All types of metal are susceptible to some form of environmental damage. Rain, moisture, sunlight, oxidization, scratches, and chipping paint are just some of the examples our metallic belongings go through every day. Whether it is your car’s exterior or your favorite bronze sculpture, it is never a pretty sight to see it look bad, even after just sitting there. As a result, people look for solutions that could increase the life of their metallic possessions.
If you, too, are in the same boat, a metal clear coat can be the thing for you. It is something that you paint over metallic objects to create a protective layer. Here’s all you need to know about it.
What is a Metal Clear Coat?
The metal clear coat is a transparent or slightly opaque protective coating applied over metallic surfaces. It is usually made from a clear resin, such as acrylic, urethane, or epoxy, and mixed with a solvent and various other ingredients to give it the desired properties. It is often applied over the base paint in multiple layers.
The metal clear coat has superior bonding properties that make it stick firmly to metallic surfaces and provide long-term protection. Ultimately, it prolongs the life span of metal and keeps it looking new for a long time.
Metal clear coat is also used for sealing metal surfaces to prevent them from getting damaged from the inside. Metal coats can be transparent or have a hue with a glossy or matte finish, depending on the product you’re using it on. Things you can apply a metal coat on include:
- Vehicle bodies
- Metal furniture
- Metal sculptures
- Metal appliances
- Metal jewelry
- Metal ornaments
- Metal tools
Types of Metal Clear Coats
There are four main types of metal clear coats, each having its own characteristics and features.
|Clear Coat Type||Features and Functions|
|Topcoat||● Used as the last layer on a painted metallic surface
● Gives paint depth
|Turbo Coat||● Dries faster than other types of metallic coats
● Usually has a high-gloss look
|Glamour Coat||● Dries slower than other types of metallic coats
● Gives a more leveled appearance
● Provides stronger protection against moisture
|Higher Solids Coat||● Has a higher concentration of resin and a smaller concentration of solvent
● Has a thicker layer once the solvent evaporates
● Dries slowly and is usually more expensive than other types
Things to Consider in a Metal Clear Coat
There are certain features you need to consider before buying a metal clear coat.
Some clear coats have a specific tinge, while others are completely transparent. Depending on the surface you’re sealing, you must consider which coat you want. It is usually better to choose the transparent type, as finding the exact color match for the surface you’re coating can be difficult.
2. Gloss Level
Clear coats come in a matte and glossy finish. If you want a high-shine look when you’re done coating, get a clear coat with a gloss level rated more than 90 units.
3. Drying Time
Most clear coat brands have a drying time of 24-48 hours. However, it’s still safe to read about the specific product you’re buying because some clear coats, like higher solids coats, have a longer drying time.
Not all types of clear metal coats are compatible with all types of metallic surfaces. Make sure that the product you choose fits your needs and application.
5. Ease of Application
Some products come with a primer while others don’t. Similarly, some products have a spray nozzle, while you have to use a brush to apply others. Make sure to do research into different application methods to learn whether the product is easy to apply or not.
Not all clear coat products are equally durable. Some protect from outdoor conditions, while others are only suitable for indoor metallic objects. You can find out how durable a product is by checking whether it is rated “indoor” or “outdoor.”
7. Scratch Resistance
Metals are exposed to scratches throughout their lifetime. Therefore, choosing a clear coat product with a higher scratch resistance is always a good idea.
How to Apply Metal Clear Coat
To apply a metal clear coat, you will need the following materials:
- Clear metal coat
- Clean and dry cloths
- Sprayer, brush, or roller(depending on the metallic surface)
- Fine grit sandpaper (optional)
- Masking tape (optional)
Steps to Apply Metal Clear Coat
- Clean the metal surface thoroughly with a clean and dry cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.
- Use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly scuff the surface if it is excessively dirty or has chipping paint.
- Use masking tape to cover areas you don’t want to coat.
- Prepare the coat product as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Apply the product using smooth and even strokes when working with a brush or roller, or spray evenly without lingering too long in a particular spot.
- Wait 30-60 minutes before applying the next layer.
- Give the final layer 24-48 hours to dry completely.
- Make sure to apply the product in a closed but well-ventilated area so that no dust or debris gets trapped during the coating process.
Top Clear Metal Coat Brands
Instead of trying new products and failing to get the expected results, here are some of the most reliable and renowned metal coat brands you cannot go wrong with.
EverBrite is a comprehensive brand when it comes to clear coat products. They have an extensive product range for various clear coat applications. For example, the ProtectaClear product lineup is preferred for its tough and scratch-resistant jobs on metallic surfaces that go through a lot of wear and tear, such as railings.
On the other hand, their EverBrite product lineup is best suited for customers interested in a general-purpose clear coat for protection against rain, moisture, rust, sun, and salt damage.
Moreover, their products are self-leveling, eliminating the need to put in extra time to remove or smooth out any bumps in the coat. Their products are easy to work with and usually only require a brush or a sponge to apply. Overall, EverBrite is a renowned brand and offers products for almost all purposes and applications.
2. KBS Coatings
KBS Coatings is a reliable brand in the world of metal clear coat sealers. They have been developing such products for over 85 years. Most of their general-purpose products are known for their flexibility, durability, crack resistance, and the ability to retain a glossy finish for a long time.
Their DiamondFinish is popular for its single-layer feature. It is a self-leveling coat that doesn’t require the application of multiple layers. Generally, applying KBS products is straightforward and takes 24-48 hours to dry off.
SprayMax is a clear coat brand that deals exclusively in metal coating products that use a spraying mechanism. Their products are available in spray cans for an easy and quick application. Spray cans also eliminate the need for special spray gun equipment.
Their products are well-known for long-term sealing, repair, scratch resistance, and overall protection of metallic surfaces. The products dry out quickly (24 hours) and leave a glossy finish. Many customers prefer SprayMax over other products because the results resemble a professional paint job without too much work.
Make sure to wear a respirator mask when working with SprayMax products. It is also a good idea to sand down metallic surfaces before applying a SprayMax clear coat.
Krylon is one of the best clear coat sprays for metal. Like SprayMax, it also uses a spray mechanism. This brand features multi-purpose coating products that work on ceramics, plastic, glass, and metal. Consumers prefer Krylon because of its ease of application and quick drying time.
Krylon products offer a relatively matte finish and come in various colors. Their metallic clear coats are quite resistant to fading, making them one of the most durable products inthe market.
1. Can I use a metal coat on painted metal?
Yes, choose the product that can be used on painted metal, as some products are exclusively bare metal clear coats.
2. How long should you wait after applying a clear coat?
It is recommended to wait at least 24-48 hours for the clear coat to dry out completely. When applying multiple layers, wait at least 30-60 minutes before applying the next layer. Drying time can increase if relative humidity is high because in humid conditions paint takes more time than usual.
3. Is there a limit to the layers of clear coat you can apply?
Even though you can apply multiple layers of clear coat, it is best not to go overboard and stay under 3 to 4 layers.
4. Can you spray a clear coat over bare metal?
It depends on the product you’re using. Some metal clear coat spray products are safe to use over bare metal.
Whether you want to extend the life of your car or that BBQ smoker in your yard needs some protection, a metallic clear coat is an easy and reliable way to make it happen. Choosing one of the brands listed above will save you the time and money you’d otherwise spend looking for the perfect product. Regardless of the brand you choose, make sure to consider qualities such as durability, drying time, application and scratch resistance.