Buffing Spray Paint – How? And Is It Worth Your Time?

Painting something is not as simple as it may seem at the first glance. You may have watched a video tutorial and seen how those experienced guys just take a spray can and make one coat after another. Then they proudly show an ideal finish that is smooth, shiny, and mirroring. But will you be able to get this result given you have little or no experience?

One of the stages of painting is buffing. Today, we’ll talk about buffing spray paint and will see if this works well. What will you need to do to get a wonderful result? We’ll also take a look at the list of tools you may need. Of course, spray paint is not always the best decision, but sometimes you may achieve great results with little cost.

Here, we’ll be talking about the following:

  • How to spray paint something and not regret what you did?
  • Buffing spray paint – is it at all possible?
  • What do you need to correctly buff spray paint?
  • What problems can you have when trying to buff after spraying paint?

Let’s get started!

Spray painting something – is it hard or not?

First of all, you should understand how to spray-paint something and get good results. If you apply paint without giving a clue how it should be done, buffing will not help you for sure. Everything matters in the process of painting – starting with the choice of spray paint and surface preparation.

Be careful with all those tips and guidelines you find online. We’ve watched a couple of video tutorials just to see what people advise and we suppose all those tutorials are useless. You will get a bumpy and uneven surface with a lot of dust on it unless you follow all the simple rules of painting. Even if it’s spray-painting, you should obey some guidelines.

Here are some of the base requirements:

  • always buy good materials – you may choose Motip paint, Bosny, Abro, and other brands but not cheap paint from unknown manufacturers;
  • paint is not everything you need – think of primers, fillers, sandpaper of different grit, solvents to clean off bad spots, etc.;
  • invest in surface preparation – this is the most important step you should take, level the surface, degrease it, prime it, and let it dry completely before applying paint;
  • get acquainted with a spray can and how to use it – buy a spare can and try spraying paint on something else first, not directly on your project;
  • use primers – unfortunately, many beginners forget about primers and then they see their fresh paint flaking off after just ten days or something;
  • never apply thick coats of paint when you use spray cans, keep them as thin as possible to avoid problems;
  • never paint any important surface outside or in a dusty room, prepare your room for painting and think of proper ventilation.

A lot of important guidelines are to be remembered. You should also think about the type of paint you need. For example, car body parts should be painted metallic, while a wooden project will require absolutely different paint types. Surface preparation stages will also depend on the type and the initial condition of your project.

We believe you need some help from a professional if you have never used spray paint. If you have the experience of painting with a paint gun though, you shouldn’t find it difficult to use a spray paint can. Just get a spare can to exercise a little and then get the work done.

Is it possible to buff spray paint?

Unfortunately, spray paint is almost never as good as you want it to be. The surface is not that even and it can have some dust on it. Also, the color may not be very homogeneous because of the different thicknesses of coats. This paint is never as shiny as you expect and the natural decision would be to buff it to make it look better.

Actually, you can and should buff spray paint, but the main idea is to make it very carefully. Otherwise, you may lose one or two coats.

Buffing is actually taking off a tiny part of the surface paint to make it look better and to deal with some minor imperfections. Don’t expect that buffing will help you deal with major issues like scratches, dust, color imperfections, wavy surface, etc. Buffing is not a magical process, it just helps you correct some minor things and improve the way your project looks after painting.

Of course, buffing will only work if you know how to do it. Otherwise, you may even make things much worse than they were before.

How to buff a spray-painted surface? Our guideline

We’ve done a lot of painting projects and we know how to deal with paint. But we can’t guarantee you that after using the guidelines given below you will be able to improve your project very much. This depends on the quality of paint coating, type of paint, type of surface, and also on how strictly you follow the guidelines.

We also know that incorrect buffing will just destroy the looks of your project and lead to repainting. So, if you aren’t sure that you can do it, better have it done by professionals or at least ask an experienced friend to help you with this.

So, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Buy a proper buffing paste. You may ask in a store or just ask in some forums which kind of past will suit your project. The unsuitable paste is one of the common problems that may destroy the paint job.
  2. Choose a way you’ll be buffing. Using a buffing machine is the best choice. But you may use a manual buffing technique for this. Depending on a chosen way, buy needed rags or other accessories.
  3. Try the materials on a small area of your project to see how they do. After that, you may buff the entire project.
  4. Rub the paste or use the machine to spread it all over the surface. Don’t overbuff or you’ll overheat the paint. Don’t push too hard, or you may make new scratches.
  5. After using the initial paste, use the second paste that is aimed to create a glossy finish. This one will take you less time.
  6. Then, you will just need to wash the project with water and soap and see if you have the result you were hoping for.

You may see that the process is much easier than that of buffing the professional paint job. But you need to do everything correctly, otherwise, you shouldn’t even start this. Unfortunately, the majority of rookies will burn their paint jobs and then will have to repaint the project or at least sand off some coats of paint.

Remember that the quality of materials is important. You may choose something in a local paint store or online. But always pay attention to customer reviews and prices. We don’t believe that the cheapest product may be OK for your project. Respect your job and don’t risk the way your project looks for the sake of sparing a couple of dollars.

What are the most common mistakes when buffing spray paint?

  1. Bad conditions. You may not achieve good results without proper lighting. Buffing should be completed in a proper area without much dust and with no risks of a particle getting under your buffer.
  2. Cheap materials. Even if your project is not that expensive and important, never try to spare some money when you are buying buffing materials and tools. You will save $10 but will have to spend another day repainting the project.
  3. High-speed buffing. Never use this technique with spray paint. This will undoubtedly burn the paint and make you redo all the job. Also, you may take off all coats of paint when trying to speed-buff your project.
  4. Highly abrasive paste. Very often, beginners use inappropriate paste for buffing their projects. This means they will take off a lot of paint and then the coating will not be thick enough to protect the surface from any damage.
  5. Not cleaning the surface properly. A good cleaning is important. If some paste is left on the surface, it will make the paint cloudy or even matte over time.
  6. Expecting perfect results. Unfortunately, spray painting will never deliver good results. If you spray paint your project, never expect it to look like a professionally painted surface.

Final words

We support the idea of buffing paint after it’s applied. But with spray paint, it may be difficult to do correctly and with good results. The key to success, in this case, is not to overdo the process. Avoid buffing it too much or you will dig deep into the paint and destroy the project or at least will need to repaint it. But still, good buffing will make the project look much better.