When you take your car in for service, you expect a great paint job. A high-quality body shop will meet your expectations by delivering a dust-free car with the new color matching the old perfectly. To assure a good job and to comply with environmental regulations, body shops typically perform the painting in a paint booth, use proper equipment and technique, and make sure that their workers wear protective clothing. Some body shops try to skirt these requirements to lower costs and prices, but the results are not worth the so-called "savings."
Why Use A Paint Booth?
There are several good reasons:
Less dust. A body shop generates a significant amount of dust in the process of sanding car parts. Technicians can remove dust from paint by wiping the surface with a tack cloth and then applying several thin coats rather than fewer thick ones. The best way to control dust is to use a paint booth that is:
- Properly vented with filters in place
- Kept at the proper pressure and climate
- Set up so that entrance and exit doors, access doors, and concrete floors are sealed
- Clean and free of unnecessary items, sand, moisture, and dirt
- Closed to unnecessary personnel to prevent traffic in and out
- Manned by a worker in a lint-free painter suit and head covering
Better quality. Equipped with fluorescent lighting attached right outside the booth, the painting technicians can apply a consistent paint job. They can spot flaws or places they missed. Many paint booths are heated for better curing of paints.
Prevents overspray. Proper painting technique assures that paint does not spread to parts of the car not to be painted by masking it to prevent accidental overspray. The paint booth should have a downdraft system with exhaust fans installed in the floor to pull paint particles away from unwanted areas of the vehicle. A downdraft system also sucks up loose, floating dust. Using a properly vented paint booth saves shop owners money on paint, solvents, and supplies.
Contains and reduces toxic fumes . Body shops are moving toward paints and finishes with lower VOC content, but many products contain toxic chemicals that are very harmful to the workers who apply them. They also pose a hazard when they are airborne. A paint booth with proper ventilation through a downdraft, side draft, or cross draft system pulls paints fumes up through high stacks and away from employees, neighboring buildings, and people.
Is safer. A properly designed paint booth uses filters that workers change often to keep the shop in compliance with EPA standards for 98% particulate removal efficiency. It has sprinklers and fire extinguishers in the booth to stop fires and reduce damage to cars and employees. Ideally, the body shop uses a mechanical paint gun washing system that limits technician contact with solvents, reduces solvent usage, and reduces the amount of the VOC and HAP emissions once spray guns are removed from the booth.
Only Trust A Shop With A Paint Booth
Most municipalities require any body shop to have a properly installed paint booth if they use more than a certain number of gallons per week. Some small shops and fly-by-night operators may try to get around the regulations. For best results when you are seeking a body shop, make sure that the shop has a permitted, well-equipped paint booth. Your car, the workers, and the environment will be better for it.