Do I Really Need Two Coats of Paint?

It’s one of the oldest questions in the painting book, and if you’re thinking about embarking upon a paint job and are considering cutting corners and costs by only applying one coat of paint, we urge you to read the rest of this post before making your decision!

While it is certainly true that some paints are (slightly) thicker than others and state on the can that only one coat is needed, generally speaking, skimping and only painting the majority of surfaces once won’t give you the desired effect. Regardless of the paint type or the surface, you will only get that lush, deep finish if you opt for two coats. And looks aren’t the only thing to take into consideration; you don’t need a degree in rocket science to work out that two coats of paint are far more durable than one. A wall, whether interior or exterior, will also normally be easier to clean if it has been coated twice.

In addition to this, and contrary to popular belief, don’t be fooled into thinking you can get away with only one coat of a darker colored paint. These actually have less ‘body’ and will need two – if not three – coats so that the rich color is able to develop properly.

Don’t limit your color choices

If you take the ‘easy’ way out, be warned that you’ll be facing a less-than-stellar finish if you are painting one color over another – especially if the new color is paler than the existing one. In reality, one coat may be sufficient if the two colors are similar, but if not – or if you are painting over white – you will need a second coat to stop the base color from either showing through or altering the real shade of your new paint. This might sound like a pain but it gives you a far greater choice when it comes to picking a color because, if you commit to two coats, you’ll be able to choose from any color out there, not just limit yourself to shades that are similar to your existing one.

And let’s not forget that by painting your wall or other surface twice, you will also reduce the chances of anyone telling you “you’ve missed a bit!”

Another thing to take into consideration is the type of paint you are using. Opt for satin or gloss and the chances are low that you’ll get a perfect finish the first time. The problem is that glossy sheens do not always adhere to a surface well and can leave brush or roller marks, which you’ll only be able to cover with a second coat.

Why one coat of paint is a false economy

Maybe you have all the time in the world to complete your project and you’re not bothered about the work involved, but you are concerned about saving money on actual paint. If so, let’s take a closer look at the costs involved.

Generally speaking, the lifespan of a one-coat paint job is as little as three years. Compare that to the same surface which has been properly prepared and given two coats of paint and, depending on external factors such as the elements, that lifespan increases dramatically to ten years. This might not be such a major factor when it comes to the rooms you use most in your home – chances are you will change your bedroom or lounge color scheme before the ten years are up anyway. But when it comes to large spaces such as stairwells and hallways, or your property’s exterior, it can mean the difference between doing the job right the first time and not having to worry about repainting for a decade – or cutting costs and corners and creating a rod for your own back by needing to do (and pay for) the entire job all over again in just a few years.

And while we’re doing the math bear in mind that, because the second coat is a lot easier and quicker to apply than the first (since the prep work has been done, and the paint adheres better the second time around), a reputable painting contractor will only charge you a nominal amount for the second coat. So when you know the professionals are willing to go the extra mile and add two coats, even if they don’t stand to gain much financially, you can be pretty sure that two coats, not one, are going to give you a far superior finished result.

Whether you need advice about painting techniques or you’d like to entrust the painting of your home to the professionals, get in touch with Sharper Impressions Painting today – we’re here and we’re ready to help!

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