How many coats of paint do I need?
Q. One coat of paint or two?
A. Often it’s 3 (counting the primer).
If you want talk to me (The Tidy Painter) about fixing your cracks and painting your walls and ceilings (and you live on Sydney's Lower North Shore) click here.
Have you ever thought that only one coat of paint on interior walls would do? In the words of Mary Ellen from A Walk in The Woods, “Big Mistake.” This thought is usually an attempt to save money. But only applying one coat of paint will unfortunately cost you money I the long run.
The top coat that you see (and wipe crayons marks off) is not sticking to your walls. Wait. What?
Nope! Top coats stick to primer (or old wall paint which is itself sticking to primer). They never actually stick to new plaster, timber, whatever. Or if you try it doesn’t stick for very long.
The primer’s job is like a house foundation. Its not meant to be seen. It’s meant to hang on – tight. And to hang on it has to sink into the microscopic nooks and crannies that make up the substrate. When primer dries it’s a bit rough, or a bit shiny, or whatever. It’s not meant to be seen.
Then the first coat of top coat goes on. And it’s a still bit rough. AND it’s a bit thin; you can see through some parts. Where it goes over (primed) plaster repairs the first coat may be shinier or duller than the rest of the wall. And there’s always a few tiny missed spots.
So the second top coat goes on. It smooths the overall finish making the job look better. It creates a uniform solid colour. It doubles the thickness making the skin able to be wiped and cleaned without coming off. And any micro-misses are covered up the second time through.
And the biggest bonus of all is the this fresh, colourful, easy-clean painted wall or door now has a TOUGH skin that can move and take a few knocks. So it LASTS. Much longer. And doesn’t need to be repainted for a long time.
AND you don’t even save much money doing one coat. Its not like half the price of two coats. Because most of the work of painting a wall is in the protection (masking, covering) and preparation (washing, scraping, filling, priming). The painter is there all set up with a roller wet with the right colour ready to go. Its nuts to say, “Ah, just skip that second coat. I want to save 3% on this job.”
So, it’s either two coats or don’t even bother.
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