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 Prevent Clear Coat Peeling off your Car

Clear Coat Peeling

Nobody likes clear coat to peel off their car, right? The clear coat (car paints) serves two purposes: enhance the look of the car and to protect the color coat from harmful sun rays (mostly UV rays), rainwater, dirt, dust, and grime.

Plymouth Clear Coat Peel

This means that you should take all precautions to prevent clear coat from peeling off car. In other words, clear coat should be protected and kept intact. You must be wondering why could clear coat peel off? It happens because of mistakes made by those around the vehicle or natural causes.

If the peeling occurs, it should be repaired as quickly as possible. Your car body can undergo some heavy damages if it remains undealt with.

There are 5 different simple ways through which you can prevent premature clear coat peeling off.

1.   Stay Away from Automated Car Washes

Did you know that automated car washes are the worst enemy of car’s paint? The reason is that the abrasive nylon brushes rotate at a very high speed which can cause many scratches as well as swirl marks on the clear coat. Their high-pressure jets can also damage the clear coat.

Instead, you can go for an Eco car wash. Eco car washes doesn’t damage the clear coat.


The best method is steam cleaning. You don’t need to worry that the steam will damage the paint because the professional detailers know the temperature limits as well as the exact duration that the cleaning should take place.

You can also check our article on cleaning your car without peeling the clear coat by clicking here.

2.   Don’t Use Abrasive/Generic Car Wash Products

Some chemicals such as Windex can damage your clear coat. Not only Windex, but other detergents such as harsh soaps which you might use instead of designated cleaning products for the paint will definitely damage the clear coat. If you want to know how Windex can damage the clear coat then click here.

3.   Wax Your Car Regularly

Many people think that clear coat doesn’t require waxing, if you want to prevent clear coat peeling off car then you need to wax your car. When you wax your car, it forms a layer that helps shield from airborne contaminants such as acid rain and bugs.

Waxing can also protect your paint from weather conditions, UV rays from the sun and also elements such as road salt and snow (during winter).

4.   Wash Your Car Before It’s Too Late

The agglomeration of dust, grime and dirt can damage clear coat which results in it peeling. The ideal way to deal with these pollutants is by getting rid of them as soon as possible. If you leave them for a long time then it will lead to paint and body damage.

5.   Apply Paint Protection Film

This chemical will help the clear coat by giving it additional protection from the elements such as rocks, sand, chips, and stones. Have you ever heard of screen protectors of a cell phone? If yes, then the paint protection film works the exact the same way. It should be applied carefully because a small mistake can cause heavy damage to the paint.


Preventing clear coat peeling off car is important for both cosmetic reasons and allows the car last longer as well. If you provide care for your car now, it means you will avoid heavy expenses in the future as well as time. Do you know how to apply clear coat? No? We can help you out, check out our blog post about how to apply clear coat.

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

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