How does coverage rate between paint & spray application work in the real world?

Coverage rate in the real world

How does coverage rate between paint & spray application work in the real world?

When painting a surface, one issue that is frequently overlooked during the application process is film thickness – a vital part of a coatings durability performance. Generally, when coatings are used they are either applied by hand brushing or spray application. To make sure you get the most out of your coating, it is vital to get the right amount of paint on the surface. Sometimes determining the correct amount of paint can be a challenge and potentially cost you hundreds of dollars more than you may have budgeted for.

So what is the difference between hand brushing and spray application?


  1. Less prep work i.e. less masking on the surface required
  2. More attention to paint detail required, can be difficult to paint around tricky surfaces and obstructions
  3. Thicker paint strokes
  4. Uses less paint per square metre
  5. Can be physically demanding and time consuming.
  6. No costly machinery or paint protection accessories required to complete the job


  1. High quality surface finish
  2. More prep work required (masking and taping required for all surfaces you do not want painted)
  3. Easier to spray tricky surfaces and obstructions
  4. Faster than painting once you start
  5. Optimal spray distance 10-20cm
  6. Will use more paint during spray application and clean up
  7. Potential risk of a thinner application if not done properly
  8. Can be difficult to master even spray application (Cross –coat may be required vertical then horizontal spray)
  9. May need to dilute paint
  10. Will need a spray machine – added cost
  11. Coveralls, respirators and goggles

Spraying a surface as opposed to painting a surface will use on average three times more paint than brushing. It is also important to mention that when spraying a coating, paint will disperse (overspray) during the process. Once the job is completed for the day any paint left in the spray machine must be blown out. This will also result in some wastage of paint.

So how do you know what application will work for you?

There is no right application method, both methods have pros and cons and it will come down to personal choice, cost and time. Always be sure to measure the surface area you are intending to coat, and factor this into the amount of coating you will require and application method chosen. All surface areas must be adequately prepped and cleaned prior to starting. Follow all paint manufactures instructions on the label, technical data sheet and SDS. If in doubt contact the paint manufactures technical department prior to starting the job. In areas that are subject to high levels of direct UV sun exposure, potential rain exposure high traffic areas, an extra coat may provide more protection.

This article should be used as a guide only. This article is for informational purposes and should not be relied on as application variables affect product performance therefore this information should be used as a guide. The user must satisfy themselves as to the suitability of this product for their requirements. Mirotone assumes no liability for use of this information.

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