Can You Clear Coat Over Single Stage Paint?

Single stage paint is becoming increasingly popular due to the prices of the better paint formulas decreasing and more and more people realising that you can get some excellent results from a single, easy to apply product. As with most things that suddenly see a sudden spike in their popularity, we have noticed more and more questions being asked about using single stage paint correctly.

One of the more frequently asked questions that we have noticed being asked time and time again is if you can clear coat over single stage paint or not. Due to seeing so many people reaching out about this as well as so many people increasing their costs when using single stage paint by using clear coat with it, we have decided to publish this dedicated article.

We are hoping that our tips and tricks below will ensure that our readers are able to get the very best performance possible when it comes to their single stage paint while keeping their costs as low as possible too. The more common mistakes that we see people making time and time again when it comes to single stage paint are usually very easy to avoid too while also being very easy to impliment.

Can You Clear Coat Over Single Stage Paint?

Although you can use clear coat over single stage paint if you want, there is usually no need as single stage paint includes clear coat in its formula. The whole purpose of single stage paint is to offer multiple products in a single purchase so there is no need to purchase a stand alone clear coat.

That said, a large number of people do still use clear coat over single stage acrylic enamel but the majority of the time, this is a waste of time and money. The vast majority of single stage paint products on the market right now will offer an excellent finish with its ingredients and the small amount of clear coat included in the paint formula without you having to add your own layer of clear coat above it.

In some very specific situations there may be a need to add your own clear coat over your single stage paint once it is dry but this really is very niche and the majority of our readers will never need to do this. If you are in a situation where you do need to use clear coat over your single stage paint, you are probably working at a professional level and are already aware that most people will not need to go through the process for the majority of situations anyway.

Why Don’t You Need To Clear Coat Over Single Stage Paint?

The majority fo single stage paint formulas will include clear coat or some other finishing product in their formula as well as a few other products. The idea behind single stage paint formulas is that you only need to buy that single product to keep costs down while also making it easier for beginners to apply the product to the required surface.

Some of the single stage paint formulas on the market also include priming agents as well as products to help protect the paint from UV light too. As time goes by, the number of single stage paint variants on the market keeps climbing as more and more niche formulas are released for various situations.

For the vast majority of our readers, the regular single stage paint formulas will be more than enough to meet your needs. They are very easy to use and offer and excellent end result on the vast majority of surfaces that you will be painting. The more niche formulas are for professional level painters who will know when to use each coat rather than for the everyday user.

Should You Clear Coat Over Old Single Stage Paint?

If your single stage paint is old and starting to show the signs of aging then you could use clear coat over the top of it to try and protect the paint. This can work but many people will usually opt to just redo the paint job as there is a high chance that color fade will be setting in by the time the single stage paint is having issues anyway.

This is one of the only cases where the average user will be wanting to apply clear coat over a single stage paint but as we mentioned, it is still rare. This is due to the majority of people just getting their vehicle re-sprayed when their single stage paint gets to the stage where you will be considering clear coating over it.

If there is any damage to the painted surface then some people do say that you should apply clear coat to it but in our opinion, this is the wrong move to make. You should be doing everything possible to find the same single stage paint color that you use for the rest of the surface and then go over the damaged area with the same paint once the damage has been smoothed out.

Is There Any Point In Using A Clear Coat Alternative Over Single Stage Paint?

There are a number of clear coat alternative products on the market right now that many people do use in a range of different circumstances. That said though, in our opinion, there is no need to use any of the clear coat alternative products either for the same reason that it is usually a waste of time and money for most people to apply clear coat over their paint.

The single stage paint formula will usually have everything that you need in it to get the best possible results without you having to use a clear coat alternative on it too. The paints have been designed to offer you everything that you need for great performance in a single product.

Going out and purchasing a clear coat alternative will usually just be a waste of money and in many cases, not change the look of the final result of the paint once dry too. That said, we are confident that this is one of those things that we will still see people do for many decades yet as they aren’t aware of the purpose of single stage paint and that it already has clear coat in its formula.


That brings our article going over if you can use clear coat over single stage paint or not to an end. In our opinion, it is a total waste of time and money due to single stage paints offering an excellent finish once dry on most surfaces due to having a small amount of clear coat in their formula anyway. Just use your single stage paint as normal, leave it to dry, and you will be able to see how well these products perform for yourself.

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