How to Wet Sand a New Enamel Paint Job

by Elton Dunn
itstillruns article image
Jupiterimages/ Images

Wet sanding will turn your new enamel paint job from a spotty, uneven mess into a glazed finish that will make your car gleam. The skills and supplies needed to wet sand your enamel paint job are few, so don't be intimidated. You can perform wet sanding once or refine the enamel with successive sanding. No matter what your personal preference, you'll save money by doing it yourself and maintain your car's finish.

Step 1

Inspect your enamel paint job under a strong light before you begin. Look for any imperfections, scratches or thick spots. While you may discover new trouble spots when wet sanding, a good inspection before you begin can help you improve your painting skills for next time.

Step 2

Fill a bucket with cold water. Attach your wet sandpaper to the sanding block. Dip the wet sandpaper into the bucket. To sand a finished enamel paint job, you need to use at least 1000-grit sandpaper. To refine the sanding job further, you can repeat the wet sanding process with 1500-grit sandpaper then finish with 2000-grit sandpaper. The number refers to the size of the sandpaper grit, with the larger numbers indicating smaller particles.

Step 3

Rub the wet sandpaper along the contours of your enamel paint job using a back-and-forth motion. Do not swirl, make circles or perform any other movement. Dip the wet sandpaper into the bucket frequently to ensure there's enough water on the surface of your car.

Step 4

Continue to wet-sand the enamel on the exterior of the car. To sand corners or curves, take the sandpaper off of the sanding block and manually sand the contours. Rinse your sandpaper in the bucket to remove excess enamel flecks; work over the entire surface of the car.

Step 5

Rinse your car's body with water from a hose or a bucket. Dry the car with cotton cloths or let it air-dry. Inspect your car's finish again, looking for spotty areas. You may want to refine the finish more by wet-sanding again with 1500-grit paper.

Step 6

Polish the enamel finish with a rubbing compound on a clean cotton rag. Work the rubbing compound into the car's body by scrubbing in small concentric circles. Move over the car, covering the entire body. This will remove any scratches in the finish and prepare the car for wax polishing.

Step 7

Polish your car with carnauba wax, once you've finished applying the rubbing compound, in the same manner. This brings out the shine in your new enamel paint job.

More Articles

article divider