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Browse Tech Tips > How to Properly Paint Interior Components

How to Properly Paint Interior Components

Anyone can spray some new paint on a worn and faded interior panel. In fact, it almost always looks great just after you spray it. But, if you want that finished product to hold up over time and look the same a year from now...then follow our proven steps.

Clean, Clean, Clean1) If you are painting a brand new panel, then you can usually skip this step. A paint job is only as good as the preparation done prior to spraying those final coats. Years of cleaners and shine products take their toll on interior plastic and vinyl. These products soak into the panels and create a barrier that paint will not properly adhere to. Scrub the panel with a scotch-brite style sponge and an industrial cleaner such as Purple Power (any brand cleaner/degreaser should suffice). Use some elbow grease to make sure the panel is completely free from those years of Armor-All.Tech Tip Image 307.jpg
Scuff It UpNow that it's clean, we must create a rough surface. This will allow the paint to stick better and remove any remaining residue. Scuff all areas with a purple Scotch-Brite pad until the surface is dull.Tech Tip Image 307_93.jpg
Clean AgainNow it's time to remove the dust and debris from the scuffing process. For the vinyl armrest in this example, we used SEM's Vinyl Prep (Dixie part # DM00184). If you are prepping a plastic component, then you should use SEM's Plastic Prep (Dixie Part # DM00183). Spray the piece and then wipe with a lint free cloth.Tech Tip Image 307_66.jpg
Promote Good AdhesionA coat of adhesion promoter helps your new paint stick for years to come. The can of promoter you use will have instructions but we spray 1 light coat and then spray a heavy 2nd coat 5-10 minutes later. Allow your 2nd coat to cure for at least 20 minutes prior to spraying paint.Tech Tip Image 307_8.jpg
Let's Spray Some PaintFor this armrest, we sprayed Carmine Red (DM00181 DARKRED). Spray a light mist coat on your 1st pass. The paint should be sprayed at 50°-80°. At this temperature range, the paint should dry fairly quick allowing 2nd and 3rd coats to be applied.Tech Tip Image 307_47.jpg
We're in the Home StretchThe amount of coats of paint will depend on the color you are spraying and the color of the piece. Light paint of dark components will need more coats. For this armrest, we sprayed 3 coats, each coat heavier than the previous. For some added protection, spray a coat of clear over the finished product in order to protect it for years to come. We like to use a matte finish clear as you can always shine it up with some Armor-All down the road.Tech Tip Image 307_42.jpg