Let’s be real: nobody wants to paint more coats than they have to. But what makes one paint’s coverage better than another? It mostly comes down to four key factors, and we’re here to break them down.


Bright reds and yellows tend to do a poorer job of hiding colors – in all types and qualities of paint. These organic pigments are naturally transparent, and the deeper bases that are used to make these colors just tend to have poor opacity. As a result, these colors tend to deliver uneven coverage. Consider using a high hiding white primer under these bright clean colors for best results.

Person rolling white color over a dark gray wall.


Beware of making dramatic color changes. If the new color is significantly different to what is currently on the surface – for instance, off white to go over a bright blue – the odds of achieving coverage in one coat will be diminished.

Person using a brush to apply a muted tan color to lower wall.


Two factors come into play:

  • First, good-quality applicators do a better job of applying paint, and more uniformly, than poor applicators. As a result, they achieve better coverage. 
  • Second, you should be careful not to overspread the product. It depends on surface porosity and the specific product being used, but many latex paints cover about 400 square feet per gallon. One fully-loaded roller should cover an area of about 9 square feet. Adding water to latex paint may seem to make it go further, but it really just diminishes coverage and hide, so you should avoid it
Person using roller to apply color to wall between two doors with another person pouring a can into tray.


A good formulation makes a difference. Lighter colors from the best-quality paints will generally hide, better than similar colors of lower-quality, less expensive paints.

Person holding  roller in tray on top of drop cloth  with a can, brush and rag in foreground.