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Auto Body Paint

Qualified technician working on the auto body paintAutomotive Paint

Just as with household paints, auto body paints are not bought as ready mixed colours but are mixed from toners based on a formula. This is about where the similarities end as the additive choices and spraying decisions are much more complex than with house paint.

The colour coat is sprayed first and is followed, after some time drying, by a clear top coat to provide durability and protection.

Colour and appearance is largely determined by the toners used, but is also affected by spray gun pressure, distance from the gun the panel, the number of coats, the colour of the base primer coat and whether the surface being sprayed is plastic or metal.

For any given paint code, there can often be as many as 8 or 10 variant choices. If the same colour has been used by the manufacturer for several years, it will be certain to have many subtly different variants. The paint manufacturers work hard to research these variants and supply codes but even with this, a good result is as much art as it is science. Technical skill, knowledge and experience are all essential to properly applying the complex colours of today’s vehicles.


Sikkens Auto Wave Waterborne Paint

Waterborne automotive paint, which was being used in Europe in the early 2000s and came to Canada in 2007, is safer and more environmentally friendly than paints made with harsh solvents.

This paint has been mandated in Canada since 2012 but Tsawwassen Collision saw the importance of this cleaner paint as soon as it became available and in 2007 we were one of the first BC shops to make the change to waterborne paint, with the Sikkens Auto Wave system from Akzo Coatings.

The odour from the evaporation of the volatile solvents in the previous generations of paint was very pronounced, with obvious environmental damage. With water based paint the effects on both the environment and the health of the front line workers using the material have been dramatically reduced

At Tsawwassen Collision we are proud to have been an early adopter and industry leader in this clean paint technology.

Tsawwassen Collision auto body repair paint

Before the repair

Tsawwassen Collision auto body repair paint final

After the repair!


Junair Spray Booth

Junair Spray BoothWe were able to use our old technology spray booth for the first year of waterborne paint use, but by the end of 2008 we could see that we could not meet production requirements without a significant upgrade.

Solvent based paint, which was in use prior to 2007, can be used with moderate heat and air movement with productivity benefits gained with high heat at the drying stage.

Waterborne paint drying requires the evaporation of water and heat is not enough for this. A high volume of air flow is also needed and, while this could be accomplished with retrofits to older spray booths, the decision was made in 2008 to move to the leading edge of spray booth technology with a Junair 4 spray booth, designed specifically for waterborne paint. Junair is a British manufacturer with their North American spray booths made under license in California.

This was installed in early 2009 with a complete reworking of the electronic control systems and software in 2015 bringing it up to very current Junair 5 standards.

Waterborne was a revolutionary change in automotive paint, but since then the changes have been evolutionary and spray booth technology has not changed significantly. It is anticipated that our Junair booth, which was at the upper end of quality and features in 2009, will be fully functional for at least another 10 years.