How to Fix Paint Scratches with Dupli-Color

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DupliColor is one of the easiest ways to fix paint scratches – but only if you use it correctly. Here’s a quick guide to getting the perfect color change. For decades, Dupli-Color has been one of the most well-known companies for restoring the scratched-up paint of cars to their original shine. However, even with the right products, you can’t drop paint on and expect to get a perfect finish. To get the right look, you have to follow a few more steps. Here’s everything you need to know about the philosophy and techniques of DupliColor.

A Brief History Of Dupli-Color

Dupli-Color got its start in 1938 when Sigmund E. Edelstone, a Lt. Colonel in the United States Army, had the idea to sell touch-up paint for cars that perfectly matched their original colors. The best way to do this was, of course, to get the actual paint – so he began buying in bulk from manufacturers and filling up individual bottles.

Thanks to Edelstone’s attention to detail, his employees realized that work would always be scrutinized and his business rapidly developed a reputation for quality and, indeed, perfection.

Eventually, Dupli-Color was acquired by The Sherwin-Williams Company, one of the nation’s leading paint manufacturers. DupliColor had been buying from Sherwin-Williams for a long time, but the acquisition gave them drastically improved access to the OEM paints they were looking for.

Since then, Dupli-Color has focused on producing a variety of innovative new products for repairing paint jobs. Products currently available for fixing paint scratches include:

  • 2-in-1 Filler and Sandable Primer
  • Filler Primer
  • Perfect Match Premium Automotive Paint (with colors chosen by exact vehicle make and model, when available)
  • Primer Sealer
  • Sandable Primer
  • Scratch Fix All-in-1 Exact Match Automotive Touch-Up Paint
  • Scratch Seal Automotive Clear Sealer Pen
  • Self-Etching Primer
  • Universal Touch Up

Which of these you need depends on the type of scratch you’re trying to repair. If you’re not sure, we strongly recommend contacting Dupli-Color directly and asking for product guidance. Consider taking a few pictures of the scratch. From there, they can tell you which products are most appropriate.

Remember, it will take a lot of work to fix any mistakes. If you’re not 100% sure you’re doing the right thing, don’t push ahead – slow down and ask an expert. Repairing the scratch can wait.

A Brief History of The Sherwin-Williams Company

Sherwin-Williams has been in business since 1866 when Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams started their paint company. The company is most famous for its line of architectural paints, and it currently operates more than 4000 stores dedicated to providing them.

Its other divisions aren’t as known outside of the businesses they serve, but the Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes segment of their businesses produces a wide variety of finishes, refinishes, and touch-up products for much of the market. This segment of their operations includes more than 200 branches, mostly in areas heavy on automobile production and repair.

The overall company employs about 52,000 people, and it’s on the Fortune 500 list as one of the largest companies in America. Their most recent major acquisition was finalized in 2017 when Sherwin-Williams acquired Valspar (previously the sixth-largest paint company in the world) in a deal worth roughly $9 billion.

How To Fix Paint Scratches

How to Fix Paint Scratches with Dupli-Color

To fix paint scratches the correct way, follow these steps.

Safety First

Put on the proper hand, face, and eye protection, and leave them on through this entire process. Proper protection should fully cover the areas in question (including extra-wide goggles or some equivalent). Also, get a 12-inch ruler (or another measuring device at least that long).

Check the temperature

DupliColor should only be applied when the temperature is between 60 and 95 degrees. Paint in the morning or early afternoon, but avoid direct sunlight. If necessary, set up a sheet or something else to block direct light. Make sure any light-blocking things you use don’t drop the temperature too far.

Make sure the area is well ventilated

You should not apply Dupli-Color inside your garage or any similar space. Ideally, you’ll be entirely outside.

Take five deep breaths

You might mistakes if you start rushing through this process. By slowing down and focusing on doing things correctly, you can avoid any costly or embarrassing situations.

Start preparing the surface area

Begin by using hot water and soap to clean the surface area you’ll be painting. This will remove problems like road salt, bird droppings, and mud – even the bits that you can’t see. Remember, the fact that it looks clean doesn’t mean it really is.

Continue cleaning the surface area

After using soap, switch to a Wax and Grease remover and apply as directed. This will get rid of tougher contaminants like road tar, silicone, wax, and grease. These won’t go away if you only use hot water and soap, so it’s essential to use both types of cleaners.

Remove any rust or corrosion

If corrosion remains after your cleaning process, you may need to use a special rust remover to clean the area. Try to avoid getting this cleaner on the rest of the paint unless it explicitly states it’s safe to do so.

Clean it again if needed

You don’t want to leave rust remover on the surface area, so clean it off as directed.

Scuff any glossy surfaces

Paint in general does not bond well to a glossy surface. Use sandpaper with an abrasiveness between P120 and P150 to get it appropriately primed. If you’re repairing a scratch on a corner or other unusually-shaped area, consider buying a sanding sponge or a sander with a pointed end. Steel wool is an acceptable substitute. Use a dry cloth to wipe off any leftover sanding dust. Do this even if you can’t see any dust remaining.

Mask off the rest of the area

This will protect the rest of your car from stray, unwanted paint. Make sure you also have plastic on the ground to catch anything that falls. Remember, even a single speck in the wrong place could discolor things – and once you see it, you’ll never be able to forget it.

Take five more deep breaths

This is the point where most people start rushing again – after all, we’ve done this much prep, and we haven’t even started! We want to avoid mistakes, though, so take a few more deep breaths and repress the urge to go too quickly.

Double-check the type of paint you’re trying to apply

Enamel paints need to be applied in layers, but you only have a window of one to two hours in which to apply each layer properly. If you wait any longer between each layer, you’ll need to wait an entire week for it to cure properly. Anything else could lead to it wrinkling or lifting off entirely. Lacquers don’t have a re-coat window.

Double-check the surface you’re painting on

Lacquer and enamel can be applied over themselves, and enamel can be used over lacquer. However, lacquer cannot be applied over enamel. It tends to lift the enamels off of the base surface unless the enamel has good integrity. If you’re using both types of paint, you may need to wait a week or more for the enamel to cure.

Shake your paint can for one minute

This will help to ensure that the paint is mixed correctly. Remember, many paints can separate into their component elements if they’re left unmoved for a while – and that’s extremely common with touch-up paints. When in doubt, shake it a little more.

Test the paint

You can do this on either a test surface or a piece of cardboard you have lying around. Using the ruler we told you to get in Step One, measure the distance from your can to the test surface. You should be 8-10 inches away. Practice at this distance (you don’t need to spray anything, just move the can) until you have a smooth, sweeping motion memorized.

Take five more deep breaths

We’re not rushing this project. It may feel like you’re doing everything except actually fixing the scratch, but our goal here is to do things correctly, not quickly.

Apply one light coat of paint to your vehicle

This is often referred to as the ‘tack coat.’ It’s not designed to actually change the color of the area you’re painting. Instead, it acts as a connective layer that helps the other, heavier coats bond properly to the surface.

Apply three medium coats

This is the main ‘body’ of your paint and serves to thicken up the first layer you applied.

Apply one heavy coat of paint

The coat shouldn’t be so heavy that the paint starts dripping, but it should be noticeably more substantial than the previous layer.

Apply three coats of clear

These serve as a layer of protection above the color paint of your vehicle – and while they’re present, mild abrasion won’t change the color of your car anymore.

If you’re wet sanding and buffing, wait 24-48 hours

This gives the paint time to dry and harden. If you start sanding too soon, you may cut into the color coat and ruin all of your hard work. Try to avoid driving anywhere unless you need to.

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