Back to basics: Environmental considerations for refinishing 

December 8, 2023

Some refinishing defects are uncontrollable. However, refinishing defects that are influenced by the environment may be controlled. Let us take a look at environmental impacts on both solvent-borne and waterborne refinishing processes, such as temperature and humidity. 

Temperature affects refinish materials in several ways. First, if it is too warm, it will accelerate the flash and cure time of the refinish material. This can lead to many refinishing defects, like solvent popping and dry spray.  

In the instance that the temperature is too cold, it will decelerate the flash and cure time of the refinish material, ultimately which can lead to runs and sags. 

Humidity can also have an impact on refinishing. When the air is too humid, it slows the evaporation process in both waterborne paint and solvent-borne paints. This may lead to poor curing, sagging, puddling—also known as water splashing—and solvent popping. 

Water splashing occurs in waterborne paint when the humidity is high, and the first coat starts dimpling from the overspray of the next coat. When water molecules get trapped under the refinish coating, it may cause blistering or bubbling. Often times, it looks similar to a rain drop hitting a puddle.  

Temperature and humidity cannot always be controlled in the repair facility, so it is important to know what the weather will be like and plan accordingly. For example, making sure to select proper reducers and hardeners that are compatible with the ambient temperature. 

To learn more about environmental considerations when refinishing vehicles, sign up for I-CAR Canada’s refinish courses


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