A simple way to expand your offering as a body shop is to provide a spray paint booth for high quality finishes on vehicles. These are designed to eliminate many of the environmental factors that can ruin a paint job and can help you create a better final product.
Not all spray paint booths are created equal, however. There are several different styles and designs, as well as price points. So just what should you look for when you’re considering a paint booth for your car body shop? Let’s take a look.
What to Look for in a Spray Paint Booth
The type of spray booth you require may not be the same as what someone else needs. That’s why you need to consider the type of work you’ll be doing and then select a paint booth that works for your space and needs.
The size of the paint booth you choose will depend on how much space you have in your garage and whether you plan to paint more than one vehicle at a time. There are multi-bay booths available, as well as regular single stall ones. You should also consider the size of the vehicle you’ll be painting. If you are almost exclusively doing motorcycles, you don’t need a big booth. However, if you plan to paint vans or trucks, you need to account for their size.
If you are only going to paint specific components of vehicles and not the whole car itself, you can get away with a much smaller paint booth than a garage that is going to have entire vehicles inside the booth. However, you should also consider what may change in the future. Will you need to add on more space later? Is it worth buying bigger now so you don’t have to worry about expanding later on?
This is where things can get difficult. A brand new paint booth, with all the features, will cost you quite a bit (read: more than you think). If you’re just starting out, you may not be able to afford a high quality downdraft booth, for example. In this case, you’ll need to look at what you can afford, while still meeting your goals.
There are a few ways to reduce the price of a spray paint booth for your body shop. First, you can choose something a little more agile than the average booth. These are essentially tents and while they work just fine, they’re not as professional as the sturdier options. However, the reduction in materials means they are more cost effective for the occasional paint job.
Another way to reduce the price is to buy used. Since spray paint booths can be taken apart, they can be reassembled elsewhere and it’s not uncommon to find used booths for sale.
If you do choose to go with used, be sure the pieces are clearly marked and that everything is included. It can be quite frustrating to finish up the construction and realize that you’re missing a crucial component. You should also verify that the fans and filters come with the used booth.
Depending on the level of paint booth you intend to purchase, there are a number of features that you could include. These will often raise the price, but they can be worth it if you are painting a large quantity of vehicles.
Filters are an essential part of any paint booth and will help prevent fumes and overspray from exiting the booth and polluting the air. The type of filter will depend greatly on the regulations in your area and the paint you are using. You can use a basic filter or a multi-filter system.
Fans can help keep air circulating and are very useful for keeping the air clear within the booth. You may also request specialty lights that will give you the best possible view of what you are painting. This helps ensure the overall finish is perfect.
Heat is another option for many booths. You may even want the ability to bake the finish onto your vehicles. For obvious reasons, this will raise the price considerably, but it also expands your possibilities and makes it simpler to bake finishes.
In some cases, you can add heat at a later date. If you don’t have the funds to cover this more expensive alteration at the moment of purchase, you can always add it in later on. Cross-draft and side draft booths are easier to retrofit with heat, if you think you’ll be doing that in the future.
Finally, you can request a booth with an electric door to allow vehicles to move in or out of the booth with ease. There are multiple types of entrances, so look into the different choices when you are purchasing a booth. You may find that one works better for you than others.
Environmental Protection Compliance
There are quite a few rules about spray painting vehicles when it comes to protecting the environment. This is one reason you need an actual spray booth, instead of just throwing up a few tarps. To avoid overspray from contaminating the environment and to protect the air quality in your garage, you’ll need to have filters and fans installed.
Find out what the actual laws are in your area for painting and then you can look for a booth that supports them. You may or may not need a multi-stage filtration system, for example. It’s best to know before you purchase a booth, so you don’t have to rebuild it or buy a new one to fit the regulations. Your local environmental agency will know what you need and most booth sellers, if they’re professional, will also know and can advise you.
The air has to keep moving through a paint booth, but where it moves will either help or hinder your painting efforts. The air is kept moving via fans and filters that will suck and expel the air, depending on which end of the draft they are on. The most common choices are:
Side draft: With this type of draft, air is brought in through the top of the booth and exhausts through the sides. This helps create minimal overspray and eliminates many of the downsides of the other types of drafts. It’s one of the more expensive methods of drafting, due to the necessary construction issues. However, it does provide an excellent finish.
Cross draft: This method moves air from the door to the back of the booth. It is the least efficient type of air flow, since any contaminants in the air will have to pass over the entire vehicle before exiting. This is also impractical in many positions for painting, since the overspray has to move around the painter. However, it is the most economical option and for this reason, many people will choose it.
Semi-down draft: In this type of booth, the air is sucked in from the ceiling and then directed out the back of the booth. This creates a slight downward angle to the air and then it moves diagonally out of the booth. It’s still fairly economical, but provides less chance of contaminants marking up the paint. The front of the booth will tend to be a dead area and needs to be accounted for. Again, the painter will be in the overspray area with this design.
Where to Buy Spray Booths in the UK
If you’re in the market for a spray booth for your garage, you can start by looking at the companies that provide them, such as Haltec Limited. It is usually best to purchase from an actual company, rather than an individual, for a couple of reasons.
First, you’ll find that there is an inherent risk in buying from an individual. While they may offer a lower price, you never know if you’re getting a quality booth, or even if it’s completely finished. Moreover, you’ll never have quality customer service – or anything close to a guarantee on quality.
Often, when buying second hand items on the marketplace, you’ll end up with missing pieces. This is something you just can’t have with a spray paint booth. It will compromise the quality of the paint job and will prevent you from complying with environmental regulations. For this reason alone, it’s best to buy from a company.
Once you’ve purchased your booth, you’ll need to be sure it stays maintained. This requires regular cleaning to prevent spray particle of other colours from contaminating your painting, replacing your filters, and generally ensuring that the booth is in good condition. Whether you have a used or a new booth, regular maintenance is essential to prevent problems in the future.
Are you in the market for a good quality spray booth? Contact us today at Haltec to learn what we have to offer you.