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  • Carlton Clark

How Many Coats Of Paint?

Another question we get asked a lot from DIY painters and other contractors is, “how many coats of paint do I need when painting the interior or exterior of a home. The general rule is that you should use two coats of paint. However, this rule changes based on the color, quality of the paint you use, whether or not you used primer, and the type of surface you’re painting.


It will cost you more to apply two or more coats of paint on a surface, but your coat will last 3-5 times longer.


As you’ll see, there are rare cases where higher quality paints like Benjamin Moore Ceiling Paint only require one coat after primer.


Again, most situations will require two coats of paint, but we’re going to list a few examples of when you’ll want to use more or less.


Let’s get how many coats of paint you’ll want to use:


How Many Coats Of Paint On A Wall


On a new wall, you’ll want to follow the rule and apply two coats of paint after primer. Follow the same standard for drywall.


If you’re repainting a wall, you’ll only need one coat if you’re using the same color and it’s a quality paint.


Quick Tip: When you’re waiting for your first coat to dry, don’t leave your tools and paint uncovered in the room. Instead, cover them your roller tray and paint to prevent it from drying out.


How Many Coats Of Paint On A Ceiling


We recommend using only the highest quality paint for your ceiling if you want to avoid the most headaches as possible. We like to use Benjamin Moore Ceiling paint because of its quality and the fact that you’ll only need one coat of paint.


After you apply your primer, you only need one coat of paint.



Covering The Same Color


If you’re painting over the same color, you can put one coat of paint if you know 100% that it’s the same color. We do two coats of paint because the old coat may have faded over time due to the sun and other factors.


Covering Light Over Dark And Vice Versa


If you’re covering dark over light or vice versa, you’ll usually only need at least two coats of paint. Do a sample spot to see if you need to do three coats or just one coat of primer and two coats of paint.


There are specific instances where you’ll apply a few coats of paint but still feel like the old color pollutes the new coat.


How Many Coats Of Paint On Your Exterior?


If it’s a recommendation to use two coats of paint on an interior surface, then it’s a downright commandment to apply at least two coats of paint on your exterior. You can’t cut corners since your exterior will be exposed to multiple elements like the sun, snow, rain, birds, and insects.


Not using enough coats of paint is one of the two biggest mistakes we see when painting the exterior of a home. The other is not adequately preparing the surface by pressure washing, cleaning, and priming. These two mistakes will cost you more money over time and leave you with an exterior finish you’re not proud of.


Why Do Certain Paints Take More Coats To Cover?


We answered this question in the video you can watch below:



Lower quality paints don’t cover as well as higher quality paints. This can cause you to spend all day adding coats and waiting for them to dry. Talk about a headache!


Higher quality paints have better pigments and resins. They also have fewer solvents like water meaning the paint will be thicker. If you open up a can of paint and you can see down to the bottom, know that you’re in for a long day!


When you’re using oranges, yellows, and other hard to cover paints, you’ll want to use an in-depth tint primer like gray to help get the hard to include colors to dry in at least three coats.


First, use the primer, then let it dry 4-5 hours between coats. If you put it on too quickly, it’ll start to peel the coat from before.


Look for mid-tone, red, and bases to help you cover paint in fewer coats.


Right now, I’m not aware of orange paint that’s easy to cover.


Benefits Of Using A Second (Or Third Coat Of Paint)


If you haven’t caught the drift already, I’ll list out the benefits of using multiple coats of paint.


Here they are:


  • Your Paint Will Look Nicer: Skimping on layers of paint or using a low-quality paint can cause your paint to peel sooner, leave an uneven finish, and allow the old coat to pollute the new finish. That wouldn’t look nice, would it?

  • Your Paint Will Last Longer: Two coats of paint will be far more durable than one. A more durable coat of paint will last longer and cost you less money in the long run.

  • Longer Warranty: If you apply a second coat of paint, you can actually get a longer warranty.

Should I Hire A Professional Painter?


Talking to an experienced painting contractor is always your best bet for getting the right answer. Hiring a painter is almost a guaranteed bet to save yourself loads of time and stress. As you can see, painting is not as simple as buying a brush and paint, then going to town.


If you’re hiring a painting contractor, a question you can ask them is how many coats of paint they plan to use and the quality of paint they use. Cheaper painting estimates may indicate that you’re going to get a low-quality paint.

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