better for light colors?


    Originally posted by Cipitio
    Hi everybody,

    I have a silver and a white car. I was thinking on increase my stock of Meguiar's LSP (couple of tins of #16).

    I read a lot that NXT and #26 are awesome for dark color cars.

    I want to know your opinion about the best choice on LSP for light color cars.

    Thank you for your responses.
    Hi Cipitio,

    Here's the deal,

    First of all, 99% of all cars being manufactured today have a clear coat, so keep in mind, most people are not working on a pigmented paint, but on clear paint. Clear paint is simply resin without color.

    That said, if a car wax, or polish will make a dark or black colored paint look great, it's also making a light colored finish look great too it's just your eyes can't see the difference. This is why the best test for a product is always on dark colors and black paint specifically. The true results of a product are going to be the most apparent on black paint, whether its a single-stage finish or a clear coated finish.

    The color that is the least efficient at demonstrating a difference is white paint, whether it's a single-stage, or a clear coated finish. This is why Meguiar's performs all of their testing on black paint.

    What you see discussed on forums and elsewhere on the topic of some waxes being better on light colors and some waxes being better on dark colors is simply confusion.

    You'll often read where someone will say,

    "Brand X is great on light colors",

    what is implied is that brand X doesn't make dark colors look good. If a wax or polish can't make a dark color look good, it isn't making a light color look good, your eyes just can't evaluate the difference.

    The best waxes for appearance quality makes all colors look good and you can know this by whether or not the wax makes dark colors look good.

    Think about it for a second, if you have two identical cars, for example two Honda Accura's. One is white with a clear coat finish and the other is black with a clear coat finish, if a wax makes the black Accura look great, knowing you're working on the same kind of paint, (a clear coat), it's reasonable to assume that it's going to make the white Accura look great, it's just you're eyes won't perceive the difference as easily as they would with the black Accura.

    Conversely, if a wax doesn't make the black Accura look good, it's reasonable to assume it's not going to make the white Accura look good for the same reasons outlined above.
    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Two things come to mind, the first from personal experience back in the day. Long-winded post follows as I have a great interest in early-tech metallic paints:

    Early *single stage* metallics, from back before basecoat/clear paint was common, are pretty fragile and in many cases the metallic element "sinks" down below the outer layer of the build-film..it's sorta like the paint separates into a "near-clearcoat" at the very top, the part you polish/wax/etc. If you take off too much of this the paint will fail from what appears to be accelerated oxidation or, in a best-case scenario it'll look blotchy (gee, ask how I know about such problems ). The failures used to be pretty common with single stage metallic enamels that people used aggressive products on and even when the paint didn't outright *fail* at some point you could never get it glossy again. I have the less-serious blotchiness on my Jag's Rhodium Metallic paint, one of the last single stage lacquer metallics used as an OE finish (1985, they quit using it due to complaints). It makes me leery of doing any further correction on it, and my painter has advised me to just live with its current imperfections. I'm trying to avoid this blotchiness on my Mazda's single stage metallic, so I'm leery of correcting *it* too aggressively too.

    An example of a more recent "metallic paint specific" product that isn't complete BS (at least wasn't when it first came out), is 1Z's Metallic Polish, a German product originally developed for use on German cars. It was developed when the German automakers first started using b/c paints. Initially, they only used b/c for their metallics and the clearcoat was a very thin, and quite soft, acrylic lacquer. The common (abrasive) polishes that most people used back then on single stage paint were too aggressive for repeated use on this early clearcoat so they came out with an especially mild product that was safer for frequent use. The owner's manuals of older Benzes had some interesting info about how to care for the early clearcoats and they sold different Benz-labeled products for polishing metallic and nonmetallic paints.

    Nowadays, as Mike said, with all factory metallics being basecoat/clear, it's basically a moot point, but those of us with cars still wearing the original factory single stage metallic need to be careful since we don't have the same, thick, hard, clearcoat to work with.
    Practical Perfectionist

  5. #5
    Registered Member fishbonezken's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Thank you Mike,
    So modern car care products(Meguiar's) are meant for modern finishes(i.e clearcoats).

    ahh, that's the answer I am looking for Accumulator.
    What you are saying is, metallic polishes are not as abrasive as polishes for non-metallic paint?
    If a non-metallic polish is used on a metallic paint, it would 'eat' off the metallic layer beneath the thin clear coat that you are suggesting?

    Something like the diagram below?


    When using an abrasive polish(not meant for metallic paint), you would rub off the clear coat and some off the metallic layer as well. So some areas would not have that metallic 'pop' and some would, hence, the blotchiness.

    Is that correct?

    thanks again.

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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishbonezken View Post
    Accumulator...
    What you are saying is, metallic polishes are not as abrasive as polishes for non-metallic paint?
    If a non-metallic polish is used on a metallic paint, it would 'eat' off the metallic layer beneath the thin clear coat that you are suggesting?
    It's more an issue of the overly abrasive polish cutting through the thin layer of clear (or sometimes nearly clear) paint at the very top. But note that terms like "metallic polish" are only an applicable term in very limited instances (the aforementioned 1Z product) and generally any mildly abrasive polish will be OK. It's all a matter of degree of abrasiveness and, to a lesser extent, the type of abrasive. "Modern" abrasives, which are generally more uniform than the old-school ones are, IMO also a better way to go as they'll have a more uniform cutting action.

    When using an abrasive polish(not meant for metallic paint), you would rub off the clear coat and some off the metallic layer as well. So some areas would not have that metallic 'pop' and some would, hence, the blotchiness. ..
    Yes, but only with *single-stage* metallics. You can get the blotchiness even without having done that kind of damage, just depends on the paint. My Jag's paint isn't "damaged" but rather was always blotchy to some extent, even new in the showroom (we joke that it's a "feature" rather than a "problem" ), but years of polishing have made it more noticeable. My painter could explain it better than I can But again, this is only relevant to *single stage paints*. If you cut through the clear on a clearcoated paint you've seriously damaged it and it'll have to be repainted at some point.

    If a ss metallic is *not* blotchy, then it shouldn't *get* blotchy*. And the same thing goes for a basecoat/clear metallic but to a much more serious degree.

    But a modern basecoat/clear metallic should really just be like any other basecoat/clear paint. As long as the paint under discussion is a modern basecoat/clearcoat, it won't matter if it's metallic or not. *ALL* of the above discussion relates *only* to single stage metallics and early-technology clearcoated metallics. The only time any of the above matters to me is when I'm working on my older cars; this stuff is utterly irrelevant to my more modern vehicles, which are all (metallic) modern basecoat/clearcoat. Metallic or not, what matters is the paint technology. By the late 1980s such stuff basically ceased to matter as everything became today's basecoat/clearcoat (with some rare exceptions). So unless you're working on something with metallic paint from the old days, none of this matters except as a history lesson I don't want you to think that just because a (modern) paint is metallic you need to treat it differently from any other modern paint.
    Practical Perfectionist

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    Registered Member MandarinaRacing's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    To Accumulator:

    Would you get paint transfer to the pad when using a paint cleaner (ie ScratchX) on those single stage metallics?

    Alex

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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by MandarinaRacing View Post
    To Accumulator:

    Would you get paint transfer to the pad when using a paint cleaner (ie ScratchX) on those single stage metallics?

    Alex
    It *is* confusing! In many cases, no, you won't get transfer until you break through the "clear-ish paint that floated to the top". People have polished ss metallics and claimed that they were b/c because of this. E.g., I had a car repainted with ss metallic enamel in 1976- I was there and I saw the paint get mixed and sprayed, no clear was shot; when I polished it with (fortunately mild) abrasives I did *not* get color transfer. It can be hard to tell if there's a thin coat of clear or not and unless you really *know* about the car in question you just gotta err on the side of caution.

    Flip-side example: on my Jag (absolutely single stage metallic lacquer from the factory, I've done my homework on that car and its weird paint ) I got color transfer the day after I brought it home from the showroom and I'm still getting it 21 years later.
    Practical Perfectionist

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    Registered Member MandarinaRacing's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    It *is* confusing! In many cases, no, you won't get transfer until you break through the "clear-ish paint that floated to the top". People have polished ss metallics and claimed that they were b/c because of this. E.g., I had a car repainted with ss metallic enamel in 1976- I was there and I saw the paint get mixed and sprayed, no clear was shot; when I polished it with (fortunately mild) abrasives I did *not* get color transfer. It can be hard to tell if there's a thin coat of clear or not and unless you really *know* about the car in question you just gotta err on the side of caution.

    Flip-side example: on my Jag (absolutely single stage metallic lacquer from the factory, I've done my homework on that car and its weird paint ) I got color transfer the day after I brought it home from the showroom and I'm still getting it 21 years later.
    Confusing to say the least! , but VERY educational...THANKS!

    Alex

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    Registered Member fishbonezken's Avatar
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    Re: The Difference Between Non-Metallic and Metallic Paint?

    I tried searching google,threads here and autopia but no answer.

    Thank you Accumulator, for sharing your knowledge on this.

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