VW or Cadillac Paint Job

VW or Cadillac Paint Job?



When weighing the difference between a VW or Cadillac Paint Job there are a number of factors to consider when planning a painting project. You will want to take into account the timing of the project, preparation, product selection and application methods.


For an exterior repaint project you will want to take into account the time of year and the projected weather conditions. Most manufacturers recommend application when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 32 degrees Celsius). Also that the conditions stay above the dew point, with no rain expected for at least 24 hours after application. There are some products that can be applied as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind is another factor to consider, especially if using a sprayer. To get an idea of some of the options available please visit http://www.sherwin-williams.com.

Clearly, if you do not adhere to these parameters it can adversely affect the quality and final outcome of your project.

Painter brushing door trim


The single most critical factor in determining the quality of paint job you will get is the preparation. Painting directly over old peeling paint or dirt will not provide a sound substrate to adhere to. When deciding the quality of paint job you want, you will need to settle on how much you want to invest in the preparation phase of the project. The recommended basics include:

  • Power washing, accompanied by hand scrubbing with soap and water for difficult areas, and removing of mildew or efflorescence with a mild bleach solution or TSP, followed by a good rinsing.
  • Removal of loose or poorly adhered paint, typically by scraping with hand tools. Always be sure that the proper protective gear is worn, to include at a minimum a face mask, goggles and gloves. You will also want to use tarps to cover your landscaping or walkways to catch the debris splatter.
  • With regard to the “VW” or “Cadillac” aspect, there is an additional step in the preparation that you may want to include. That would be the sanding of the edges of old paint that are evident after scraping off what was failing. This leaves visible ridges between the bare surfaces and the old paint. Many people find this very undesirable. These edges can be sanded lightly to ease the difference, or more extensively to better blend the two surfaces. Keep in mind that this can add considerably to the cost of your paint job.

*BE AWARE!    Structures built before 1978 will quite possibly be coated with lead-based paint.

This is especially critical if children under the age of six years are present. In a court decision, lead was banned for residential use in the United States in 1978 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 Code of Federal Regulations CFR 1303). As a result, any action (such as sanding) that causes the lead paint to become friable, (made into small particles that may be inhaled), must be done in accordance with OSHA regulation 1926.62. For further information on this topic please visit http://www2.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family.

*Once your structure is properly prepared, all is left is to adequately mask off or cover surrounding surfaces and areas to protect them from overspray or drips.

Product Selection

Nearly all manufacturers offer a variety of quality within their product lines. Be aware that the warranty is only as good as the paint job itself. If you use paint that boasts a 25 year warranty, that does not mean that the painter must come back in 8 years and repaint the house for free if the paint begins to peel.

The question you must ask, when looking for the VW or Cadillac, is “How much difference will it make?” I would suggest to you that the $15 per gallon paint will not last three times as long as the $45 per gallon product. The more expensive paint will however cover better, look a little better and probably last a bit longer; how much longer is a guess. My advice is that you will probably get the most bang for your buck by going with a middle of the road product.


Spraying Railing



As stated above, the prep for your paint job is critical, and the quality of the paint you buy is important as well. Also, the application of the paint will have a definite impact on the VW or Cadillac Paint Job question.

I would offer a couple of tips with regard to tools. If you do not own an airless sprayer (Doesn’t everybody?), you can rent one from most paint stores or equipment rental outlets. I would suggest one that has 2,000 to 3,000 PSI, with a .015” to .019” tip, depending on whether it is for interior or exterior use. Again, be sure to use all protective gear and observe recommended safety procedures.

When using a brush for Water based paints, a good quality 2 ½” or 3” polyester or nylon brush will produce a much better result than one of inferior quality. If you are using Oil based or Alkyd paint, a high quality China bristle brush is recommended. If you do care for your brushes properly they should last a long time. For rollers I would typically use a good quality 9” roller frame with a 3/8” to 1/2” nap, depending on the relative smoothness of the surface being painted. Again, this is not an item I would cut corners on. If your project lasts more than a day, you can cover your roller in plastic or Saran wrap, and reuse it several times.


There are several key items that you should look for and insist on with regards to a VW or Cadillac Paint Job.  A good paint job should be free of:

  • Runs, Drips and Sags
  • Hoildays (Thin spots of coverage that you can see through)
  • Bleed through (Of stains or contamination)
  • Alligating (Cracking in the film due to too heavy an application or improper curing)

In addition, you should look for clean, even “cut lines”, where two colors come together and even distribution of paint without obvious “roller marks”. If two coats of paint are specified, be sure you apply two full coats. The first should be allowed to dry at least overnight, in order for it to cure properly.

Lastly, one final point. Handshakes and promises are great, but if it isn’t in writing, it doesn’t exist.


About the Author

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California.

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