Masking a Vehicle

Preparing the vehicle by masking specific areas with tape and plastic sheeting will ensure a superior, clean finish once the painting process is complete. Masking requires time and attention to detail. Follow these steps for a perfect finish without overspray:


Moldings and Trim

Use trim tape to lift moldings off of the vehicle surface to allow for paint coverage under the molding and eliminate a hard paint line. Using a perforated tape is best for easy tearing and works well on sidelights, back glass moldings and flush mount windshields. 

Best Practices - Masking - Step 1


Protect Jambs and Body Apertures

Use premium foam masking tape to protect jambs and apertures from overspray and to produce a soft paint edge.  Use foam tape instead of masking and paper to increase productivity and to save on material costs.  Premium foam masking tape can be applied to fixed or moving parts and the offset adhesive should be applied to the inside of the panel.  Close the panel, and then smooth the tape to the desired depth. 

Best Practices - Masking - Step 2



Use masking tape and paper to cover windows, lights and trim within the spray area to prevent paint overspray on the glass, lights and trim. Use fine line tape first if you have difficult contours to mask. 

Best Practices - Masking - Step 3


Outline the Spray Area and Cover the Vehicle

Outline the spray area with 1-1/2" masking tape then cover the entire vehicle with plastic sheeting and cut out the area needing to be sprayed.  Attach the plastic along the cut edge to the tape outline using 3/4" or 1-1/2" masking tape so as to protect panels that are not being painted from overspray.

Best Practices - Masking - Step 4


Final Check

Double check that all exposed areas are covered, including the wheels. To keep the paint area cleaner and to save time and money in the detail department, reverse mask the wheel wells with 18" masking paper. This will keep the dirt behind the wheel and out of your paint jobs, prevent costly re-work.

Best Practices - Masking - Step 5


You’re now ready to paint the vehicle. For additional information on how to clean up any imperfections after the paint job, please refer to our Best Practices for Defect Removal and Buffing. 



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