Does A Second Coat of Paint Use Less Paint?

Does A Second Coat of Paint Use Less Paint?

Are you repainting your house? But, down to your last can of paint with still the second coat to go?

If that sounds like you, I bet you’re wondering whether the second coat will use less paint.

Don’t panic! As a professional painter, I know a thing or two about paint. So, before you take another trip to your local paint shop to get more paint, let’s find out how much your second coat will need.

Man rolling on second coat of paint to a wall

Does A Second Coat of Paint Take Less Paint?

When completing any interior painting job, you must use at least two coats of paint to get a high-quality finish.

You will use less slightly paint on your second coat compared to your first.

That’s because the first coat of paint helps to seal the surface (especially when painting porous surfaces like skirting boards). When you seal a surface, it absorbs less paint when painting it. So, you’ll need less paint to cover the surface on the second coat of paint.

Also, when you apply the first coat of paint, it serves two functions. First, it coats the surface, and second, it smoothes out the imperfections. When you smooth out the imperfections on your surface, it will be easier to apply another coat of paint and use less paint.

How Much Less Paint for A Second Coat

It’s difficult to say how much less paint you will use when applying a second coat than the first coat.

However, if I did have to put a number on it, you would need about 25% less paint to cover your surface on the second coat than the first.

However, the amount of paint required for two coats of paint will depend on the type of (water-based or oil-based) paint you use, the technique you use, and the thickness of each coat.

When Do You Apply the Second Coat of Paint?

One of the most common questions I get asked is how long you should wait between coats before you apply another coat of paint.

Before you apply an extra coat of paint, you must wait for the first coat to dry completely.

If you apply another coat of paint without allowing the first coat to dry, the paint finish will be poor and eventually peel and crack. That’s because the second coating of paint won’t adhere to the surface properly since the first coat wouldn’t have bonded yet.

In my experience as a painter and decorator in South London, I’ve had many clients who have not given it enough time before applying the second coat and have ended up with a DIY disaster rather than the finish they dreamt of. So, give your walls and ceilings enough time to dry before adding the second coat.

The exact amount of time you should wait before applying paint to your surface depends on how long it takes for the first coat to dry – affected by the type of paint that you are using.

Paint Type

When it comes to paint type, there are two main ones that you’ll probably be using for DIY painting your home. The two types are oil-based paints and water-based paints.

Water-based paints include acrylic and latex paint. They are quicker drying than oil-based paints, and you can apply your second coat of paint about 2-4 hours after applying the first coat.

Oil-based paints include radiational oil paints and alkyd paints. These paints take slightly longer to dry. So, you’ll need to wait about twice as long, roughly 8-12 hours, before you apply the second coat of paint to your surface.

Painter and decorator showing how to use a roller to apply a second coat of paint

How To Apply the Second Coat of Paint?

You will apply your second paint coat just like your first one – except you won’t need to complete any preparation tasks like before.

The only tools you’ll need are paintbrushes and rollers.

Here are the steps involved in applying the second coat of paint:

1. Use an angled paintbrush to begin cutting in the edges of your walls or ceilings. Cut in the surface in sections as you want to paint the rest while the cutting-in is still wet.
2. Ensure your paint roller is sufficiently loaded and begin rolling the surface. You want to roll your walls and ceiling in long ‘W’ or ‘M’ strokes.
3. You repeat the above process until you have sufficiently covered the entire surface.

If you think you need more coats of paint after you have painted two coats, you can go for three coats.

Comparison of one coat of paint vs two

Does Two Coats of Paint Make a Difference?

The standard practice among professional painters is to use an undercoat and two coats of paint on top.
Applying two coats of paint instead of one coat makes a huge difference to how good your paint finish looks and how durable it is. When you do two coats compared to only one coat, the finish will look better and last longer. In very rare cases, a surface would require fewer coats than two.
Here’s why:
• When you use two coats of paint, you add more pigment to the surface. As a result, the depth of the paint colour will appear more defined.
• Two coats should provide better coverage of any spots or streaks missed on your walls and ceilings with the first coat of paint.
• You should use two coats of paint because most companies produce paints to render their final colour after two coats. And you’ll notice that your paint gets darker with the second coat. So, applying two coats would give you the colour you see on your paint swatch.
• The application of two coats of paint will give you a more durable finish than just one. That’s because it provides an extra layer of paint that helps to protect against wear and tear and stains.
Think of applying two coats of paint like crafting the perfect cup of coffee. Just as a barista carefully layers espresso and milk to get your perfect cup, a house painter applies two coats of paint to get that trademark smooth and lasting finish!