Tractor painted with KBS Top Coater

Tractor painted with KBS Top Coater

What is Top Coat Paint?

Top coat paint is a term some may not be familiar with. Just what is top coat paint, and when do you use it?

When people hear the words “top coat” they often think of a jacket. However, when it comes to applying a finish to an object, top coat takes on a whole different meaning. A top coat is a transparent or translucent coating that is applied over an underlying substrate, or base coat, as a sealer and protectant. Top coats can take a variety of forms including:

Top Coat Wax – Those finishing wood sometimes choose to finish a stained or painted surface with a top coat wax, or finishing wax. The wax can be made from a variety of things including mineral, vegetable and animal sources. Top coat waxes can bring out color and finish depth of the underlying material, as well as protect against moisture, but it does not offer significant protection against scratches and wear.

Epoxy Top Coat - An epoxy top coat is a tough, thick material that’s used to protect a variety of items from damage and wear. It’s applied to such things as wood and concrete floors, major appliances, and small electronics. The epoxy coating, liquid or in powder, is usually made by a main element: a binder made from epoxy resins. Epoxy top coat is available in pigmented and clear versions.

Lacquer, Varnish and Shellac Top Coats – These top coats are most often applied to wood but can also be used to coat materials such as metal, ceramics and glass. Lacquer and varnish are made from tree resin or synthetic resin dissolved in alcohol. Lacquer can only be applied directly to the substrate or over lacquer base coats, otherwise solvents in the clear lacquer will cause non-lacquer base coats to run. Shellac is a resin secreted by the female Lac bug and is dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac. Interestingly, shellac is also used as a food glaze on such things as candy.

Polyurethane Clear Coat – Polyurethane clear coat is basically liquid plastic which dry to a tough, hard shell. They can be applied to materials including wood, metal, stone and concrete, plastic and base coat paint. Polyurethane clear coat is available in water-based and oil-based versions and is popular because of its hardness, resistance to scratches, long-term durability, flexibility characteristics and its ability to remain clear without yellowing. Polyurethane clear coat is widely used as a top coat for automotive paint base coats.

Top Coat Paint - Now we get to top coat paint. Top coat paint is a colored finishing paint that is used for a decorative or protective finish. It is applied to an underlying primer paint, base coat paint or other coating that is not intended as a final finish. When choosing a top coat paint it is critical that it is compatible with the paint or coating to which it is being applied or there may be a chemical reaction between the two that can ruin the base coat and leave the paint job compromised.

KBS Coatings offers coatings that are used as a top coat paint. They can be brush, rolled or sprayed on and flow-out well for a beautiful, smooth finish that shows no brush marks. These include:

KBS BlackTop Chassis Coater - BlackTop Chassis Coater is a one-part (no mixing of two parts), moisture cured (higher humidity speeds cure time) paint that is often used as a UV stable top coat for RustSeal when restoring car chassis and springs. BlackTop is hard yet flexible and is the original top coat paint that KBS has offered for frame and chassis restoration. The paint is available in Gloss Black, OEM Satin Black & Flat Black.

BlackTop Chassis Paint - 1K Coating - Brush Roll or Spray - Single Component UV Stable Top Coat

Chassis painted with BlackTop Chassis Coater

KBS Top Coater - Top Coater - is a one-part formula high solids paint that provides twice the coverage of conventional paints and has an excellent quality finish. Top Coater is UV stable and is often used as a top coat paint for KBS Coatings RustSeal when the area will be consistently exposed to sunlight. Top Coater is hard yet flexible for durability. Top Coater was developed in response to customer requests for a variety of colors and is available in 17 colors as well as in gloss and matte finishes.

KBS Top Coater Aerosol - Professional 1K Aerosol Spray Top Coat Paint

Suspension components painted with Top Coater

KBS Maxx – KBS Maxx is a two-part (two components are mixed together at time of use) polyurethane top coat paint and has the highest level of UV stability, coverage and durability that KBS offers. The coating is low in volatile organic compounds (VOC) as well as hazardous air pollutants (HAP). KBS MAXX offers excellent gloss and color retention, superior impact resistance, and fast drying time. Available in 17 colors and in gloss, satin and flat finishes.

KBS Maxx - Solid Color UV Stable 2K Durable Top Coat Paint

Stock tank painted with KBS MAXX

Top coat paints are often important for the best protective final finishes. For more information on all KBS Coatings top coat finishes click HERE.