Why the shop needs to blend colors


It can sound very strange for someone outside of the trade to hear an estimator tell them they need to be charged extra money for the color to be blended into the next panel. It almost sounds like a scam, however, blending is an absolutely necessary step in the refinish process. You should be more concerned if your not being charged, I’ll go over why blending is a very necessary operation in the refinish repair process.

It starts in the vehicle manufacturing factory, a giant vat filled with your car\’s paint. Now depending on where you are it can be applied in a variety of ways. You have your traditional human spraying, the more popular robot spraying or the ever-growing dispersion blade (imagine paint getting chopped threw a giant fan and landing on your car). So each method will produce a completely different color. Why you ask??? metallic paint gives off a different effect depending on how it is applied. If a metallic color is applied light or at a high pressure you will end up with the metallics at the top of the paint, reflecting more light and producing a lighter appearance. When the paint goes on too wet it lands with the metallics at the bottom, reflecting less light & producing a darker appearance. Other factors come in to play at the factory as-well such as what shift it was spayed on. If it was at the start of the day the metallics may have been a bit less consistent then at the end.

So let’s move on to the paint manufacturers. You have your car company going to BASF, PPG, Dupont, Sherwin Williams and many others saying here\’s a blob of paint for ya, enjoy! So now these companies have to try and recreate the color. But it can get to be even more fun! They also go on to say this blob of paint is only good for a vehicle built in Mexico, if it was built in the USA then you’ll need to use this blob, also the bumpers are painted in Canada so you may need this blob too. It can end up having the paint manufacturers produce 10 or more variants of that color that looked so simple.

Alright, now that the paint company has come up with 10 colors to chose from it’s up to the painter now. The painter often has to look at all 10 variants and decide which one looks the best, there is very little resource for them to pick it without looking at each chip. Let’s assume that the one in a million chance the painter has selected the 100% perfect matching paint to put on your car, what’s his next challenge? what pressure was it applied at? How wet? If he doesn’t apply that paint the exact same way the robot did it the color will not match! So, in case you think I’m kidding I’ll show you the difference you can get from the exact same batch of paint. One side is sprayed at a low pressure, the other at a high.

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This is a small portion of a painters frustration but the reason that you are being charged for a blend. When the color is blended into the next panel it just seamlessly transitions and you would never know that it was in reality a completely different color.

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