Determining How Many Coats for Exterior Paint You Need

how many coats for exterior paint

Understanding how many coats of exterior paint are required is an essential aspect of any successful painting project. The number of layers can impact both the appearance and longevity of your paint job. In this post, we delve into the intricacies surrounding exterior painting projects.

We’ll explore why it’s important to invest in a quality exterior paint endeavor exteriors and discuss factors that influence the number of necessary coats. From choosing between traditional latex-based paints or spray paint coating #1 to using a wet film thickness gauge for precise measurements, there’s much to consider.

Additionally, you’ll learn about top siding options compatible with different types of paints and how preparation such as window replacement or removing flaking paint contributes towards achieving a uniform finish. Lastly, we will provide insights on timeframes involved in professional painters’ process so you know what to expect from start to finish.

Table of Contents:

1. What is Exterior Painting?

Exterior painting is like giving your home a stylish makeover, while also protecting it from the elements and pesky bugs. It’s like a fashion statement for your house.

The Importance of Exterior Paint

Exterior paint is like a superhero shield, protecting your home from UV rays, moisture, and those annoying insects that want to make themselves at home. It’s like a force field for your walls.

Aesthetic Appeal

Exterior painting is like putting on makeup for your house. It enhances its natural beauty and makes it stand out in the neighborhood. It’s like giving your home a makeover that turns heads.

Different Types Of Exterior Paints

  • Oil-Based Paint: Tough and durable, like a bodyguard for your walls. Perfect for withstanding harsh weather conditions.
  • Water-Based Latex: Quick-drying and easy to work with, like a paint that’s always ready for action. Just be careful with extreme climates.

And if you live in a rainy area, there’s even a superhero paint called elastomeric paint that provides excellent waterproofing powers.

Selecting The Right Color For Your Home’s Exterior

Choosing the perfect color for your home’s exterior is like finding the perfect outfit. You want something that complements the neighborhood, but also makes a statement. It’s like creating a timeless fashion trend for your house.

2. Why Should I Paint My Home’s Exterior?

Painting the outside of your abode isn’t just for appearances; it’s like providing your dwelling with a super suit to shield it from external elements. At Marc Poulos Painting and Decorating, we know that a fresh coat of paint is like a shield against crazy weather, bugs, and other environmental stuff.

Protection Against Weather Damage:

The Greater Chicago Area has some wild weather, from scorching summers to freezing winters. Painting your home acts as a barrier against rain, snow, wind, and intense sun rays. It’s like giving your house a raincoat and sunscreen, preventing moisture from causing rotting or warping.

Insect Prevention:

Termites and other wood-boring bugs can wreak havoc on homes with wooden exteriors. Regular painting helps seal off any potential entry points for these pests, keeping your house bug-free.

Curb Appeal & Property Value Enhancement:

Not only does painting protect your home, but it also makes it look snazzy. A fresh coat of paint boosts curb appeal, making your house more attractive to potential buyers. According to, a good-looking exterior can increase your property value by up to 5% – 10%. It’s like giving your house a makeover that pays off.

So whether you’re jazzing up the inside or getting rid of old wallpaper, investing in professional painting services like ours ensures your home stays awesome for years to come.

3. How Many Coats of Paint Are Needed for Exterior Painting?

The number of coats needed for exterior painting can be a complex calculation depending on several variables.

Most pros, like the talented folks at Marc Poulos Painting and Decoratingsuggest two coats for a smooth and durable finish. This helps cover any boo-boos from the first coat and protects against Mother Nature’s wrath.

Determining the Number of Coats

To figure out how many coats you’ll need, consider these three things:

  • Type of Paint: Some paints are superheroes and cover better than others. Splurge on the good stuff for fewer coats.
  • Surface Condition: If your surface is rough or rocking a dark color, you might need extra coats to hide the old and make it look fab.
  • The Desired Finish: If you want a fancy-pants color or a glossy sheen, be prepared to slap on some extra coats to achieve that wow factor.

Tips for Applying Multiple Coats

If you’re going for multiple coats, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Don’t rush it. Let each coat dry completely before adding another. Patience is key to avoiding streaks and wonky results.
  2. Trust the experts. Pros like the team at Marc Poulos Painting know their stuff. They recommend two coats for a reason.

Remember, each dwelling is distinctive, so there’s no universal response. Talk to the pros to get personalized advice for your painting project.

4. What Factors Affect How Many Coats Are Needed?

When it comes to painting the exterior of your home, the number of coats needed depends on a few key factors. Let’s break it down:

Type of Paint

The type of paint you choose can make a big difference. Oil-based paints require fewer coats because they’re thicker and provide better coverage. Just be prepared to wait a bit longer for them to dry.

Condition of Surface

The condition of the surface being painted matters too. If it’s a new surface, it may soak up more paint and require extra coats. On the other hand, if it’s already been painted, you might need fewer coats. If your surface is a hot mess, some sanding and priming might be in order.

Desired Finish

What kind of finish are you going for? If you want a flat finish, you’ll need fewer coats. But if you’re aiming for a glossy look, you might need to layer it on a bit more. Just remember, the shinier the finish, the more imperfections will show.

Color Change

If you’re switching from a dark color to a light one (or vice versa), be prepared for some extra coats. You want to make sure that old color doesn’t peek through your new shade.

The desired finish, the condition of the surface, color changes, and type of paint all factor into how many coats you’ll need. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to call in the pros like Marc Poulos Painting & Decorating. They’ve got the experience to tackle any painting project in the Greater Chicago Area.

5. What Type of Paint Should I Use for Exterior Painting?

Choosing the right paint for your exterior is like finding the perfect shade of lipstick – it’s crucial. You’ve got two options: oil-based paints and water-based paints. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints, also known as alkyd paints, are like the superheroes of the paint world. Their strength and durability make them able to handle even the toughest of elements, thus earning them a reputation as the Chuck Norris of paints. They’re like the Chuck Norris of paints. Still, before you can take advantage of their mightiness, some extra prep is needed – so be ready to pause for a bit.

Water-Based Paints

On the other hand, we have water-based paints, or as I like to call them, the “easy peasy” paints. They dry faster, clean up easily with soap and water, and are a favorite among DIY enthusiasts. They’re like the MacGyver of paints – quick and resourceful. However, they may not be able to withstand extreme weather conditions as well as oil-based paints.

Making Your Choice: Oil vs Water Based Paints

So, how do you decide? Consider factors like your climate, the condition of your surfaces, and the finish you desire. And remember, no matter which type you choose, proper surface preparation is key. If you’re still unsure, consult with professional painters like us at Marc Poulos Painting & Decorating. We’ve got the expertise to guide you through this colorful journey.


  • If you’re feeling lost in the paint aisle, don’t worry. Seek advice from the paint gurus like us who have mastered the art of painting with different types of paint. We’re here to help.

6. What Preparation Is Required Before Applying Paint?

Before slapping on the paint, you gotta get your home’s exterior ready. Prep work is key to making that paint stick and last longer.


First things first, give your home a good scrub. Get rid of dirt, dust, mold, and mildew that can mess with your paint job. Use a pressure washer or a scrub brush to get those surfaces squeaky clean.

Removing Loose or Peeling Paint

Peeling paint? Scrape it off like a boss. Don’t leave any loose bits hanging around, or your new paint will look like a hot mess.

Filling Cracks and Holes

Got cracks or holes? Fill ’em up with caulk or spackle. Smooth walls are the way to go, and it keeps moisture from ruining your paint party.

Sanding Rough Areas

Rough spots? Sand ’em down for a smooth finish. It’s like giving your walls a spa treatment before the paint makeover.

Prioritizing Priming

Don’t forget to prime, especially if you’re dealing with bare wood. A good primer protects against UV rays and helps the paint stick like glue.

7. How Long Does Exterior Painting Take?

The duration of an exterior painting project can vary significantly based on several factors. It’s not merely a matter of applying some paint to the outside of your house; there needs to be proper planning, prep work, and execution for optimal results.

The amount of space being painted will affect the duration of an exterior painting project, as larger homes or buildings take longer than smaller ones. Naturally, larger homes or buildings require more time than smaller ones. The number of coats needed also affects this timeline – generally speaking, each coat may take 1-2 days to apply depending on weather conditions and other factors.

The type of paint used is another crucial factor that influences how long an exterior painting project takes. For instance, oil-based paints are known for their durability, but they often need longer drying times between coats compared to water-based paints.

  • Type of Paint: Oil-based paints usually require at least 24 hours to dry before applying another coat, while water-based paints typically dry faster, allowing for quicker application times.
  • Surface Condition: If you’re working with new construction or if your existing surfaces are in good condition (no peeling paint or cracks), then less prep work is required, which speeds up the process.
  • Weather Conditions: Weather plays a critical role too. Ideal painting conditions would be mild temperatures without excessive humidity or wind as these could affect drying times and overall quality.

In addition to these factors, don’t forget about preparation time. This includes cleaning the surface with either a pressure washer or scrub brush (here’s how), removing any loose or peeling paint, filling any cracks with caulk/spackle (learn more here), sanding down rough areas, and priming bare wood surfaces appropriately before starting with actual painting work.

To sum up: While there isn’t one definitive answer due to all these variables involved – expect anywhere from a few days up to a couple of weeks for completion when considering typical residential projects by professionals like us at Marc Poulos Painting and Decorating.

Key Thought: 

Exterior painting projects can take varying amounts of time depending on factors such as the size of the area, number of coats needed, type of paint used, surface condition, and weather conditions. Factors like drying times between coats for oil-based paints and preparation work also contribute to the overall duration. On average, residential projects can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete.


When it comes to exterior painting, the number of coats needed depends on factors like surface condition and desired color change.

Weather conditions, paint type, and proper preparation also play a role in determining how many coats are necessary for a successful exterior paint job.

Consulting with a professional painter can provide expert advice tailored to your specific needs.

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