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Old 11-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #1
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How have YOU painted YOUR hardtop? *The Hardtop Guide

Hey everyone like the title says how have you painted your hard tops? What has worked and what hasn't? What do you think is best? A complete thread on this topic is missing so I hope you all can contribute. Links to good write ups would also be helpful!

I personally am looking to paint my hard top black to match the body, with near professional quality results. I bought a Yj top and did all fiberglass work to have it fit perfectly on my Tj, as well as some broken upper sliders cheap on ebay. I'm having a surprisingly hard time finding others who have painted their hard tops or done major touch ups on the body which is what I'd like to do. (Quoted at $1500 by multiple shops for hard top and upper sliders painted to match only on the outside, which I find unacceptable)

The Process (As I've already sanded considerably I'll omit that)
1. Primer
-It looks like an epoxy primer or urethane would be best to prime with from what I've read.
2. Paint
-A lot of folks seem to think krylon fusion a good paint choice for their hardtop (I am skeptical). Having put in a considerable amount of work so far I believe in going with the most durable and professional method. I'd like to choose a paint that matches and that will hold up
3. Clearcoat
-Haven't seen anyone discuss this in any detail. Obviously if anyone knows a highly scratch resistant clearcoat that can hold up to trail use it would be ideal, possibly even to go over the whole body with once I finish fixing all body scratches

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Old 11-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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As a custom painter by trade, I would pretty much ONLY use automotive grade paints. Krylon fusion is made for plastic...and since the hardtop is already painted, the proper steps were already taken to ensure good adhesion.

I'll admit, I just rattlecanned my a couple weeks ago to freshen it up quickly...and I left it right on the jeep and just masked off with some tape and painters plastic. I did use VHT epoxy paint which is black satin and self-priming as well as resistant to salt so figured I would see how it lasts over this winter....

Now, once I put the soft top on in the spring, here's how I will do it:
1. Prep the surface by scuffing it with a grey scuff pad then degrease
2. Apply black sealer (why sealer, because I can paint it wet on wet)
3. Black Base
4. Clearcoat! Yup, for sure....

I will probably add a flattening agent to the clear to give it a satin finish....may even use a matte clear and just hit it with enough coats till it develops a satin finish (more coats of matte clear, the more gloss....so with 4 coats of clear, I'd probably be satin to semi...might just need 3 coats.

The biggest reason I'd use clearcoat is for the UV protection, and would certainly hold up better and longer than a single stage black with clear mixed in...

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Old 11-06-2012, 01:27 PM   #3
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I washed mine, taped off the glass. Sprayed it with a few coats of Krylon Fusion (2-3 cans). Done.

Looks brand new!

Oh, and if I take the Jeep through low hanging paint scratching limbs, its a $5 fix to slap on a fresh coat.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:48 PM   #4
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Are there two kinds of Krylon Fusion? One for plastic and one regular?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:52 PM   #5
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Are there two kinds of Krylon Fusion? One for plastic and one regular?
Krylon: Products: Fusion for Plastic«

The revolutionary no-prep, superbond Fusion for Plastic« now makes painting plastic possible.

No sanding or priming required
Bonds easily to most plastics, PVC, resin and more
Fast dry; fully chip resistant after 7 days

For use with
Wood, Metal, Wicker, Wrought Iron, Plastic, Hard Vinyl, Glass, Plaster, Ceramic, Paper, Paper Mache
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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Dex - the problem is, the fusion is made to adhere right to plastic...in its bare form. If it's been painted...it's no longer plastic Sure, underneath it is...but the substrate itself, is no longer plastic, so you'd never to need to use fusion over something already painted...

Any paint will stick to any surface practically....at first....it's a matter of how long will it stay on? And without any UV protection, it will be prone to fading quickly too...
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:34 PM   #7
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Dex - the problem is, the fusion is made to adhere right to plastic...in its bare form. If it's been painted...it's no longer plastic Sure, underneath it is...but the substrate itself, is no longer plastic, so you'd never to need to use fusion over something already painted...

Any paint will stick to any surface practically....at first....it's a matter of how long will it stay on? And without any UV protection, it will be prone to fading quickly too...
Understood...but it sprays nice and even, it adhears to plastic and/or existing paint, and its durable. Simply works.

My point is that ya can have a $15 Fusion paint job that looks good....or you can have a $1000+ professional paint job that looks super awesome, but will bring tears and agony at the first nick/scratch. I personally prefer to spend $15 on Fusion and spend the $985 on something more functionally cool. But everyone has different spending priorities.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:52 PM   #8
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I used Fusion on mine inside and out 4-5 years ago. The outside did fade some. There were a few tiny areas that did chip/peel in aprticular in the groove around the side window. Probably due to overspray getting in there first. I redid the exterior a month or two ago.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:26 PM   #9
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sanded it down with 80 grit, then 150, then 220. masked off the windows and sprayed with rattlecan bedliner



Done:
it's muddy in these picture but came out really smooth in real life and matches the rest of my rig (fenders, mirrors, etc.)



i can take more pics that focus just on the hardtop when it stops raining if anyone wants
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:40 PM   #10
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i can take more pics that focus just on the hardtop when it stops raining if anyone wants
I would like to see some detailed pictures, did you clean after final sanding if so what did you clean it with?
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:47 PM   #11
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After the final sanding I was head to toe in paint dust. I literally looked like a coal miner. Used a compressor to blow off most of the dust and wiped it down with a wet cloth and then with mineral spirits. That is what I read about people using on their fenders and had success with it when I did mine. I did 2-3 coats and sanded out a couple runs and drips that I had. I also had to pick out a bunch of dead flies haha. Gave it one more coat and felt like it was good to go!
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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Nice how many can's and what brand did you use?
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #13
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I think I used around 5 cans of "Rust-oleum spray on bedliner", but it could have been a couple more.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
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For the finally cleaning I always use this stuff called final wipe. I cant remember who makes it I will have to look. But it works really well. Doesn't leave the film like mineral spirits does. I have really good luck soaking the floor all around the area I'm painting with water too. I soak it with a hose then let it sit for a half hour or so then soak it again and paint. I never have problems with dirt when I do that.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:08 PM   #15
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really nice work BEETLE, your TJ looks great.

i know the thread is about do-it-yourself jobs but i paid only $400 at a pro shop to repaint my hardtop in base coat-clear coat and it came with a lifetime warranty.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:45 PM   #16
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Those all look great! Looked into using some monstaliner on the outside (I just did the tub) but decided against that look.

I just talked to a cousin who owns a paint shop and he's got me pretty sold on some acrylic paint his buddy used to paint his hardtop about 5 years ago. It's held up really impressively and apparently doesn't need any clear coat or any primer. (he also informed me any paint works much better when used side by side with primer/ clearcoats of the same brand). So I'm going for it this friday, I'll include a writeup and pictures when it's done!
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:16 PM   #17
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I used Raptor Liner on mine. The write up is in my signature (the painting portion is in post #8).
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:49 PM   #18
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I used rustoleum (quart) mixed 50/50 rolled on with a high density roller.
I completely sanded it smooth and rolled then wet sanded and polished

When I first finished it

Last month when I installed it for winter


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Old 11-07-2012, 01:21 AM   #19
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Damn that rust oleum turned out awesome. If I didn't already have my paint bought I might be rethinking it, hope it turns out as nice as that
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:00 AM   #20
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These are some good tips. I'm still not sure what I am going to do with mine. I will make up my mind after I get the rest of the Jeep prepped and painted. When I do make up my mind I will post up my results also.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:34 AM   #21
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I have a 98 Sahara all white, hardtop, fenders etc.
I think I am going to have mine done professionally but need help deciding what color. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I was thinking tan, but not sure.
Thanks
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:15 PM   #22
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I have a 98 Sahara all white, hardtop, fenders etc.
I think I am going to have mine done professionally but need help deciding what color. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I was thinking tan, but not sure.
Thanks
Unless you just want a change, I'd keep it white. All white are few and far between and IMHO they just look good as they are.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:31 PM   #23
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Unless you just want a change, I'd keep it white. All white are few and far between and IMHO they just look good as they are.
yeah I am kind of getting sick of the all white jeep.
I saw a Sahara yesterday that was white but had a tan hardtop, to me that looked really good.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:53 AM   #24
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I found the O╩M color I want to use GG901PS
Jeepsareus.com sells 12OZ spray cans, how many cans do you think I will need?
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:01 PM   #25
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Probably at least 5 cans

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