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Old 07-17-2018, 01:48 PM   #1
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Skool Me on the Process of Painting

Ok, I'm going to look at a bus tomorrow and if all goes well I will be coming home with said bus.

In Michigan, you need to paint the bus another color other than yellow. I'm planning on painting it a light steel blue color.

I am relatively handy, but I don't know the correct process for prepping and painting a bus. Assuming there isn't any rust on the bus, do I just have to scuff it up to prepare the surface to accept primer? If there is rust, I assume I need to sand down to bare metal, if it's bad add bondo? What primer should I use? After priming what type of paint should be used? I plan to use white on the roof, is there a different type of paint to use on the roof?

Thanks for the skooling.
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:17 PM   #2
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You're gonna get 10 different answers from 8 different people on this one.

I painted my roof white with rustoleum semi gloss. It really reflects. You for sure want to avoid being on the roof when the sun is out.

My short bus, I gave if a bath and painted right over the yellow. Rustoleum again, flat. Rolled and brushed it on, three coats, i think it came out great.

My big bus I had to do a LOT of prep work and honestly I could have spent another year doing more. Eventually I had to paint it. I started with a roller but ended up buying a sprayer. I put 5 gallons of paint on it in under 2 hours the other day.

Always use oil based enamel, or you'll end up rusting pretty fast. Lots of people will suggest additives or elastomeric paint for the roof, you get similar results just doing multiple coats or white.
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Old 07-17-2018, 05:16 PM   #3
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The biggest part of painting is the prep work.

Thoroughly wash the beast.
Mask off what you do NOT want painted.
Scuff the surface with greenie pads.
Run a tack cloth over everything.
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:20 PM   #4
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I am getting ready to do my paint job and going by what I read here that works well for a decent price. Any minor body work will be prepped (rust holes, dents, etc) and then the entire bus will get lightly scuffed with a scotchbrite pad and then pressure washed, driven, and left to dry a day or two.

Check the weather for a good dry spell and low wind and spent most of one day masking or removing anything I do not want painted. I will then use oil based paint (like Valspar or Rustolium) and spray from either an electric or air sprayer (I have both to try out) and use mineral spirits to thin as needed. This will require testing and trial and error. I have no clue what I am doing and my advise might not help you. If spraying comes out bad, I will roll and brush it.

Good luck!
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:48 PM   #5
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I rolled and brushed mine, and it looks GREAT from 50' away. But up close the texture is terrible. Learn from my mistakes:
  • Don't paint in the direct sun - it dries too fast to adhere properly, I'm told. It certainly dries too fast for you to brush from dry into wet as you're supposed to;
  • Don't paint late in the day - the dew comes in and you get weird lifting of the paint or something awful (looked great as I went into the house, developed leprosy overnight);
  • Don't slop on too much: it WILL sag;
  • If you roll, 'tip' the paint with the very edge of a brush - gets rid of the orange peel texture (pro tip: do it when the paint is wet, not after it is half dried);
  • Don't use acetone to thin - sure, it works, but your paint dries too quickly;
  • Wipe up drips (like on the tire, lugnuts, intake manifold, and rubber) right away with a paper towel moistened with mineral spirits - the stuff doesn't come off later;
  • If you're painting two colors, paint the top part of the bus before you paint the lower part of the bus - I don't want to talk about it.
  • When you mask, mask carefully - my dear wife spent an afternoon with an artist's brush getting all of the yellow "YOU FORGOT ME" stripes cleaned up.
Doing it again I would probably take my chances with an airless sprayer. They are indeed a source of ignition and oil-based paint with thinner IS flammable. But that's a theoretical concern and I haven't heard of anyone who came to grief with it. See earlier thread.

BUT - we're happy with the way the bus looks. Sure, it has warts. But so do we. And it by God isn't a school bus any more.

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Old 07-17-2018, 09:13 PM   #6
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Great info everyone. Can anyone give some input on amounts purchased for primer, paint, tape, etc and cost per unit? Painting in a few weeks, and having an idea on $$ would be great!
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:58 AM   #7
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Took a gallon of Rustoleum to roll 1 coat on my roof. (~27 feet of roof) $27. 1 can of Majic Catalyst Hardener: $17 I didn't tape anything off for the roof on the first coat.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjakitty View Post
Took a gallon of Rustoleum to roll 1 coat on my roof. (~27 feet of roof) $27. 1 can of Majic Catalyst Hardener: $17 I didn't tape anything off for the roof on the first coat.
Okay that is a good piece of info. I have 31 feet of roof, and it seems like that is about half the whole surface area, maybe 40%? If I am spraying, should go further. 2 or just over two gallons per coat maybe?
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:19 AM   #9
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Amounts:

Rolling and brushing one coat, we used two gallons (with a pint left over?) to do the blue below the windows, and a bit over a quart for the white (see photo, above). We did not paint the roof.

We used hardener: one small can per gallon (thus, three cans).

I've used most of a gallon of mineral spirits for thinning and cleanup.

Primer? I used a spray can for the places I sanded through the paint. The scuffed paint acts as a primer so you don't need more. At least that was my understanding.

We'll probably use a can of black gloss for the bumpers, but that's down the road a bit.

I ordered a roll of reflective tape, too, and used about a third of it. As soon as we decide if we're done, I'll see how much is left and put it up for sale to the group.
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