The $50.00 Rustoleum Paint Job

My question is why are auto paint jobs so expensive? While researching what it would cost to paint an old car I came across low estimates of $500 or more to “high end” $5000 or more paint jobs. And then I came across what I thought was “The $50.00 paint job”

It’s crazy, but the results were fantastic for the do it yourselfer (cheapo) like me.

One example is this - an old Corvair


Others can be found at a site called rollyourcar dot com.

Is Rustoleum or similar paint a durable finish as compared to say a “cheap” $500 paint job?

Wow! You should send all your info to the Rustoleum Company. I would guess they would love to be able to use it.

Wow, that is incredible. My 1994 Chevy full-size Blazer is white, and most of the paint is flaking off really badly. Some rust has started to appear on the hood, but it sure looks like I could do something similar to this to get it looking better than it is now.

Its all in the prep. It take many hours to properly cover the non painted surfaces and to prepare it all properly. For $500 expect overspray onto plastic/chrome/rubber parts. For $5000 expect a factory finish.

I agree. The real difference in price is in the prep work. Plus, modern automotive paints are a bit pricier than Rustoleum found at Home Depot.

Here’s another alternative from Duplicolor: Real, old-fashioned automotive lacquer paint!
The show I saw them use this on, it was ready to pour into the spray gun and go. For $20 a gal, you get a real lacquer paint job. WOW!

Andrew - Yes, I agree It’s all in the prep work. But I’m not spending $5000 on a $1500 car.And saying you painted a car with a paint roller is certainly a conversation starter with car guys.
BustedKnuckles - great link - thanks! Wonder if that application can be used with the roller method. The issue with spraying the paint are the regulations etc (nosey neighbors) and EPA requirements. This method looks great in that I don’t have to set up a spray booth, worry about overspray and it seems unique. The problem that I’ve seen is that you can’t apply metallic paint using this method. That’s ok with me for what I’d like to do.I am just wondering the durability of the job. But then again, for the cost, I think that point is moot.

I’m not convinced that Rustoleum is going to hold up over the long haul. Wait and see what it looks like in 3 years.

Since it’s enamel, one thing that could have been done is to use some hardener mixed with the paint before application.
This stuff is pricy (20-25 bucks a pint) but a couple of spoonfuls mixed with every quart will sure toughen the paint up.

That Duplicolor is not a bad deal at all but would not work with a roller as it would be entirely too thin.
I did not see it done, but a friend of mine who does paint work all of the time was telling me once about a guy who painted his car in the backyard.
He strung up a few ropes and draped a large sheet of clear plastic over it while anchoring it like a tent.
He set up a small box fan to draw the paint fog out and went at it.
The paint fog could be mitigated to some extent by using a HVLP gun.

Just some thoughts anyway.

This is the original link I could find. There’s a post in this link that explains how this gentleman painted his car with “Tremclad” (Canadian Rustoleum). He appears to be the origin of what I’ve been searching for.

This answeres my own question regarding durability…the author goes on to say (Post from early 2006):

i painted the orange beetle in 1999, and it still looks like the day i painted it, the 71 blue beetle i painted in 2000, and built the car for my dad, i used the same paint on my charger, maybe one day i’ll spring for a good paint job, prepping is 90% of the work, stripping the car, sanding, ect…painting is overrated!!!
So if you have TIME, then i’d say go for it, the worst that could happen is that it does’nt turn out and your out $50, but if your paitient, and expriement with lets say just the trunk pannel and if you like it do the whole car, if not just get it done by someone else for $4000.

its a sticky situation, if a bubble gets in it, then all the paint can slowly peel, also not everyone has the capability of this painter, let alone the patience

I painted my own vehicle before. My '76 Toy Landcruiser. Although, this was a trail rigand I didn’t really care too much for perfect paint. I wanted something that if I scratched it, I could just touch up. Although, I used Hammerite. At first I rattle canned, but it ran all over or came out real dull and uneven. Then I went to the roller. Unfortunately, I’m a man of little patience or planning, so I didn’t bother to thin it or sand it or anything. Put on a couple coats nice and thick and walla. Wasn’t too bad for a trail rig. A good 15 ft paint job.
Maybe I’ll try it like this w/ my beater commuter car.

I guess according to your pictures, there is no difference between a $50 paint job, and a $500 paint job except places that do paint jobs usually dont have the high-gloss paint. They need to apply the gloss themselves and as far as I know that is what is expensive. Most of the money comes from labor too. As you could probaby, it took quite a while to do that yourself.