Do you wet sand and/or remove orange peel?

Typically, we do not wet sand. Wet sanding is the process of use damp, ultra-fine sandpaper, to sand down imperfections in the paint that either are more efficiently removed with sandpaper or only able to be removed by sandpaper, that a typical polisher may not remove, or may not remove efficiently enough during paint correction/enhancement. 

In some cases during paint correction/paint enhancement, leading up to ceramic coating and/or clear bra, over polishing/compounding with a machine polisher is actually removing MORE clearcoat than had you just wetsanded the defect from the beginning. 

On the surface, this doesn’t seem to make much sense – you are, after all, sanding the surface (which sounds really aggressive). But as we have discussed in other articles, compounding/polishing actually removes parts of the clearcoat on your vehicle during a detail/polish. Sometimes, the amount of working over the same area with a scratch will remove more clearcoat from a larger area than had you just wet sanded in the first place. 

So, do you wet sand?


The answer is yes, occasionally, for certain trouble areas specifically pointed out as an issue for our clients if we feel it would be beneficial. As a general rule, we do not offer it as an optional service. In the auto detailing industry, we do find that some people use this far more often than is necessary during a paint correction/paint enhancement when a hybrid wool or microfiber cutting pad and the right polish/compound combination (we use Meguiar’s M110 Ultra Pro Speed Compound and M210 Ultra Pro Finishing Polish).

It typically takes longer, more care, and sometimes more risk (it shouldn’t be used near edges, for example, or body lines). So we don’t offer it as an additional addon that clients can purchase. 

What about removing orange peel?


During the repainting process, different problems and defects may arise in the paint finish that force the workshop professional to repeat the process from the beginning, with the consequent loss of time and materials.

One of the most common defects in car refinish is the appearance of the so-called orange peel effect.

The reasons why this defect may appear have to do with several factors:


  1. Incorrect adjustment of the application equipment.

Correctly regulate the application equipment’s pressure, product flow and fan pattern based on the specifications in the technical sheet, in order to obtain a regular and even spray. Too low application pressure will cause a deficient spraying of the product.


  1. High application viscosity

Another cause may be a paint mix with excessive viscosity, which will lead to a high viscosity and irregular finish.

To solve this, you can increase the percentage of thinner in the mixture.


  1. Failure to adjust the hardener and thinner to room temperature

Depending on the room temperature or environmental conditions, it will be convenient to adapt the choice of catalyst or solvent to be applied according to its drying speed.


  1. Previous coats insufficiently dry

Always comply with the drying time of the base coats specified in the technical data sheets of each product.


  1. Excessive product load

Excessive product load per coat and too much distance between the spray gun and the workpiece will result in a less even coating, favouring the orange peel effect.


  1. Incorrect preparation and sanding of the priming coats

  2. Proper preparation and sanding of priming coats, always in compliance with the drying times for each process, will help you to obtain a uniform surface optimised for refinishing..

    The primary way to rectify orange peel is to wet sand. We do not offer wet sanding of entire vehicles. The cost of additional work is not typically something our clients would opt for, running easily over $3000 for the labor alone on the wet sanding of an entire vehicle with additional disassembly or protection.

    If entire vehicle wet sanding is what you are after, we would typically refer you to a body shop, who is more likely set up to wet sand and do it daily for every vehcile. We are never afraid to admit if we are not the most efficient at something, and when conducting paint correction/paint enhancement/ceramic coating/clear bra, we do not do this nearly as much as other shops. Therefore, you might find that an auto body shop or paint shop is better equipped and more efficiently set up for wet sanding (we can take care of you afterward, including polishing, ceramic coating, and/or clear bra/paint protection film).

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