How long does wheel paint take to cure?
This is in an interesting question (especially for paint nerds!), one full of chemical reactions, technical terms, ambient temperature and painting expertise.
There is also a difference between paint ‘drying’ and ‘curing’. When someone talks about ‘drying’, they usually mean the amount of time before the paint is touch-dry; however, at this point the paint has not completely cured, or set, and is still susceptible to damage by physical manipulation (eg poking it with an impatient finger) or dust particles floating around in search of a nice, sticky surface to nestle into. Curing is really what you’re going for - it refers to the amount of time needed for the paint to be both dry and set throughout, all chemical reactions are complete and the paint layer is now completely inert and impervious to outside forces (short of the application of a very sharp, very determined object).
Some paints can be touch-dry within an hour or so. Curing takes much longer and also depends on the number of paint layers that have been applied. Multiple thin layers is nearly always the gold standard in paint application, regardless of the surface it’s being applied to. Multiple thin layers allow the paint to properly cure, creating a super-strong, impermeable surface, as well an ensuring the most even, perfect cosmetic finish.
Most wheel paint used by Salt City Wheels is urethane-based. Urethane paint was first developed to take advantage of plastics technology, making it vastly superior to water-based enamel paints and even oil-based paints in automotive applications. It is a truly brilliant product, created by mixing pigment with polyurethanes, which act as a binder to hold the pigment molecules together. The same properties that make it resilient also cause it to reflect light, which results in an incredibly touch but also incredibly beautiful end result.
It has the added advantage of being applicable over an existing enamel surface (as long as the enamel-painted surface is properly prepared first), meaning that even wheels previously painted with lower-quality enamel paints can benefit from urethane paint’s super-charged protective properties. Urethane-painted surfaces are also extra immune to ultraviolet rays, making this the paint of choice for surfaces that will be outside a lot (as in, cars). It is widely used in the automotive industry for this reason and because of its sheer durability.
Salt City Wheel’s paint process involves a layer of primer, multiple layers of pigmented urethane paint, as well as several layers of a protective clear sealant, adding to the overall toughness and durability of our finished product.
The surface is usually touch-dry within about fifteen minutes. For total curing, we suggest allowing a couple of days before messing about with car washes etc, just to give your wheels the best opportunity to harden into the amazingly durable and beautiful surface they are capable of being.
If you’re ready to schedule your FREE wheel repair and paint consultation, give Utah’s premier wheel experts a call at 801 425 3044. Salt City Wheels will have your wheels looking amazing with the most durable, beautiful surface available within a day!