Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

June, 2006

Repairing Polyurethane Topcoat Finish

Q. I have a tech question for you. I have an Upper Level Supervisor that is telling me that I am required to scuff sand and prime any polyurethane top coat that has been on for 48 hours or more cure time. The process that we have been doing is to sand the polyurethane painted surface to remove gloss wipe clean and re-paint. If the top coat is damaged or showing bare metal after surface sanding repairs and a conversion coating are done a wet coat of epoxy primer is sprayed to the bare metal and mist coat of primer is sprayed to the complete panel or seam to seam. After the primer has cured we re-paint the complete panel. Aged paint is always sanded and primed before top coating. I work in a paint shop that does a lot of Aircraft parts and there are times when a part needs to be re-painted like tiger stripes, dry, runs sags or primer showing through that in my opinion it does not need to be re-prime because it has been over 48 hours since top coated. Air Force T.O's are vague and address mostly the priming before top coat. I have Technical Data from PRC-DeSoto that backs up my process, but I would really value your input.

A. Are you saying that when you redo parts that have tiger stripes, runs, sags, dry spray, etc., you only get to those parts after 48 hours? If that is the case, then the purpose of the epoxy primer is to provide adhesion between the older polyurethane and the one you will now apply. The problem with poly is that once it is fully cured adhesion becomes a problem. It is possible that even without the primer you will do a good job, but since the aircraft flies at incredibly fast speeds and the aircraft skin undergoes dramatic temperature fluctuations it is probably safer to apply the epoxy before re-applying the topcoat.

Have you spoken to Glen Baker? I'm sure he will give you an answer since he has seen these problems many times.

Get back to me if I haven't answered your question.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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