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Shading in practice

Shading in practice

Shading is a painting method which allows for smooth and practically unnoticeable passage from the old surface to the new, freshly-painted surface. Shading is extremely important when reconstructing painted surfaces, since absolute 100% color matching and painting “up to the edge” is nearly impossible. 

Painting techniques have a significant impact on the final paint color obtained. Even when using identical paint mixtures, two different paint technicians will create different shades (Fig. A – painted element, Figs. B and C – neighboring element, Fig. B – shaded surface).

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Taking into account the factors which influence the final color of the surface, paint technicians have found from experience that the best color matching method is shading.

When should shading be used?

To put it simply, shading should be used to avoid visible differences between repaired elements of the car body and the remaining elements which are not to be painted.  

Shading is essential, as factories use different paint suppliers, and the paint rooms of these very same manufacturers are often located in different countries.

Current methods of factory painting may cause differences in color throughout the car body, as can be demonstrated with a spectrophotometer. Analysis with this device will show differences in color for different parts of the body. 

How to begin?

First of all, the preparation of the surface plays a key role. Surfaces should be cleaned with a silicone remover, and next matted with a grey abrasive pad, preferably with the addition of matting agent paste.

When the surface is prepared and the remaining elements have been masked off, painting work can begin. The choice of equipment is very important – the best results are achieved with HLVP guns fitted with a manometer which allows control of spray pressure. Of course, the equipment must be in good working order, with the correct settings for the shape of the sprayed paint stream.

The next step in the preparation of the surface to be shaded is to apply a resin coat (e.g. Profix CP 998), thanks to which the particles of paint, particularly in the case of metallic paints, will blend smoothly in the painted surface so that the passage from painted to unpainted sections will not be noticeable.

What needs particular attention?

The resin which is sprayed on the surface may not be allowed to dry out, which means that painting work must be done without breaks. Time is the enemy of perfect shading.  

Remember to reduce spray pressure gradually – too sudden reduction of pressure may result in the metallic particles “standing up”, which will negatively influence the final appearance of the paint work.

When paint work is being done of large surfaces, we must remember to remove the paint dust with the aid of an anti-static cloth.


What mistakes most often occur in shading work?

  • A common mistake is the use of excessively high pressure, resulting in the metallic particles „standing up”, unnecessarily highlighting the crossover area from painted to unpainted surface.  
  • Shading may be visible if resin is not applied. This is especially true in the case of light colors, such as silver or gold.  
  • A serious mistake is skipping the thinner test before beginning the painting process. The shaded surface must always be tested to ensure that it is stable and fully hardened.  

When fading into the painted surface, avoid painting „up to the line” so that the borders of the newly painted surface are not restricted to one small area, but rather blended out using the natural shapes and edges of the body.