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Painting Basics - How to Throw Some Color on Your Mud Truck

Adding Some Color & Protection

Kevin McNultyPhotographer, Writer

IIf there's one project not many truck owners tackle, it's painting their vehicles. Most do-it-yourselfers think it's complicated and messy, and if they screw up, their work is final. While it's true that painting can be tedious and frustrating, if you follow a few simple steps and basic rules you could crank out a basic paint job your friends will envy.

A garage paint job will turn out as well as the amount of effort you put into it. We're not talking about a show-stopping paint job here (which of course you can achieve with some detailed work); we're talking about a good, quality paint job you can do yourself, even if you have never painted before. Think of it this way: You paid a nominal amount for that old rig in your garage; do you really want to spend thousands for a halfway decent paint job? Have some fun and do it yourself!

We used a single-stage urethane paint, which means a clearcoat isn't needed to paint our junk. However, waterborne paint is the latest paint technology and was in part created to meet regulations to lower the VOC content of paint. By 2020 all states will be mandated to use waterborne paints. Waterborne doesn't mean water-based; water is used as a reducer that's a replacement for petroleum-based fillers and thinners, which lowers the VOC content of the paint. A waterborne basecoat reduces with a co-solvent, which makes it far more durable than water-based paints. The benefits of waterborne paint are that it gives off a less offensive odor, is excellent for color matching, lays down easier, provides quicker coverage, and has a cleaner appearance.

Let us put a home paint job in perspective for you. Depending on your skills and ambition, you could paint your vehicle and do an amazing job for $300-$500. It could have cost up to $2,000 at a paint shop. Also keep this in mind: More than likely your mud truck is going to get scratched up anyway, and you only see the color for a few seconds before it's covered with mud. We have always wondered why a lot of garage building truck owners don't paint. It's really no big deal—just paint it! We'll get you started with the basics. It's up to you to do the best job you can and make a masterpiece out of that truck.