1K vs. 2K Clear Coat – Which is better?

1K vs. 2K Clear Coat

At ERA Paints, we pride ourselves on offering our customers the best products on the markets, and our 2K clear coat paint is no exception. When it comes to your vehicle, it’s essential to use the best products to extend the car’s longevity.

Alongside the variety of industry-leading information we provide and our range of clear coat repair products, we are excited to offer our own 2K clear coat spray. We feel that our product not only matches market leaders like SprayMax 2K clear coat but goes above and beyond.

In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about 2K clear coat spray, including how to use it and answer questions like, Where can I find 2K clear coat near me?

What is clear coat spray paint?

Clear coat is essentially a transparent paint that is used to cover the colored layer of paint underneath. When completing the touch up paint process, the clear coat is the last layer of paint applied to your vehicle. It follows the base coat’s application, which helps the paint bond to the metal, then the spraying of the paint itself.

Mini Cooper Clearcoat Peel

The clear coat seals off the paint and adds an additional layer of protection, helping prevent scratches and scuffs. The actual thickness of the clear coat can vary from 30 microns to 80 microns thick, depending on the manufacturer. Generally, the coats underneath the clear coat, the base, and paint layers are matte, whereas the clear coat is glossy. It means that the clear coat has functional and aesthetic purposes because it makes your car shine and protects it.

Not all paint jobs require clear coat repair, single-stage paintwork is not covered with a clear coat layer.

What is 1K clear coat?

Most clear coat repair work uses 1K clear coat. It is the standard product that comes with many OEM touch up paint repair kits. It is generally used for touch up paint repairs where owners are looking to give their fix a flawless factory finish.

1K clear coat doesn’t require activating and can be used directly out of the spray canister or paint jar.

What are the advantages of 1K clear coat?

There are several advantages to using 1K clear coat that has made it wildly popular among car enthusiasts and professionals alike, these include:

  1. Cost – 1K clear coat is up to half the price of a 2K clear coat spray can.
  2. Quick-drying – 1K clear coat dries fast.
  3. Ease of use – 1K clear coat doesn’t require any additives or activators to work. Simply apply it to your vehicle, and it will dry.
  4. Weather resistance – 1K clear coat is relatively durable and will protect the paint underneath even in adverse weather.
  5. Polish Ability – Once the clear coat layer has dried, you can get a great shine off it by polishing it.

What is 2K clear coat?

2K clear coat is used in the same way as its 1K cousin. It’s applied once the colored paint layer of your vehicle has dried. The major difference is that a 2K gloss clear coat needs either a catalyst, an activator, or a harder. Generally speaking, most 2K options come in the form of a polyurethane clear coat as it is much more robust.

After activating the hardener, the 2K clear coat must be applied in a timely manner, usually within a few hours. After this point, it can’t be used anymore as the hardener reacts with the clear coat to form a hard finish.

We recommend using gloves, goggles, and a mask when using 2K clear coat spray as it uses an isocyanate hardener.

What are the advantages of 2K clear coat?

Using a 2K clear coat solution for protecting the underlying painted layer of your vehicle has several advantages:

  1. Incredible resistance to scratches and scrapes because of the extra firm finish and is perfect for areas of your car that are prone to surface damage.
  2. Long term sealing of paint repair work compared to other top coat products.
  3. Great for large surfaces.
  4. It works well even in higher temperatures.
  5. Lasting glossy finish
  6. UV protection
How to Repair Peeling Clear Coat

What’s the difference between 1K and 2K clearcoat?

The significant difference between 1K and 2K clear coat is the need for a catalyst to dry. 1K can dry without any additives, whereas a 2K clear coat needs a catalyst to harden. Otherwise, it won’t fully dry.

Generally speaking, 2K clear coat is double the price of the 1K alternative, but for a good reason. 2K clear coat spray cans providers a far superior level of protection. The extra firm layer means that 2K clear coat spray has been the choice of professional painters for years. If your vehicle is ever exposed to extreme conditions in the form of off-roading or even gravel roads, then a 2K clear coat prevents scratches and scrapes. So, while the initial outlay is higher, long term, you avoid the need for additional paint repairs.

How to activate your 2K clear coat

Remember that once your 2K clear coat has been activated, you must use it within 24 hours, or it will permanently harden in the can. Spray Max 2K clear coat instructions are the same as most other brands, to activate it:

  1. Shake the can vigorously for 2 minutes
  2. Take the button from the cap and attach it to the pin on the underside of the can.
  3. Place the top of the can onto something firm.
  4. Push the red button into the pin.
  5. Remove the button and dispose of it
  6. Shake the 2K clear coat can again for two minutes.

How do you apply a 2K clear coat?

Applying a 2K gloss clear coat isn’t difficult, but we have a few tips and tricks to make the process even easier.

  • – Ensure the base of your vehicle is smooth before applying paint or clear coat. This avoids a bumpy finish. Use sandpaper to get a smooth finish.
  • – Practice applying the clear coat on card or paper before, so you get a feel for the flow rate and how the clear coat spray handles
  • – Apply three layers of 2K clear coat. Always start out with a light coat and get heavier with each layer.
  • – Spray from around 6-8 inches away. Any closer, and it may drip or bubble. Any further away, and it may not be smooth, especially if it’s windy.
  • – Aim to paint on a day that is around 72ºf as it means the clear coat will dry evenly. Also, to get a great finish, never paint in direct sunlight.
  • – We offer triggers that attach to the spray cans, and they are a lifesaver in terms of the application process.

If you haven’t got that original factory finish you were hoping for, we have a few tips to improve the clear coats look.

  • – With any 2K clear coat that has turned out dull, we recommend polishing it. It is robust, so you can rub it a lot and are unlikely to cause any damage. Giving the area a good polish once it is dry usually solves the issue.
  • – If the 2K clear coat paint has turned out coarse or there are drips, you may need to try wet sanding. Only ever lightly sand the area, we never want to affect the base color. So, work with caution. Once the roughness has been smoothed out, clean the area, and add another coat.

When trying to correct any uneven areas or iron out the smoothness, work slowly. You don’t want to rush it and erode the color underneath. If you are having trouble, get in touch with our expert who can help you.

2K Clearcoat: Single-stage vs. two-stage paints

Single-stage painting is an older method of painting vehicles that has been all but replaced by the more modern two-stage painting system. Single-stage painting does not require a 2K gloss clear coat or any other clear coat as all the necessary chemicals for painting are mixed and applied all at once.

Two-stage paint jobs always use a 2K clear coat or the 1K alternative to guarantee the protection of the colored paint and provide a great finish. When done professionally, most paintwork is finished with 2K clear coat spray as it offers maximal protection.

How long does 2K clear coat take to dry?

We regularly get asked, how long does 2K clear coat take to cure? Waiting the right amount of the time to dry prevents any unnecessary damage to the top layer. It also makes it more likely that you’ll achieve a flawless factory finish. Driving too soon, polishing, or waxing the clear coat when it isn’t dry can negatively impact the finish.

If you are completing the full touch up paint process, you will have to wait around an hour to dry before applying the 2K clear coat. We recommend using three layers of clear coat to get full and even coverage of the area. Between each coat, wait at least ten minutes before applying the next.

It takes 24 hours to dry thoroughly; after this time, you can polish the 2K clear coat to bring out that extra shine. However, it can take up to seven days for it to fully cure.

How long does 2K clear coat last?

Most car waxes and other sealants last only a few months, and getting that shine back onto your vehicle requires another round of polishing or waxing.

However, 2K clear coat is likely to last an indefinite amount of time until it is worn away or chipped off by debris. If you live on unsealed roads or regularly take your car off-road, the clear coat isn’t likely to last as long.

To extend the life of your clear coat:

  • * Wash and wax your car regularly. Once every four weeks should be the absolute minimum. This removes any harmful debris and stops it eroding the quality of your 2K clear coat.
  • * Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun by parking your vehicle in a shaded area.
  • * Use detailing clay to get rid of pollutants that attach themselves to the clear coat.

Why use a 2K clear coat?

Using 2K clear coat is a must for anyone looking to extend the life of their vehicle’s paintwork. It is especially important in areas of your car that interact with chemicals from the roads or are bombarded with debris.

The exceptional protection that it provides keeps your car shining for longer, so it pays for itself in the long run despite a higher upfront cost. On top of that, it’s the stuff that manufacturers use on your vehicle in production, so you know you’re using the best stuff available on the market.

Where is the best place to buy 2K clear coat?

ERA Paints offer a range of industry-leading products that help people across the country take control of their vehicles’ clear coat repair work.

Our helpful guides and outstanding prices have meant customers can repair their vehicles at exceptional prices and avoid costly trips to auto repair shops.

The 2K clear coat we supply is the best quality and will allow you to protect your vehicle’s paint for even longer. Check out our selection of touch up paint products and get fantastic value when purchasing your 2K clear coat paint. On top of that, receive free delivery with every purchase!

We pride ourselves on quality products, competitive prices and outstanding customer satisfaction.

If you are interested in ERA Paints and our strive for vehicle care, follow us on our social media:

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How To Apply Clearcoat

What’s the hardest coat to apply, primer, basecoat, or clearcoat?

If you guessed clearcoat, you would be right! Most people think it’s very easy, but if you don’t apply it correctly you can expect early peeling or even orange peel! Let us show you how to apply clearcoat properly!

How To Apply Clearcoat

First of all, why do you need clearcoat?

Maintaining the exterior of your vehicle is extremely important to extend the life of your cars paint. Without this extra layer of protection you’re opening up your basecoat to all the elements that can peel the paint away or wear it down. This can lead to rust and other damage you really don’t want to see on your car!

Clearcoat also helps create that shiny look you want on your car! Without clearcoat the paint rarely matches up perfectly when doing touch up paint, if the rest of your car has clearcoat how could you expect your touch up paint to match without it?

Assess the area and the basecoat

If you’re using clearcoat you’re either redoing the clearcoat and hopefully the basecoat looks fine. If not, the basecoat is probably in really bad shape. Make sure to redo the primer, basecoat and clearcoat at the same time. If you don’t your touch up is going to look poor in the end result.

If you’re redoing the clearcoat a lone, never go over the existing clearcoat and expect a good result. To quickly remove the old clearcoat you’ll want to take very fine sandpaper around 2000 grit. Soak the 2000 grit sandpaper in water for an hour. This will be considered a wet sanding. Lightly but firmly sand the damaged clearcoat until the peeling clearcoat is gone, be careful to not damage the base coat. Make sure to wash the area so no bits get stuck onto the car when you reapply clearcoat.

Special Note: Make sure the can of clearcoat is the right temperature! We recommend getting the can to a temperature of 80 degrees. Doing this prevents orange peel months down the road. Take the can of clearcoat and submerge it in water around 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20 minutes before spraying!


Touch up paint/clearcoat is all about preparation. Part of that is practicing applying the clearcoat! We send a test card with each order, if you’d like to practice more use a large piece of cardboard to practice on! Get a feel for how it sprays and comes out of the aerosol can!

Cover the area around the peeling clearcoat

Use masking tape, newspaper, or another item to cover the surrounding area. This is fairly straight forward, but we’ve heard some stories…. so please make sure you do this!


You’ll need to plan for several coats. If you’re spraying a large area, you may need multiple cans of clearcoat. When doing a regular touch up repair you always use more clearcoat than basecoat or primer. You’ll usually want to plan for 2-3 coats.

Apply the first coat lightly, this will help prevent cracks in the clearcoat. The next 2 coats should be full coats and look wet to the eye!

Keep your distance! But not too far! Keep the can of paint 6-8 inches from the surface. Like spraying anything, if you’re to close it’ll cause drips. If you’re too far it won’t lay on evenly.

Avoid windy, hot, or days with a lot of moisture. Do not paint on an overly foggy day, or a rainy day. Do not spray on a hot day! 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the premium temperature. Don’t spray in direct sunlight. Even if it’s 68 degrees outside, the sun will heat your car panels up much higher than that!

Use our spray can trigger in our kit! It barely costs a thing and isn’t there just to increase price! It really does help, it helps control the spray and the trigger. They’re also reusable so you can keep it around and use it on other projects!

You’ve done it!

Great job! Your final coat should look like a shiny polished finished! But remember, you need to wax your car 30 days after to really bring out the shine and color!

Did you mess up?

Hey, sometimes we mess up. That’s okay, let us tell you how you can fix these common mistakes!

  1. Your paint looks dull or lacking shine. This is most likely because you did not wax, polish or buff your car! Doing one of these will surely help and we always recommend a good wax 30 days after finishing your project.
  2. If the finish looks coarse or has lines through it, we recommend wet sanding the area as we mentioned above. Also if you have drips in the clearcoat. Use 1000-2000 grit sandpaper, we always recommend 2000 grit when wet sanding. Soak the sandpaper in water for 30 minutes and keep adding water as you go. Lightly sand the area. Remember, the goal is to only get rid of the clearcoat, not to damage the basecoat! Be careful and have patience. Once the clearcoat is off, reapply!


Quick Steps to How To Apply Clearcoat:

  1. Assess the area, remove existing clearcoat with wet 2000 grit sandpaper making sure to only remove the clearcoat. Taking special care to not damage the basecoat.
  2. Make sure the can is close to a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Practice and prep, clean the area after wet sanding. Practice spraying clearcoat on cardboard to get used to spraying.
  4. Use masking tape and something like newspaper to cover the surrounding area.
  5. Add 2-3 layer of clearcoat. First layer lightly, the next two add heavy so it looks wet!
  6. Keep the can 6-8 inches away from the panel you’re spraying
  7. Environment: Avoid windy, hot, or high moisture days.
  8. Use a spray can trigger.

Still not sure how to apply clearcoat or have general questions? Call us at 971-770-2372 or email us CustomerService@ERAPaints.com and we’d be happy to help!

Watch our How To Guides on YouTube!

We pride ourselves on quality products, competitive prices and outstanding customer satisfaction.

If you are more interested in ERA Paints and our strive for vehicle care, follow us on our social media:

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