What is the meaning of soft paint?
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  1. #1
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    What is the meaning of soft paint?

    What is the meaning of soft paint?


    Quote Originally Posted by zerolam View Post
    I have read it before but i have no idea about it. Black color = soft paint?

    As these forum members have pointed out, it's better to think of how workable paint is and every paint job will be different. What it really comes down to in most cases for most people is when they go out into their garage to work on their car, how hard is it for them to clean or remove defects out of the paint.


    What you read on a forum and reality
    There are three primary factors that affect how hard or how difficult it will be for you to remove the defects in the paint, remember removing defects means removing paint,
    1. Paint workability - The hardness or softness of the paint.
    2. Depth of the defects you're trying to remove - The deeper the defects the more paint you'll need to remove in order to remove the defects.
    3. You skill level - You can only imagine how many people join this forum and describe their frustration or difficulty in removing swirls and scratches in the paint on their car where if the same car were given to an experienced detailer it would be a cake walk.
    We don't EVER make blanket statements that generalize about paint hardness or softness on this forum but you'll find those kinds of statements on other forums so be careful what you read on other forums.

    About 5 years ago when we first started reading and sometimes posting to Corvetteforum we would read statements by the members there about how soft Corvette paint is and this is the reason the paint on Corvettes scratch and swirl easy, read the same kinds of comments on Autopia.

    Then we started educating people that the paint on NEW Corvettes isn't soft, in most all cases we've experienced it's very hard and the problem is the people posting that Corvette Clear Coats are soft didn't understand the paint technology and confused paint softness with scratch-sensitive. A clear coat can be very hard and still scratch very easily, this is called scratch-sensitive, now after many, many posts on this topic on this forum and elsewhere you can actually see the effect this has had and now all over the forums you'll see that people now understand that modern clear coats are not soft, but in fact in most cases hard.

    Relative Terms
    You have to keep in mind that hardness and softness are relative terms and by relative we mean in relationship to what we have to compare to and what we have to compare to is paints of the past. Cars have only been around for about 100 years, before this we all rode horses, in light of all history, 100 years isn't' a long time.

    When we say that most clear coat paints are hard or not easily workable it's relative to the paints of the past, that is single stage paints where you were working on completely different paint technology.

    Here's a true statement that is NOT a blanket statement about ALL clear coats. (note the first two words),

    "Generally speaking, modern clear coat paints are harder than traditional solvent-evaporation single stage paints"


    Older single stage paints tended to be very easy to work on, that's why for decades just about anyone at any skill level could grab some rubbing compound and apply it to a scratch in the paint, work the product, wipe off the residue and then apply some wax and the paint would look pretty good. By hand they were able to quickly and easily work the paint in an effort to remove small particles of it thus leveling it and thus removing the defect. Then adding some wax would even out the overall appearance of the finish.

    Try that today on a clear coat and all you'll do is scratch and scour the paint and make it look ugly everywhere you work your hand.

    Paint technologies changed in the 1980's and the benefit up to now has been paints that last longer, that's a good thing for you and I as now the paint on our cars and trucks will last longer, often time if they're taken care of properly they'll last the service life of the car. This isn't true for older single stage paints, back in the old days paint jobs lasted a few years unless they were really kept up with the right product and constant maintenance.

    Many people confuse the words,

    Last a long time

    with

    Look good a long time

    And that's just not the case. You can wash a clear coat paint job with an SOS pad and scratch and swirl the heck out of the paint job and it can still last a long time but is sure isn't going to look good over time.

    See the difference?

    If you read any forum you'll notice how popular dual action polishers have become... correct?

    Why do you think that is?

    It's because they are safe and they can outwork your 4 fingers pushing down on an applicator pad when it comes to removing defects, (removing paint), from the surface. And the reason they can outwork your 4 fingers, actually just the finger tips if you've ever worked paint by hand), is because they apply equal pressure over a larger surface area and unlike you and I they don't get tired.

    Here's another true statement... Anytime you're on a forum somewhere else besides MeguiarsOnline.com and you read some forum member making a post like this,

    Subaru's have soft paint

    or

    Fords have hard paint

    Disregard what this person has said, (remember their forum name and in the future question anything they post), and remember this instead...

    You don't know if the paint on your car is hard or soft, or in better words, you don't know if the paint on your car is workable until you go out into your garage and work on your car. And by the word work, we mean the cleaning process, or the defect removal process.

    That's when the rubber meets the road. And this circles back around to what we wrote at the top of this reply,

    What you read on a forum and reality
    There are three primary factors that affect how hard or how difficult it will be for you to remove the defects in the paint, remember removing defects means removing paint,
    1. Paint workability - The hardness or softness of the paint.
    2. Depth of the defects you're trying to remove - The deeper the defects the more paint you'll need to remove in order to remove the defects.
    3. You skill level - You can only imagine how many people join this forum and describe their frustration or difficulty in removing swirls and scratches in the paint on their car where if the same car were given to an experienced detailer it would be a cake walk.
    Here is probably the best example on the Internet that drives home the point made above that you can't make blanket statements about paint hardness or softness.

    Paint Workability - The Hardness or Softness of your car's paint


    First, everyone needs to be on the same page, so read this,
    What it means to remove a scratch out of anything...


    Here's a thread that delves into the background history of the industries switch to clear coat technology from solvent-evaporation single stage paints.
    My Hatred of Clear Coats


    Hope this helps...
    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

  2. #2
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: What is the meaning of soft paint?

    Black Paint = Soft Paint?

    On the question about black paint being soft, it's important to always be very specific about the paint type you're referring to and/or working on and not merely the color of the paint.

    There's clearcoated black paint and their's single stage black paint and there's a huge difference from a practical point of view when working on one or the other of these paint types.

    If your car has a clear coat finish then you're never working on black paint, or whatever color the car is, you're working on clear paint which is straight resin without pigment.

    If you're working on a single stage paint, no matter the color, then you're working on resin mixed with a pigment.

    Note the first two words of the below statement,

    Generally speaking, the softest paint there is to work on is single stage black paint because the pigment used to make the color black is Carbon Black and this pigment is soft on it's own, so when you mix it with a resin you alter or affect or adulterate or dilute, (however you want to think of it), the original hardness or softness of the resin before you added the pigment. Thus the hardness or softness of the pigment will affect the end-result hardness or softness of the paint, (resin).

    The hardest single stage paints are white because the pigment used to make the color white is usually Titanium Dioxide Power and this substance in and of itself is a hard pigment or colorant relative to black and other pigment types.

    When it comes to how hard or soft or how "workable" clear coat paints are it's a ****-shoot as there are so many different types of clear coat resins on the market today and over the last 25+ years.

    This is why we ALWAYS write this in many of our posts on this subject.

    You don't know if the paint on your car is hard or soft, or in better words, you don't know if the paint on your car is workable until you go out into your garage and work on your car. And by the word work, we mean the cleaning process, or the defect removal process.

    Besides all of the above, here's an article that's actually a chapter out of an how-to book we started and never finished and instead just published the article for David Bynon as part of a trade we negotiated for server space for ShowCarGarage before MeguiarsOnline was created.

    The Lesson White Paint Teaches Us

    It's a good read and the basic premise of the article is that if your car is a "Daily Driver" then this means your paint gets dirty over time and sometimes you can's see this dirt build up if the car is a dark or black colored car, but as explained in the article, the work we did on our wife's white Honda Prelude teaches us that car paint get dirty over time even if you can't see the dirt and occasionally you need to clean the paint with either a dedicated paint cleaner or cleaner/polish or a cleaner/wax.

    The last thing you want to do is try to "Layer" any kind of paint protectant if the paint is not absolutely clean because if the paint sealant you're using really can be layered and so far one has ever proven it can be), then you certainly don't want to be layering this product over dirty paint as it will seal in and trap the dirt under it and cloud or gray the finish.

    Hope all this makes sense, it might be deeper or more AR than most people ant to get but we try to write for a wide-spectrum of enthusiasts.

    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

  3. #3
    is more old fashioned Tuck91's Avatar
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    Re: What is the meaning of soft paint?

    Another thread i enjoyed reading, not that old either

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