We observed how Ramos performed the entire PPG process of repainting our Corvette parts with Envirobase HP from searching the database for the correct color formula, to prep, to final clearcoat. The entire process was completed in a mere two hours! After a break for lunch, the clearcoated pieces were not only dust-free ("dust-free" is a term meaning that the surface has hardened enough so that dust will not embed into the finish), but the parts were ready to be handled and installed.

While paint and body shop fees can vary depending on the type of shop, its workflow, and even location, the cost of paint materials is something that we can compare somewhat objectively. The total cost of the Omni materials for painting the aftermarket C6 spoiler came to $88.54 from our local automotive paint retailer. This included one quart of the Omni urethane base color (single-stage, no clearcoat required), one pint of hardener, and one quart of reducer. The material cost for the same spoiler from the same retailer for Envirobase came to $376 for one pint of waterborne basecoat paint, one gallon of 494 reducer (if 595 reducer was needed, add an additional $15), one gallon of EC700 clear (no smaller size available). And one quart of ECH7080 medium hardener. Is the Envirobase system worth the additional $300 for this small paintjob? In terms of reproducing the OE finish with a precise color match, absolutely!

The Right Tools For The Job
It's probably safe to say that most car guys share a unique addiction to tools. We all love to get new tools! And while having the specialized equipment designed for the application of waterborne paints is not an absolute necessity, we certainly won't pass up an opportunity to expand on our ever-growing collection of tools.

Safety First
As always, safety and health should be of primary concern and having the proper safety gear for all types of painting is an absolute must. While waterborne paints are generally considered safer than solvent-based coatings, no paint is absolutely safe so precautionary measures need to be taken throughout the entire process. You should always consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product that you are using, and read the supplied product information sheet from the paint manufacturer to make yourself aware of any potential health hazards. A painter's safety gear includes an NIOSH-approved respirator or positive-pressure fresh-air breathing system, eye protection, gloves, and a paint suit. NIOSH is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and all safety gear that meets the institute's approval will be clearly marked so. Respirator masks should always be fitted properly to the face, and those who of you who sport a beard or goatee should use a full-face hood. Respirator masks should always be stored in an air-tight storage bag, and fresh cartridges should be installed prior to use. If you detect any trace of a chemical odor with a respirator on, stop immediately and repair or replace your mask.

Personal protective gear should always be worn during all phases of the paint process including preparation and sanding, paint mixing, spraying, and gun cleaning.

As you can see in the accompanying photos, PPG instructor Frank Ramos wears the appropriate safety gear during each phase of painting. The PPG Training Center is a state-of-the-art facility and their paint department is equipped with the Sata Vision 2000 positive-pressure respirator for students and instructors alike. Wearing a full suit and respirator with belt attachment may take a little getting used to, but you should never compromise your safety or health for comfort.