The auto-paint market gets bigger and more diverse every day. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed if you are trying to choose paint for your vehicle. What’s the difference between pearlescent paint, metallic paint, and matte paint for auto body repairs?
The good news is when you’re dealing with non-standard auto-body paint, it breaks down into three categories: pearlescent paint, metallic paint, and matte paint.
The most important thing to remember when choosing car paint is the effect you want to have. In this post, our car paint experts at CBS Collision will discuss the pros and cons of each type of paint.
What is AutoBody Metallic Paint?
Metallic paint is very similar to the standard auto paint. The difference is that a manufacturer will add little bits of powdered metal and aluminum to metallic paint. This gives the vehicle a lot of glint and shine.
The level of glint and shine will depend on each individual manufacturer. The typical ratio is 1 part powdered metal to 50 parts standard paint.
Pros of Metallic Paint
- Because of the powdered metal manufacturers mix in, metallic auto paints will reflect light more than standard auto paints. It adds depth and shine that you can’t get with standard auto paint. This means that metallic paint hides bumps and blemishes in the car more adequately.
- Metallic paint also holds up much better than standard paint. It resists fading and bleaching and maintains its gloss much longer than standard auto paint.
- A vehicle with a metallic paint finish has a higher resale value than one with a standard paint finish.
Cons of Metallic Paint
- Larger scratches and dents are more of a hassle to repair with metallic paint. Though metallic paint is adept at concealing small blemishes, it is far more difficult to touch-up than standard auto paint. For one thing, not all manufacturers make metallic paint. It can be difficult to find touch-up paint that matches your car’s paint exactly.
- Metallic paint is a bit more expensive than other types of paint. If you have a moderate or small budget, metallic paint not be for you.
- Though metallic paint looks great on a car, you have fewer options if you want to use it. There is a smaller color range with metallic paint. If you have plans for a very unique color, you may not be able to find it in metallic.
What is AutoBody Pearlescent Paint?
Like metallic paint, pearlescent paint is simply standard paint with a few extras thrown in. Instead of powdered metal, pearlescent paint contains tiny pieces of ceramic material.
These little pieces of ceramic, or “mica”, both reflect light and refract it. To take you back to your middle school science class, this means that the light slows down as it passes through the mica. The result is that the light splits into many different colors, and instead of just a sparkle, you get deep and varying shades of color that change with your angle.
Pros of Pearlescent Paint
- The main benefit of pearlescent paint is an aesthetic one. There’s no getting around that it makes your car look super cool. Instead of the standard monotone finish, you get a new, rich color scheme inside each curve of the vehicle.
- Again, like metallic paint, small dents and dings will be nearly invisible underneath pearlescent paint.
- The resale value of your car will grow exponentially with pearlescent paint.
Cons of Pearlescent Paint
- Pearlescent and metallic paints are similar in more than just their benefits. Pearlescent paint can conceal small blemishes, but not larger ones.
- This paint comes with a price tag. It’s a big one. You can’t achieve a pearlescent finish on a budget.
- Many authorized body shops don’t carry the same shades of pearlescent paint consistently. It can be a hassle to repaint or repair a pearlescent finish.
What is AutoBody Matte Paint?
Matte auto paint isn’t exactly popular, but it’s definitely making a comeback. As it becomes more available, it also becomes more affordable.
Matte paint gives a car a “flat” look. There’s no shine to it at all. Manufacturers do this by using a high epoxy content primer coat and a high PVC content to the paint. They can also add a flattening agent to the final lacquer topcoat.
Pros of Matte Paint
- Matte paint looks expensive because it can be. It looks great on cars with a black or grey finish.
Cons of Matte Paint
- A matte auto finish is tricky to apply. You can’t buff out any imperfections or mistakes.
- Because of the matte finish, you can’t polish matte paint with a normal polisher. This would leave glossy patches all over your car.
What is Non-Metallic (Solid) Auto Paint?
This is the standard auto paint that manufacturers use to finish cars everywhere. Solid or standard paint is available in a massive variety of colors. It’s plenty glossy, just not as glossy as metallic paint.
Some manufacturers of non-metallic paint have begun using something called a “two-pack paint”. This paint contains a hardening agent, which means you don’t need to add a topcoat.
Pros of Solid Paint
- Solid auto paint finishes are easiest for home auto paint projects. It holds up well and looks good.
- Cars you finish with solid paint are easy to touch up and repair. You can get a same-color paint pen to go over small blemishes at home.
- Solid auto paint is very affordable
Cons of Solid Paint
- The only major con of solid paint only occurs if you don’t do it properly. The finish can “orange peel”, where there is a bubble or raised flaw in the paint.
Which Car Paint Should I Choose?
Again, the most important things to remember when you’re choosing your car paint are the effect you want to gain and your budget.
If budget is an issue, you should probably just go with solid paint. But if you’ve got a big or an unlimited budget, or if you just want to splurge, you should look into matte, metallic, or pearlescent paint.