Catalyzed paint, unlike most other types of paint, contains a hardener that allows it to cure and dry more quickly. Catalyzed paint is usually available only in spray form, although catalyzed primers and sealants may come in other forms. Most paint used on automobiles are catalyzed paints, but catalyzed paints have several other uses.

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You can recognize catalyzed paints by their hard, shiny surfaces.

How Catalyzed Paint Works

The hardener contained in catalyzed paints chemically reacts with the paint itself to dry, cure and become hard quickly. Other paints dry and cure when exposed to air over time. Furthermore, many conventional paints take much longer to dry, but contain fewer chemicals. When hardened, a coat of catalyzed paint adopts the hardness and appearance of plastic.

Advantages of Catalzed Paint

The biggest advantage of catalyzed paint over standard types of paint is that it does not allow solvents through the surface. Most paints, over time, allow microscopic holes to form after they've dried, which enables liquids, air and other elements in the environment to deteriorate the paint. Because catalyzed paint dries more quickly, holes take much longer to form, and the coat, therefore, lasts much longer than conventional paints. Catalyzed paints, when applied, are hard and resist other materials permanently marking them, making them effective at repelling graffiti.

Disadvantages of Catalyzed Paint

Unfortunately, because they depend on the interaction of chemicals, catalyzed paints tend to contain far more toxic materials and should be used with caution. Also, catalyzed paints often come in a spray can, which limits its versatility. Catalyzed paints also tend to cost more and come in smaller portion. Because they come in various types and chemical makeups, they require some expertise in discerning uses from brand to brand.

Appearance and Upkeep

Catalyzed paints are generally very shiny and hard, especially soon after application. A catalyzed paint should remain lustrous for some time, but eventually it will lose its sheen. If it becomes dull, it means that the paint is wearing and should be touched up. Catalyzed paints may also "bleed" if coated over another, different colored paint. To prevent this, sand the undercoat entirely or use a catalyzed primer or sealer before you begin painting.