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How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need? Solved!



While this question may seem simple, it does not have a simple answer. How many coats of paint you need depends on what you’re painting, the type of paint, and the technique you’re using. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, though we can help you figure it out.

You’ll generally need to observe your paint to figure out exactly how many coats you may need. If you haven’t covered up the underlying color, or your paint color isn’t as vibrant as you want, you should likely do another coat. It isn’t always this simple, though. Sometimes, the paint is exactly how you want it, but it may still need another coat to stay how you want it.

We’ll take a look at some general guidelines in this article, as well as when you should steer away from these guidelines.

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How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need for Walls?

Whether you’re painting the inside or outside of your home, you should plan on applying at least two coats. Even if the paint comes out great after the first coat, you’ll need to apply it again to ensure that it has staying power. Otherwise, the paint probably won’t last as long in the least.

Remember, this is two coats on top of your primer. You will rarely find a paint that doesn’t need two coats to last long and look suitable for an extended period.

On a new wall, you can usually follow this rule to a tee. Always apply one coat of primer and two coats of your chosen paint. If you’re repainting a wall the same color, you can likely get away with one coat of paint as long as you’re using something high-quality. If you’re repainting in a different color, you might only need two. However, if the color you’re painting over is unusually bright or vibrant, you’ll probably need many more coats of paint.

How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need for a Ceiling?

You’ll need just as much paint for a ceiling as you need for a wall. However, because walls get way more use than ceilings, you may be able to get away with one coat if you use a high-quality product. If you’re only buying fantastic paint for one project, buy it for your ceiling. Painting a ceiling can be a pain, so you won’t want to do it for longer than you have to.

You will still need a coat of primer, however. The primer should be high-quality as well, as it can help the paint last longer.

If you’re repainting the ceiling with one color, you may be able to get away with one coat of paint. However, the old layer of paint may be faded, and therefore you would need two coats of paint to allow the new color to show.

For painting over different colors of paint, you’ll want to apply multiple coats. In these cases, we even recommend multiple coats of primer. Primer can help the new paint color show through without the old color polluting it.

paint roller
Image Credit: IgorShubin, Pixabay

When to Apply More Than Two Coats

There are a few instances when you’ll want to plan on applying more than two coats. One of these is the exterior of your home if you’re in an area that sees a lot of rain, intense sunshine, or snow. If you live in a harsher climate, the exterior paint on your home will wear down faster. You should preemptively apply multiple coats to your home for this reason.

You should also prep the exterior of your home with plenty of power washing. Painting over grit and grime is not going to give you a finished look you’re proud of.

Higher quality paints are generally better than low-quality options. If you’re using low-quality paints, you may need to apply more than two coats. Low-quality paints usually have more solvents like water, which thin the paint out and make it harder to cover up other colors. These paints will need more coats.

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The Color of Your Paint

Some paint colors require more coats than others. If you’re using brighter, lighter colors like oranges or yellows, you’ll need more than two coats of paint. As a rule of thumb, use three at the very least.

We do recommend a grey, tinted primer when using lighter colors. This helps the lighter color show up and prevents you from having to apply endless amounts of paint. The primer makes a difference in this circumstance.

Featured Image: jp26jp, Pixabay


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