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The Difference Between Automotive Paints

The Difference Between Automotive Paints
Helping you decide which paint is right for you.

A fresh paint job can give your vehicle a new lease on life. Besides making your vehicle look AMAZING, a new coat of paint will protect the metal from corrosion and damage. All paints are not created equal; here is a breakdown of the various types of automotive paint.

Acrylic Lacquer

This is the oldest type of automotive paint still used today. Acrylic lacquer is inexpensive and easy to use, but is far less durable than modern paints and won’t stand up to the elements for long. While an economical choice in the short run, you may regret the choice in a couple years.

Acrylic Enamel

Unlike its brother, acrylic lacquer, acrylic enamel is a very durable paint. With proper maintenance, acrylic enamel is a favourite among professionals for its longevity and lustre. Unfortunately, acrylic enamel is notoriously difficult to apply and should not be used by amateurs.


Urethane paint boasts a beautiful finish and fantastic resistance to environmental factors, which are the two main reasons for its increasing popularity. However, the toxicity of urethane paint makes it a serious hazard for amateurs and urethane paint is considerably more expensive than both types of acrylic paint.


The new kid on the block, water-based paint has quite a few things going for it. People love how easy this paint is to apply, and the paint can even be applied directly on top of an existing paint job (which reduces the need for sanding). Water-based paint is made slightly less user-friendly by requiring a urethane clear coat to maintain durability. And, unfortunately, water-based paint is only available in a limited selection of colours.

Selecting which type of paint to use can be confusing, fortunately, Island Detail & Colour is here to help walk you through the process. We will make sure that the paint you choose will suit your specific needs and have you admiring your vehicle for years to come. Give us a shout any time.

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