Thoughts on the DIY sideskirt painting from a n00b
I've never done any painting in my life and decided to paint my sideskirts, so I thought I share some observations and tips I came across.
1. things shine b/c they are smooth. Sand the skirts with 80, 220, 600 grit sandpaper and be very careful to sand out scratches, or fill them in with bondo or any filling material b/c they will show up on the paint. Also, no matter how well you sand remember that there is DUST in your garage. Try cleaning the air in your garage with your household air cleaning unit. Tiny particles of dust will be very noticeable up close.
2. Avoid the temptation to go back and correct a painting mistake. The key is painting thin as many of you have read on websites and posts about DIY sideskirt painting. But it can't be stressed enough that if you screw up and miss a spot, DO NOT go back to try to fill it in. If you miss a spot with primer it is ok b/c primer is naturally sticky but paint runs.
3. Your primer must say "flexible adhesive" somewhere on it. Your sideskirts are made out of plastic and requires different preparation than metal.
4. I used 3 strokes. I held the can 6 inches away for a stroke to the top and bottom, and a foot away for the stroke to the middle. Turned out fine.
5. I bought a can of primer, 2 cans of paint, and 2 cans of clearcoat from paintworldin.com , it came out to about 50 dollars (i also bought the sandpaper) This is more than enough for 2 coats of primer, 5 coats of paint, 5 coats of clearcoat with more paint still in the can.
6. The whole process is fairly time consuming. i sanded progressively over a period of 2 days and painted on the 3rd. If you don't have a rotary/power sander sanding will be very labor intensive. Expect a total of more than 3 hours for a good sand. Then in between each layer of paint expect waiting 15 minutes. So I used 12 coats, took 3 hours.
7. Masking. There is a little black ridge on top of the sideskirts. I masked this off b/c I wanted to have a little black trim. Big mistake. It just looks like a gap between the skirts and the car. Remember to mask off the wheels. If you overspray on something you can always sand it off, but sand it off ASAP and don't wait until all coats are dry like I did and have to sand through the clearcoat as well.
well, all in all it turned out better than I expected. For a lot of it you would have to be really up close (3 feet away and explicitly staring at the sideskirts) to be able to tell it did not come with the car. But there were places which were turned out suberbly well, and when I hold a worklight up to it I can't tell the reflection in it from the reflection in my factory door paint.
A lot of places will paint your skirts quality for under 100 dollars if you get an introduction, so it's up to you whether the 50 dollar savings is worth the effort.
'03 White WRX