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Can You Clear Coat Over Primer? (Quick Answers)

There is no right way of painting. It is a form of art that you may bend and twist to cater to your needs. Various surfaces require various ways of painting. Primer is required, as well as clear coats. But can you clear coat over a primer? Scroll down to know more!

Can you clear coat over primer?

Clear coating over primer is not recommended by car owners and professionals. First of all, the primer and clear coat are not made for each other. Primer is an adhesive that needs a topcoat or paint. Clearcoat is not a paint and lacks pigment. However, clearcoat can seal the porous primer.

The purpose of the primer is very straightforward. Primers set up surfaces for the topcoat. Primers promote adhesion. Primers are usually applied to metals because it is hard for paint to stick on the metal surface.

Paints do not stick that well to metals, so you need some workings to do. For better adhesions and longer-lasting results, a primer is mandatory before painting.

On the other hand, a clear coat adds overall protection to the topcoat, and it also saves your materials from direct exposure to UV rays.

The question is how effective clear coat over primer is, or can you even clear coat over primer. It is not recommended everywhere as a clear coat is not a sort of paint, and you need paint to cover the primer.

While some easy fixes are not visible to the eyes or exposed that much, you can apply a clear coat over the primer. But it will be discouraged by many. Now let’s see if you can clear coat the following primers.

Epoxy primer:

You can clear coat over epoxy primer. But the results will not be as polished as using paint. The clear coat will seal the primer, but it will not provide the absolute rigidity of paint. The glossy feel will be absent when you clear coat over primer.

Black primer:

Like epoxy primer, the result would be the same with clearing black primer. You will get a transparent layer of clear coat on the black primer that seems pleasant to some eyes if applied well.

Gray primer:

Clear coating is not always advised, even if you are looking for cheap, easy fixes or you want to preserve the color. You can put a clear coat over gray primer, but it is always recommended to use a top coat in between.

Red oxide primer:

It would be best not to put a clear coat on red oxide primer. Red oxide primer does not go well with the pigment and components of a clear coat. Unlike paint, a clear coat does not have pigment, so it does not bond with red oxide primer.

Can you spray clear coat over primer? Do you have to put a topcoat over primer?

Generally, you should not spray clearcoat over primer. But it can be done in some cases. Such as areas that can do without the extra layer of shine. The outcome will not be as good as if it had a top coat in between.

Primers are undercoats or prep coats that are essential before you do any painting job. Primer is the first coat that is directly applied to any surface. Primer provides the subsequent coats with firm adhesion.

Topcoats or paints may not adhere well to various surfaces. The primers are adhesion agents, bonding paint with various porous surfaces. And topcoat does not stick well to surfaces like metal, plastics, and porous surfaces.

You should always put a top coat over a primer because that is how painting projects are completed. Any paint will do the work, and if you want to preserve the color of your primer, you can use satin paints.

What happens if you clear coat over primer? Why should I not clear coat primer?

Clear coating over primer can leave you with much unwanted complications. You might feel you can cut on cost and time and clear coat over the primer you just applied. But doing so can lead you to many issues.

Primer has a standard color, but there are tinted ones that more or less give the vibe of a topcoat. If you are satisfied with the color of your tinted primer and you think only clear coating will do the job for you, you will be wrong.

The shine that you expect from applying a topcoat will not be available with just using a clear coat. And as no topcoat is applied, the clear coat will fade away with time, exposing your car to corrosion. Here are more reasons not to clear coat primer.

Clearcoat is not paint:

A clear coat is meant to be applied on the topcoat or paint, not a primer. The materials of paint make it resistant to natural phenomena and make the underlying surface safe from damage. Clearcoat lacks these properties.

Dull look:

The primer and clear coat do not have the glossy look of paint. But you have to consider the resell value, and people might not view clear coat over primer as acceptable.

Less bonding, more trouble:

The primers do not bond well with clear coats, so the layer fades out, making your surface more susceptible to corrosion and water damage.

How soon can you clear coat over epoxy primer? How many layers of clear coat can I apply over primer?

Primer takes time to dry fully. As there are variations in types of primers, the drying time also varies. Primers take different times on different surfaces.

Primer is essential when you paint on metals. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour if the weather condition is suitable. Primer dries quickly in warm and sunny conditions. If you have wind, then the primer will dry in 30 minutes.

However, if you have cold weather, you will need a little more time. The time may range from three hours to even a whole day. For colder regions, leave the primed surface to dry overnight.

Clearcoats provide you UV resistant capabilities. So, it is normal to assume that the more layers, the better. However, you do not need more than two to three layers of clear coat.

Leave your clear coat to dry fully before you apply more layers. 2 millimeters thickness is enough that you get after spraying two layers of clear coat.

How to apply clear coat over primer?

Make sure you have safety masks and glasses before doing any spraying projects.

Locate the surface:

Make sure which surface you want to put the primer on. Locate the position and isolate the surface if possible because you will have to deal with many peculiar angles.

Cover the surroundings:

If the place you want to primer cannot be isolated, adequately cover the surroundings with cloth and tapes. If you can isolate specific parts or surfaces, it will be better for painting.

Clean the surface:

Before applying the primer, clean up the whole surface. If any dust particle remains on top of the surface, it may make the painted surface unclean. Use alcohol spray or other cleaning agents.

Select proper primer:

There is a large number of primers available in the market. It is better to use a tinted primer. Tinted primer has a lighter shade, and the coat will ensure the coating is flawless.

Choose an open place:

Proper safety is needed for the painter. You should always wear safety goggles and a mask to keep yourself safe from hazardous chemicals used in primers. Choose an open place to keep the area out of aerosols.

Dry the Primer:

The primer takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to dry properly. If the primer is not dried thoroughly, the clear coating will not be set on the primer correctly. And it will not provide enough glaze to the surface.

What clear coat to use over primer?

You have to consider some features such as drying time gloss level before buying your preferred clear coat.

While you make a list of clearcoats that match your preference, you should also consider the UV and scratch protection that clear coat promises to provide.

These factors are essential for protecting the color of your surface. Clear coats do not contain any pigments, unlike paint, but they do alter the color in some cases. You should keep it in mind before applying a clear coat.

Here are some of the top-picked clear coats across industries.

  • Rust-Oleum Automotive Autobody Paint
  • Dupli Color Clear Exact-Match Automotive Topcoat
  • KBS Coatings Diamond Finish Clear Coat
  • Speedokote Automotive Clear Coat
  • VHT Clear Coat Wheel Paint Can
  • Rust Bullet Clear Protective Coating
  • Rust-Oleum Scratch & Chip Repair
  • USC Spray Max 2K Glamour

Final Thoughts 

Clear coating over primer is often frowned upon because this is not what you see in everyday practices. However, your decision could be right if you want to save some time and cost. You should always consult professionals before undertaking such projects.