Deeper Beauty One Coat or Two?

Posted on March 17, 2017

Can we get away with one coat, or do we need two? That’s a question many homeowners ask CertaPro Painters®, and unfortunately the answer is, ‘It depends.’

Formal Living Room

First, let’s address the question of priming and sealing. If stains are noticeable or the old paint is cracked or flaky, it’s important to properly prepare the surfaces to be painted. Sometimes this requires a good deal of scraping, sanding and/or spackling. It’s vital to have a solid foundation before painting starts. If scraping exposes bare wood or unsealed drywall, a primer coat is necessary. Primers are thinner than top-coat paints so they penetrate better, seal the substrate and contribute to improved stain blocking and, in some cases, adhesion. If the surface to be repainted is in sound condition but just faded, marked-up, or simply in need of new colour that is not too different from the original colour, it’s usually fine to skip the primer application.

Top-Quality Paints Make a Big Difference

“Open two cans of paint and they look pretty much the same,” says Martin Bahner, CertaPro Painters®, Doylestown, PA. “But better ingredients found in today’s better paints can’t be identified in the can – only on the walls,” asserts Bahner. “Normally, we recommend two coats, the main exception being applying the same colour and sheen on the existing surface.Trying to make a single coat look great, especially over another colour, can stretch the limits of full hiding, and the finished paint job lacks the deep, rich finish that customers want to see.” With one coat, it is virtually impossible not to have holidays (slight misses where the paint did not fully cover), and unsightly roller marks can show up as well.

“For our customers, two coats are generally the rule,” explains Bahner. “Two coats will always look richer and more beautiful after the paint dries. And after all, you’ve got to live with it for a long time, so you might as well really love looking at it.”

Spray Painting, Faster to Apply Where Possible


It can be very tricky to spray paint your home’s exterior or interior rooms, and every situation doesn’t lend itself to spray painting because of possible overspray. But when it’s feasible, spraying is faster than roller application. This is especially true for shaped surfaces – railings and doors, for example – or rough exterior siding. Spraying applies a smoother, more uniform coating for either exterior or interior surfaces, and two coats can therefore be accomplished far quicker. Keep in mind, though, that masking surfaces not to be painted, and draping and taping to avoid overspray, often takes longer than final spray application of the paint.

Bahner explains that spray painting actually creates turbulence that atomizes the paint, so paint droplets form in a fast-moving stream of air. “Spray gun nozzles determine the spray pattern – narrow or wide – and control the amount of paint applied,” he says. “Spraying makes sense for large surface areas where masking is minimal. For instance, we can spray the exterior siding of a house, then repaint the trim. This significantly minimizes the amount of masking that needs to be done.” In many residences, interior spraying doesn’t save enough time to warrant its use.

Where spray painting makes sense, your CertaPro Painters® will raise the topic and let you know what the benefits may be for your home.