How many coats of paint should I use?
This is a question often asked of painting contractors, and something homeowners might struggle with when completing their own projects. It depends on the nature of the project, but generally, two coats is the answer (one isn’t enough)!
Without question, when painting exterior surfaces, two coats of paint should be applied. Since outdoor surfaces are exposed to the elements and occasionally harsh weather, it’s difficult to get away with cutting corners here. Paint jobs are more prone to peeling or fading if products are misapplied, which may include using only one coat of paint, or failing to properly prepare the surface by pressure washing, priming, etc. Painters who fail to follow these procedures do not meet industry standards, which is why it is so important to hire a contractor with a commitment to quality work. Even in our wet climate, a well-applied paint job can last as long as six to ten years. As you can see, it is well worth paying the price for a job well done!
With interior painting, we are still concerned with durability, but are more concerned with coverage. In general, we still say that two coats is a good rule of thumb. The thicker coverage, again, provides greater durability, and it also makes it easier for you to wash or scrub the surface if needed. Two coats are also a must if you are making a significant change in color – especially if you are going for more vibrant colors. On the other hand, if you are re-painting a wall in the same color or a very similar color, a single coat will likely be just fine.
The number of coats required may change with the quality of paint used. Unfortunately, low quality paint does not hide well and can result in a major headache when you have to apply multiple coats just to get proper coverage. High quality paint has better pigments, better resins, better additives, and more solids. In short, this means that it hides better, sticks better, lasts longer, and results in a thicker coat.
All in all, two coats is better than one. In addition, buying better quality paint may save you from having to apply too many coats.