does paint get darker with second coat
Kristina Davis

Does paint get darker with second coat? Should you really go for a second coat if you are pretty satisfied with the first? 

How long do you have to wait before you go for the second coat?

Because of the permanent nature of a paint job, it is natural to have so many questions just before starting a new project. 

So many times, you want your paint to look rather darker, and it seems the simplest way to achieve it is through an additional coat.

So, does adding more coats of paint make it darker? Should you really go for it?

No, adding another coat of paint will not make it darker by any means because the pigment does not change, though it may make your paint a bit vibrant.

Does Paint Get Darker With Second Coat Or Not?

does paint get darker

Adding another layer of paint won’t make it darker, but if the first one isn’t thick enough, the new coat can make the color pop.

The second coat of paint, whether acrylic or water-based color, can assist bring out the true hue of the paint.

That being said, you may be able to darken your first coat a little using the second coat.

It all depends on the paint color, the paint itself, and the surface to be painted. 

Depending on the paint you use, it is possible that adding another coat lightens the first coat.

Tip: If your walls have a lot of texture, you should use a roller cover with a thicker nap to get into the cracks and cover the whole surface. 

Why Can’t You Darken Paint With A Second Coat?

why can't you darken paint

The color of your paint depends only on the pigment it contains. Put as many layers as you like on top of it, and it won’t alter.

That’s why it’s not accurate to state that adding more coats of paint makes it darker. There is no variation in the pigment with additional coats. 

But based on how you apply your first coat, additional coats may lead to a more vibrant, colorful appearance.

It is usually the case only if you paint with extremely thin coatings. This is because you’re revealing the pigment’s real hue by increasing the pigment’s density. 

When Do You Benefit From A Second Coat?

If you want the original color to become darker, additional coats are not going to help much.

But, in certain situations, you may want to try the second coat.

That is usually when you opt for thin coating and the base (wall) shows through it.

second coat of paint

Although this does not affect the paint itself, the color of the underlying wall does affect your perception.

Therefore, you must use a sufficient number of coats to ensure thorough coverage if you want your paint to have depth and vibrancy. 

Moreover, going for a second coat may help protect the surface from wear and tear. 

Will A Second Coat Make Any Difference To The Original Color?

Despite making the original color pop a bit more, a second coat is not going to make a lot of difference.

In fact, it is not always necessary to paint your walls twice. When painting, a good rule of thumb is to just apply one layer if the new paint color is close to the previous paint color.

But if the new paint color is drastically different from what you had on your walls, you may need to apply two coats. 

Situations When A Second Coat May Help

situations when second coat helps

You may need to apply two coats of paint to the wall if you have never painted it before or if it is damaged and needs to be repaired.

Sometimes, a second coat comes in handy when your first coat looks patchy.

Uneven or flaking paint is not ideal but is rather common. It may happen because of incorrect application, faulty mixing, and natural factors beyond your control.  

If the paint has dried in patches, you can sometimes fix the problem by sanding the affected areas and repainting them. 

Do You Have To Wait Between Consecutive Coats?

Yes, it is important to give the first coat enough time to dry up completely before going for the second coat.

Depending on the humidity, latex paint takes between two to eight hours to dry to its final color. It normally takes 6-8 hours for oil-based paint to cure completely.

It means that you can get two coats of paint in a single day if you apply the first coat in the morning and the second one in the afternoon or later.

Ensure that the first layer has dried completely before applying the second.

dry first layer

Remember, just like giving it enough time to dry, you should not wait for a bit too long to apply the second coat.

The second coat of paint may have problems adhering to the first if you wait too long before applying it. 

An Important Consideration

Always take the weather conditions in mind. If it is sunny outside, you may want to do the first coat early in the morning.

And then start the second later in the day, preferably finishing in the evening.

Do You Need Excessive Paint To Finish The Second Coat?

Usually, it comes down to the surface and the quality of the paint.

It is possible to apply less paint for the second layer when painting with high-gloss or semi-gloss paint due to its thinner consistency.

On the other hand, if you use a second coat of flat or eggshell paint, you are more likely to use additional paint for proper coverage.

use of excessive paint
Tip: Do not rush into applying the second coat but ensure that the first coat is still a bit moist when you apply the second for the best results. 

Why Does My Paint Feel Lighter/Darker From The Color Swatch?

In most cases, the paint does not change consistency after drying.

The paint may appear different than expected during the application, but high-quality paint should always cure to the exact shade that is shown on the container or swatch.

However, your paint can become darker if it is too old. The same is true if you use paint exposed to light for a long time. 

Similarly, incorrect mixing may also be the reason why your paint appears darker than intended. 

Will Additional Layers Make Your Paint Appear Darker?

additional paint layers

Probably not. A darker-than-expected paint is the result of factors other than additional coatings. 

If the surrounding colors or the wall color before the paint job were lighter, the paint would look darker. 

Some paint finishes, like gloss, actually make the paint look darker than it is because of the way light is reflected off them.

Similarly, if you use flat paint, it may give the impression of being lighter because it soaks up additional light. 

How Many Coats Are Usually Enough To Avoid Darker Or Lighter Finish?

It really just depends on the surface, the quality of your paint, and the outcome you want

In most cases, though, you can achieve a smooth and even finish with no more than three coats of paint.

Go beyond that and you will have a buildup that is extremely tricky to remove.

can of paint

If you apply more than three coats of paint, the surface may become too saturated and take on a deeper, more intense appearance.

Tip: Always seek the advice of a professional painter if you are unsure how many coats of paint will be required for your project. 

How Do You Avoid Lighter Or Darker Than Expected Paint?

Working with a pro is usually the best way to get the finish and color you truly desire.

But, if you want to handle it by yourself, you must consider some important points. 

For instance:

  • Be sure to invest in high-quality paint because they use the correct pigment.
  • Ensure the temperature is above 60F when you paint to avoid unexpected results.
  • Never overlook the importance of using a primer when painting your walls.
  • Ensure that the humidity stays under 70% when you start a paint job.
  • Always stir your paint vigorously and thoroughly before you use it.
finish painting walls

Other than these, it is important that you do not try to touch up your paint after finishing a paint job.

It is only going to lead to uneven application. 

You would be much better off going for an additional coat because repainting the wall would yield better results.

Tip: Besides getting the best paint, be sure to invest in high-quality brushes, tape, and roller covers to achieve impressive results. 


Does paint get darker with second coat? 

In most situations, your additional coat is not going to make your paint go darker. Instead, other factors go into determining the end results. 

The humidity and temperature play a role here, and so do the techniques you use while mixing and applying the paint.

Be consistent with the process and you won’t be surprised in the end.