The RV Paint Shop Reviews

  I'm still working on the ins and outs of this (and welcome any input).  I need help on how to gauge a paint shop, which criteria to use, how large of a scale to use (3 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars, etc....) and all the other stuff that a potential paint shop customer would like to know.  This will take some time to get going, but should provide a valuable service and reward those shops that deal with RVators the best.  To send in a review of a shop, you need to have had *your* RV painted there.  dr


- Help shape what is reviewed (and how it is reviewed)
- What I'm looking for when you submit a review

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Georgia
Texas
Washington


Tuscaloosa Interiors/Bobby Potts. 
Tuscaloosa Municipal Airport (TCL), Tuscaloosa, AL 205.333.3116 / 205.361.1588

Price: Paid exactly as agreed on.  Deal was done on a handshake, but we also drew up basic contract outlining price and expectations.
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. (5 out of 5)
Finished Product: Extremely pleased.  These guys have been doing this for a long time, and it shows.  I have had nothing but compliments on the job and it has held up beautifully over the past year and 275 hours.  The paint scheme had some difficult transitions over the empennage fairing, and they came out perfectly, as did all of the striping.  Job is basecoat/clearcoat using DuPont products, and the transitions from color to color are essentially flush (NO edges!) The entire finish is buffed well enough that I could almost read the reflections of the GE logos on the overhead lights!  No orangepeel or sags, and the paint sure helped my plane get an Oshkosh "Seal of Approval" last summer! (Bronze Lindy)
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. (5 out of 5)
Timeframe: Bobby said it would be 4 or 5 weeks, and it would have been ready as promised, but I asked him to allow me time to do my annual condition inspection while the plane was apart.  No problem.  I took my time re-assembling the plane and it was ready to depart by mid February, or six weeks after delivery.
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. (5 out of 5)
Facilities: The shop is spacious and well laid-out.  One thing I was concerned about was that the main booth is curtained and not really a "sealed" booth, but there was no contamination in the paint, so their air filtering and a wetted floor obviously did the job.  Lighting is terrific, with the main hangar door made of transparent panels for excellent daylight exposure.  The shop is adjacent to Dixie Air, a full service FBO on the field, which is towered and has very helpful controllers.  Lots of food & lodging nearby at excellent prices.
    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. (4 out of 5)

This review by: Mark Phillips, Columbia TN RV-6A N51PW  e-mail: fiveonepw@aol.com

Date reviewed: January, '06

Comments: I really can't say enough good things about my paint experience, particularly working with Bobby and his crew.  He is very easy to deal with, delivers exactly as promised, and went out of his way to make sure my plane was as perfect as he could make it.  If I pointed out a flaw (and believe me, I really had to look!) it was taken care of immediately.  I know from personal experience that honesty and integrity mean a lot, and I found it here in droves.  For the whole story, please visit my website: http://websites.expercraft.com/n51pw/index.php?q=log_entry&log_id=5270


A.O.G. Paint Services (web) located in Mena Arkansas.
dennis@aogpaint.com 108 Flight Lane, Mena, AR 71953, Ph. 479-394-5575, Fax. 479-394-5574

...submitted by Phil Chamberlain [rv6pilot@cox.net]

I can't say enough about the owners Dennis and Linda Goodner. They have 25yrs of a/c painting experience. As for the price it was more than fair considering what I delivered to him was a mess. Three previous attempts to have her painted by local auto painters ended in well, lets just say a MESS.
Price = 5
5 out of 5

Finished Product: Absolutely fantastic! The paint they use is Sherwin Williams, Jet Glo, and Acryl Glo. I'll have to give them 4 and 3/4 only due to a small section of pinholes on the upper cowl. Very small.
Finished Product: 4 3/4
  4.75 out of 5

Time frame: He said 3 weeks initially, it turned into 4. But this was no fault of his own. Once he started cleaning up the auto guys mess. He ran into some blistering primer problems. Which he corrected at NO EXTRA CHARGE! So I'll still give him a 5
Time Frame: 5
  5 out of 5


Facility: Two large hangars: One for stripping and prepping. The other for painting.
Facility: 4

  4 out of 5


MasterAircraftPainters.com
Wickenburg, AZ (on airport E25)
928-684-4926
Contact: Gus (owner)

Price: 5 of 5
Gus gave me a price of $6,000 (I believe soon to go up -- so sorry if it is more when you call) for my three color simple scheme on my bare metal RV7A. This included 10 hours of bodywork beyond the basic etch and alodine prep. Final price was as promised. Product used was JetGlow for overall white, then Acry-Glo for the red areas and black metallic stripes.

Finished Product: 5 of 5
It simply looks fabulous. Period. Four separate pilots saw it when I got home, and all commented how nice the scheme was and -- but just as importantly -- the quality of the painting too. Guess there is a reason they do Falcons, YAKs, L-29s, Bonanzas, 182s -- and the AOPA 2005 airplane. Very very few imperfections. Taped edges are SHARP. No orange peel anywhere -- even on the bottom. The guys at MAP did all the final fiberglass sealing before priming. If a surface wasn't right (pinholes etc), then it was sanded, refilled, and reprimed. I had an initial idea for a scheme, and they gave me constructive input so I'd be happy with the final product. Jose, the Production Manager, personally does the QC and taping and worked with me to make sure I was happy before any colors were shot over the white. (BTW, I would definitely recommend any owner being there during taping -- at ANY shop.) Ken (AP/IA) at the shop was very careful and conscientious about the removal and reinstallation of the control surfaces. They also sealed around the plexiglass -- which produces a beautiful finished edge.

Timeframe: 5 of 5
Gus said "plan for 4 weeks, and hope for 3". I picked it up 3 weeks to the day after I dropped it off. What more can you ask for?

Facilities:   4-1/2 of 5
MAP currently has 4 hangars -- 3 are open faced (for prep, but with concrete floors) and 1 is enclosed and filtered for the actual spraying. Seems to work just fine here in AZ. There is very little if any visible particle contamination in my paint -- so the enclosed hangar does it's job.

If you are getting close and need further info, please call Gus -- and have him give you my phone number (unlisted). If you want to see my airplane, I'd be happy to show it to you. It's based at KDVT in Phoenix, and will probably be going to airshows periodically in the southwest now.

Bill Kolarik - bkolarik at netzero.com
N722RV


Animas Aero Designs
Animas Air Park, Durango, Colorado
Dwight Tulfer, 970-759-1844

Reviewed: 5/8/06

Price: (5 out of 5) Dwight’s base price includes approx. 5 hrs. of “body work” which is primarily for finishing and fixing imperfections in fiberglass. Even though he said my finish work was the best he’d seen so far it still required a fair amount of extra work to get the plane to the point where he was ready to shoot the paint. Also, at my request, he completed a few things that I hadn’t done (like a hood over the canopy track and reinforcing where my exhaust ramp was cracking). Although it came out $1500 over the base, I am happy with the final price and feel I got very good value. I don’t know how the total I paid compares to what other shops charge because, after looking over several other RV’s Dwight painted, I quit looking elsewhere.

Finished Product: (5 out of 5) Extremely happy! There are no runs, sags, orange peel, overspray or any other imperfections that I can see. Dwight’s attention to detail is outstanding. There are a number of “standard” details he does that really dress up the finished product. These include wrapping the empennage fairing around the front of the horizontal stabilizer for a much nicer look than the stock fairing, a beautiful proseal joint between the canopy and skirt, and all new stainless external hardware with really nice looking finishing washers. I communicated what I wanted simply by showing Dwight a picture of another RV with the basic scheme and then just described differences in general terms. He helped and advised on picking colors and made several suggestions, such as using metallic paint on part of the trim (this was part of the extra cost). The trim layout and application is flawless. He uses primarily Jet Glo paints.

Timeframe: (5 out of 5) The airplane was built and will be based in Fairbanks, Alaska. I flew it “outside” last fall and left it with Dwight in December. He had approx. three months to work it in and it was ready, all spiffed up with a fresh wash job, when I came to pick it up in March. Exactly as we discussed and he promised.

Facilities: (3 out of 5) Dwight’s shop/hangar is not particularly well set up for painting. The sanding and fiberglass work is done in the same area as the painting, but he seems to have developed techniques to keep any debris out of the paint.

Comments: Having painted one airplane myself, and having listened to the laments of many friends and acquaintances over the years who had experienced various failures, I was ready to hire a professional. Painting, in my opinion, just involves too many variables and, to get consistently right, requires too much skill for an amateur – one like me anyway. I just stumbled onto Dwight Tulfer and Animas Aero Designs. He doesn’t advertise and virtually all of his business is word-of-mouth. I looked at several other RV’s he’s painted and talked to the owners. All were uniformly pleased with the finished product. Dwight is a really nice, honest, hard working guy who knows what he’s doing, has very high standards and keeps his commitments. I’m just as happy as I can be with my paint job.

John Miller
RV-8A
jcm 'at' alaska.net
907-479-3720


Lee Strickland
Sandersville, Georgia
478 552-7771
Lee Strickland (lstrick@sandersville.net)

Price:(Agreed upon vs. actually paid.  Essentially, are you happy with the price?  Did you get your money's worth?)
(5 out of 5)
He charged me $38/hr plus materials.  My RV-6A took about 100 hours and materials were about $1,600. Lee gave me more than my money's worth. He did a few extras at no cost.

Finished Product: (Are you happy with your paint job?)
(4.5 out of 5)
Very nice! I gave Lee a rough looking project to paint and he made it look good! He is especially good with fiberglass and details. In fact, if you are sick of fiberglass, Lee can even do it for you.

Timeframe:(Promised vs. actual delivery)
(4 out of 5)
Lee stayed in touch with me via phone and email. Weather and staffing issues caused my project to go about a month longer than expected, but he kept me informed.

Facilities: (Modern paint facility vs hanger with a dirt floor)
(3 out of 5)
Lee has been painting autos and planes for >25+ years and his workmanship shows it. He works with Builder Center owner Ray Lawrence 478 552-9136 ( http://www.kaolinaviationservice.com) Ray has a facility at the Sandersville airport, and Lee paints at his own Auto body shop about 3 miles from the airport. When I selected Lee, I first looked at the 6-8 RVs at the airport that Lee had painted. They are beautiful!
So, the downside for Lee's paint jobs is that the plane must be painted in pieces.  If you have not assembled your bird yet, that's no problem. If you are flying, then the wings must be pulled at Ray's shop for transport to Lee's paint facility. (Lee has trailers and a large wrecker).
Lee has his own paint mixing equipment and paint booths. His painting area is clean, but there are sanding areas and body work areas nearby that make a lot of dust and dirt. Actual painting areas are clean. Lee has rotating jigs to bolt the wings to so they can be 'turned on a spit' for painting.  Lee's shop is small town in rural Georgia so his overhead-facility and labor rates reflect it. Quality is top notch.

This review by Vern Darley, RV-6A N680V -almost ready to fly! (review 7/29/05)

Comments:
Over the past five years I planned my paint job and have meditated on the big questions like when, where, who and how much.

I really wanted to do it myself, but my 20' x 20' garage and family issues ruled that out. So, I then began talking to a number of local auto painters who had small backyard shops. They talked good, but when I was ready to take parts over, they were too flaky to deal with. They understood cars of steel and glass, but not aluminum, plexiglass, and fiberglass. So, I talked to local large auto body shops (there are probably 5-6 within 3 miles of my house). Fast paced operations used to 'get 'em in and out fast and collect from the insurance companies. Production schedules and quotas. They were just not suitable to work with a picky builder who wanted to keep an eye on his project. Then I talked to professional airplane paint shops in our area. First concern: big bucks! Hard to pin down times. Expensive! Not used to working with builders. More interested twins and jets. Expensive! [did I say that?]

So, I found an airplane painter who had his own backyard shop. I thought he was my man! First he had to finish the plane in his shop, then my parts would funnel thru his shop. During the next year I watched as he hardly touched that plane ahead of me and kept pulling in fancy cars out of sequence. I finally gave up on him.

Meantime, friends had told me about those beauties over in Sandersville-90 air miles East of Peachtree City. I went over there and was amazed at their quality finishes and little detailed touches. I was especially grateful for the character and honesty Lee displayed in his life. I met some of his family members and friends and they seemed to be good folks. So I finally did what I should have done all along and started delivering parts to Lee. I carried my wings in the wing stand in a 12' U-haul trailer.  For $10 I rented moving pads and wrapped the controls using the small 6" shrink wrap spools from UHaul to secure the pads. For moving the fuselage on the gear I rented a 16' open trailer for $69 and used a 2x 12 board under the mains to hold it on the 10" too-narrow trailer. Lee helped load and unload. Soon I was bring home beautiful parts.

Except for the 'upside-down-drill-the-gear on partial wing assembly, I had not ever put the wings and wing fairings on.  I drilled my rear spars and trimmed the wing fairings after the paint. My first complete assembly was after final paint and if I ever become a repeat offender, I plan on painting before assembly.

Let me share my observations of friends who have almost simultaneously dealt with painting their RV's in different ways while I have been going through mine. One flew his RV for several years with polished skins and a little trim paint he had applied himself. Finally, after the frustration of trying to keep a shiny plane shinny, he found a painter. He spent weeks to disassembly his plane and take parts to the professional airplane painter. Reassembly took forever and seemed harder that the initial assembly. Over five months were needed for the paint process to airborne again. Way too much time and effort!

Several friends spent huge hours and bucks at an out of state shop with a great reputation.  Because of the owner's personal problems, their planes almost seemed to 'be in the way' of the owner. My friends felt they were lucky to get their planes back painted after much trouble, expense, and anxiety.

Another friend flew his RV to an airport and helped the airplane painter with the project. It seemed that he ended up doing almost all of the dirty work and still had to pay big bucks. Too much work and money for me!

I hope my comments help you deal with YOUR big questions like when, where, who, and how much!

Vern Darley
vern@mindspring.com


GLO Custom









Paul Dye's 'Valkyrie' Paint Job Reviewed

--------------------

Submitted by Walt & Joann Aronow, Northwest Regional Airport (52F)
RV7A, N707RV
walt 'at' Lonestarwatches.com

After three and one half years of building enjoyment, slow build N707RV flew for the first time on Nov 5, 2004. Now just over a year later she has 300 hours on her and continues to perform flawlessly. Our baby is equipped with a carbureted ECI O360 built by Americas Aircraft Engines, (standard compression for many hours of lazy cruising), Hartzell 72” blended airfoil prop and a Lightspeed ignition. Avionics include King KMD150 GPS backed up by a new Garmin 396 (396 is awesome but for navigating around the class B airspace the KMD is hard to beat for over-all situational awareness). A Garmin SL40, SL70, PSS 3000 intercom, Trutrak autopilot, and AOA sport complete the flight instrument stuff. A mixture of EI and Vans gauges to keep an eye on the engine complete the panel. The interior seats (Oregon Aero cushions), carpet, etc. were done by Abby at Flight Line Interior who does great work. I highly recommend her.

My wife and I (the wife said do it or die!) chose this red, white, and blue flag paint job after seeing another RV-9 with a similar scheme at Glo-Custom paint shop. We both fell in love with the flow in motion and the sheer patriotism that the paint job represented. A heartfelt “Thanks” to Grady and Brandon at “GLO-Custom Aircraft Painting” for the exceptional workmanship and artistry of this paint job! Grady, laid this whole thing out by eye, he is a true artist when it comes to paint scheme design and lay out in my opinion. Just take a look at the wheel pants and the detail their, it just doesn’t get any better than this!!!

I have also included a couple of pictures of my good friend and “hanger mate” Steve Zahorsky’s plane. He had his paint done by Grady also about the same time as mine and it is just gorgeous! It’s hard to appreciate the outstanding quality of this paint job by a few pictures alone. The black is a deep rich metallic paint with a multiple clear coats on it; this thing just sparkles in the sun and looks outstanding!! Again check the small details like the checker board rudder and flaps, this plane really look beautiful!

If you’re in the neighborhood and are looking for a good paint job at a very competitive price please free to stop by and visit us and have a look at our planes, we always love to talk RV!

For those of you still working on your aircraft all I can say is keep at it, it’s seriously worth it!!!

Walter Aronow, LoneStarWatches
Web Site: http://LonestarWatches.com

--------------------
Submitted by Alex Strickland (alexs737 at hotmail.com)
I took my RV-6, N336AS to GLO Custom at 52F on November 17, 2005, and picked it up on January 2, 2006, just a little later than planned. The overall experience with Grady at GLO Custom was outstanding. The price was what was agreed upon, the quality of his paint job is excellent, and his paint shop was very adequate, everything I had wished for. Grady picked me up and dropped me off at DFW Airport, we e-mailed pictures of the layout a few times until I was satisfied. I would highly recommend Grady at GLO Custom to anyone who wants a quality paint job.
Sincerely,
Alex Strickland
N336AS
303-725-8305


Morgan Aircraft Restorations (map)
(AWO) Arlington, WA, 17620 51st Ave NE - (360) 435-9755

Price:
(Agreed upon vs. actually paid. Essentially, are you happy with the price? Did you get your money's worth?):
(1 out of 5)

Finished Product: (Are you happy with your paint job?)
(4 out of 5)

Timeframe: (Promised vs. actual delivery)
(1 out of 5)

Facilities: (Modern paint facility vs hanger with a dirt floor)
(5 out of 5)

This review by: George McQueen RV-4 N93GM (7/29/05)

Date reviewed: 07/25/05

Comments: I had my bare unpainted RV-4 painted at Morgan Aircraft restoration. I was pleased by the result but the Price and Timeframe where not as promised. The material used was a single stage product called JET-GLO, a two-component polyester, solid-color urethane. It is very expensive paint. I recommend this paint/brand, which looked as good 6 years later as the day it was painted. It does have a gloss clear coat appearance. Price: I was promised an approx total cost of $4,500 (at 2000 prices). It ended up costing $7,500 due to extra labor that was claimed (see: lessons learned below). I found charges for supplies that where for other airplanes. I was credited after pointing these charges out, but there where still charges I found questionable, labor hours, many paint suits, many boxes of gloves and general paint supplies claimed where all used for my RV. Timeframe: I was promised it would be completed by the time I got back from a long business trip (4 weeks). I went out of my way to deliver the plane early and disassemble it my self before I left for the trip. (By the way I did all disassembly and assembly for the above price). When I came back several weeks later it was not even started. It sat in the corner full of dust from grinding and sanding on other planes in the hanger. The cover over the radios and instruments was removed, leaving them dusted and unprotected. I was not too happy with that. It was apparent that my plane was time filler for his workers, when they had nothing else to do. They do large aircraft so if another job comes in, it might take priority. Overall if you have lots of money and can ride shotgun they are OK, and get the price in writing.

Lessons learned: Get a guaranteed price in writing. To save money, consider partially prep'ing all the fiberglass parts before hand. In my case the cowl had Van's stock gel-coat finish and should have been paint ready, but I know now it was not. This was one of the main reasons I was given for the $3,000 increase in price, fiberglass prep. They did a nice job, but $3,000? My suggestion, prep-fiberglass parts, fill the pin holes in the new cowls, sand and fill gel-coat cowls and smooth out fairings yourself. Make sure the filler or primer used is compatible with products your painter uses. Remember you must paint right after priming. So don't get too crazy priming your bare plane, it still will need to be re-sanded and re-primed right before painting the parts anyway.

Sincerely,
George


Discussion regarding this section (it's helping shape what is judged/how it is judged):

From John Siebold (7/27/05)
   "Search AOPA.org for painting articles (EAA.org, also). The same stories are trotted out every couple of years (like May/thunderstorm, November/ice article regurgitation), but they will tell the author's criteria for evaluation of the shop and the paint system.
   Besides what are more or less contract issues under the spray gun rating system (4's plenty), I suggest soliciting technical info associated with the paint job/shop, otherwise the price may reflect apples when you're thinking oranges. Ask specifically for bare metal and fiberglass preparation, primer, top coat, and whether the paint system is BC (that's base/clear or two-stage in paint store jargon) and colors and brand. A three-stage pearl's going to be real expensive compared to a fleet single-stage non-metallic. Then, if the reviewer can break out material from labor pricing, that would be interesting.
Counterpointively, (my very own new word), you've been through painting, so you know it's complex. Breaking out so much info might make more of a mess than simply asking: Happy? Yes. No."

 

What I'm looking for in a review:

Acme RV Paint Service. 
Anywhere, USA  Contact Info: (111) 222-3333

Price: (Agreed upon vs. actually paid.  Essentially, are you happy with the price?  Did you get your money's worth?):
    (3 out of 5)
Finished Product: (Are you happy with your paint job?)
    (4 out of 5)
Timeframe: (Promised vs. actual delivery)
    (3 out of 5)
Facilities: (Modern paint facility vs hanger with a dirt floor)
    (2 out of 5)

This review by: John Doe   RV:___   N#:___

Date reviewed: XX/XX/XX

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