Why Paint Feels Rough After Spraying and How to Fix!


Last updated: May 9, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Fixing Rough Spray Paint After Spraying!

Why paint feels rough after spraying

Sometimes, the outcome of a spray painting job can be different from what you expect. There are instances where instead of a sleek clear texture, your spray paint feels rough after spraying. 

A rough spray finish has a sandpaper texture usually caused by poor coating, improper setup, and wrong application technique. Does your paint hood feel rough after spraying? Don’t worry; we’re here to help you correct the mishap. 

In this article, we’ll explain why your spray paint feels rough after spraying and the best methods to fix it. We’ll also share tips on how best to avoid similar problems in the future.

Why Paint Feels Rough After Spraying

Your paint will feel rough after spraying if the air pressure is too high or the fluid delivery is too low. Spraying with the gun far from the object also causes roughness, the same way spraying on a dirty surface or not sanding the substrate will produce undesirable finishes. Always ensure you use paint compatibility with the substrate and keep the layers thin and balanced. 

Reasons Why Your Paint Feels Rough After Spraying

Several reasons contribute to the roughness of your paint texture. Let’s take a look at some of them. 

1. You Sprayed on a Dirty Surface

Most people often overlook the importance of surface preparation. Even if a substrate looks visibly clean, there could be unnoticeable dirt and debris, which should be wiped clean before you can carry out any painting work. 

A clean substrate is proportional to a smooth finish; otherwise, all the dirt will not only cause adhesion problems but will produce a rough, uneven texture. 

2. You Didn’t Sand the Substrate

Spray paint tends to reflect the light when dry, and if no sanding is done on the surface prior to spraying, the sheen will clearly bring out the imperfections caused by surface contaminants.

You’ve probably noticed all those dents, scratches, and nicks because you didn’t sand the substrate or prime it before spray painting.

Again, after priming, sanding should follow, and with each paint layer, keep sanding between coats to achieve that shiny, smooth texture. 

3. You Used the Wrong Type of Paint

There are several different types of paint, and some are more compatible with other substrates than others. 

For example, there are paints specifically formulated for wood, others for concrete, for glass, and even car’s paint. This helps ensure maximum adhesion and surface protection. 

While some paints work well on more than one type of surface, you should ensure that the paint you use is good for the material you want to paint. 

The improper pairing of paint and substrates is a common paint problem and one of the primary catalysts of a rough surface texture. 

4. You Applied Thick Layers of Paint

One habit most spray painters often exhibit is impatience. 

We want to reduce the time we spend on a project as much as possible, and the best way to achieve that is by hurriedly applying a thick single layer or layers. That would cover more ground and finish the job faster, right? Wrong. 

You’ll even out your painting surface with a single coat but not cover it entirely. In addition, a thick coat takes longer to dry and is susceptible to cracking and drying, eventually leading to that annoying rough feeling after spraying. 

Do you want a smooth, beautiful finish? Keep the layers thin and apply at least three coats. It may be soon time-consuming but it’s worth it. 

5. You Didn’t Prime Your Surface

Wood surfaces typically have grainy textures, which often show through the sheen of most spray paints, creating an uneven appearance that may be rough to the touch. 

A primer helps conceal these imperfections and enhances the adhesion of subsequent layers of spray paint. 

Adding at least two layers of primer ensures no moisture on the surface. It also helps save on more paint as you will not need to apply several coats. 

Nippon Aqua Primer Sealer Undercoat is a good example of the best primer to prevent rough surface texture. It also works with most concrete, fiberboard, and wood substrates.

6. You Failed to Shake the Can Before Spraying

Before getting down to work, take a few minutes to shake the can thoroughly. Those few minutes will save you unnecessary frustrations at the end of your work. 

The solvents should be thoroughly mixed to get the most out of your spray paint. Next, test spray onto cardboard to ascertain if the nozzle is working to perfection and if there are no clogging issues. 

In case of clogging or spitting, you’ll need to fix the problem by cleaning the nozzle before spraying can be done. 

The bottom line is, test if your aerosol can nozzle is functioning correctly and if the paint is in good condition. You won’t have to contend with a rough feeling after spray painting. 

7. The Air Pressure Too High or Too Low

Contrary to popular perception, increasing the air pressure doesn’t hasten the job or result in a more even finish. 

If anything, you’ll end up with an overspray, excessive use of spray paint, and damage to gun parts and tips. Working within the minimum pressure necessary to achieve an optimal finish is much safer. 

It’s best to apply a minimum pressure bar of 100 and then gradually increase it until you reach an optimal distribution of material. 

Similarly, if you want to know that the air pressure on your sprayer is too low, check for the patchy spray pattern and uneven paint distribution around the center. 

Otherwise, a worn-out nozzle could cause a spotty spray pattern, which can occur even if you maintain a steady pressure of 200 bars, resulting in a rough texture on your coat. 

How to Fix a Rough Feeling Spray Paint?

We’ve covered the most common reasons your spray paint feels rough after spraying. We will now go over the characteristics of a rough paint finish and the best ways to fix them. 

1. Grainy Finish

A grainy-looking finish is one of the most common types of rough spray paint. It happens when you stand at the wrong distance from the substrate. 

If you spray too far from the object, the paint particles will atomize and dry before they settle on the surface resulting in a grainy texture. 

If you find it challenging maintaining the proper distance, try spraying on a practice piece to ascertain the optimal distance. Otherwise, you can fix the grainy finish by sanding the surface back and then respraying.

2. Orange Peel

An orange peel texture is another form of rough spray paint. This problem usually stems from low spray gun air pressure or thick paint layers. 

It’s advisable to thin your paint before use per the manufacturer’s specifications. You should also check if the air pressure is optimal and avoid spraying too close to the substrate. 

Wet sanding with 1200-grit sandpaper and buffing would fix orange peel issues. If the situation is too severe, consider thinning out the affected surface and respraying.

3. Wrinkling

You know your surface will turn out dry and rough if it develops wrinkles when applying a new finish or when the paint starts to dry. 

Possible causes of wrinkling are spraying too soon between coats causing the new finish to attack the previous one. 

Timing is vital to avoid this problem. Always follow the waiting time window between coats as per the manufacturer’s recommendations on the product label. 

The goal is to ensure that a mechanical bond is formed between layers. If wrinkling has already occurred, wait for the base coat to harden, then sand back and recoat within the specified timeframes.

Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Rough Paint After Spraying

It’s much better to prevent than solve a problem. If you want to avoid surface finish issues like roughness and dryness, you can prevent them before they happen. Below are a few tips you might find helpful. 

1. Prevent Drips

Paint drips happen when you apply too much paint, especially with vertical surfaces. Try to apply paint on the surface facing up, then flip them on the other side and apply the next set of coats in an upward-facing position to prevent drips

The process takes longer as it requires you to wait for one side to dry before flipping over to the other, but it’s worth it. 

2. Mitigate Blobs

If you follow the tip above, you should watch out for blobs. Blobs occur when you flip the substrate over to paint the other side, and it rests on the paint that is oversprayed on the drop sheet. 

If that paint hasn’t dried, it could peel off the protective covering and stick on the edges of your substrate, resulting in blobs. Such blobs are messy as they involve sanding and repainting. 

To avoid this problem, place the object on a fresh sheet or cloth when flipping it over for the second round of spray painting. 

Alternatively, you can use a long piece of drop cloth, then when it’s time to flip it over, fold the end to cover the wet paint. That will mitigate blobs completely. 

3. Avoid Too Much Heat

The instructions on most spray paint cans often emphasize one thing: do not spray paint in direct sunlight. Why? Because a rough finish is inevitable with too much sunlight. 

Naturally, when it’s too hot, the paint will dry faster as it atomizes before it lands on the surface, resulting in bumps and roughness. 

You’ll have to sand it again and respray, a process you are better off avoiding by simply working away from direct sunlight.   

4. Stop Finger Fatigue

If you are working on a larger project or one that you’ll need several hours to complete, you’ll get weary, no doubt. 

Finger fatigue, often caused by holding down the little spray paint button for long, is one of the most overlooked causes of rough paint finishes. 

Since it’s inevitable, you’re better off investing in a spray trigger and avoiding getting worn out too quickly.  

5. Use A Spray Shelter

Spray painting is best done outside as the fumes get really strong. But if you must spray paint indoors, ensure there’s good ventilation.

Again, working outdoors means paint overspray will be more manageable and less messy than indoors. But if you must work inside, you’ll want to prevent or limit paint overspray as much as possible. That’s when a spray shelter comes in handy. 

Depending on the object being sprayed, you can improvise with a large carton box, but if you’re looking to invest in something more sustainable in the long run, a special spray shelter will do. 

Which Spray Paint Can I Use for a Smooth Finish?

Generally, spray paints are formulated to produce that shiny, smooth finish on nearly every surface. However, some products have better properties resulting in smoother paint finishes than others.ย 

If you’re wondering which ones are the best, the Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi Purpose Spray Paint and the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint are good examples that will give the best protection against this mishap. Below is a brief review of these two brands and why we think they’re the best for avoiding paint correction. 

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint

The Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint is an oil-based formula by the leading paint brand Rust-Oleum.This high-quality product has an intuitive spray tip that ensures easy application and fast drying time of no more than 20 minutes.ย 

The formula is a favorite with most painters as it doesn’t emit foul odors, can cover up to 12 square feet with a single can, and comes in various premium colors and finishes.

In addition, the Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint works best on nearly every surface, be it ceramic or wood, though it’s not ideal for vinyl furniture. 

As with all oil-based formulations, this product is toxic until dry. You should therefore wear gloves when using it.

What We Liked ๐Ÿ‘

  • Faster drying time
  • Minimal odor
  • Available in a wide variety of premium colors, smooth finishes, and multipacks.

What Could Change ๐Ÿ‘Ž

  • Not compatible with some types of vinyl.

Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint

The Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint beats the Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Spray Paint when it comes to drying time.ย 

You can expect this formula to dry to touch within 10 minutes or less, which is highly impressive. It’s also available in various color and finish options and contains anti-rust properties, making it suitable for outdoor use. 

Although the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint boasts rich, warm, and natural colors, its primary weakness is a semi-strong odor which you should ensure you don’t inhale or ingest. 

It also features a large button applicator which users might find challenging to control when making adjustments. 

But other than that, the Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint is excellent for achieving a smooth finish on most surfaces, such as paper mache.

What We Liked ๐Ÿ‘

  • Contains anti-rust materials
  • Multiple colors and finish options
  • Works on a wide variety of surfaces

What Could Change ๐Ÿ‘Ž

  • It emits a semi-strong odor
  • Toxic until dry.
  • The applicator is not user-friendly

FAQS- Fixing Rough Feeling Spray Paints

Why does my paint have a rough texture?

Check the spray nozzle or tip. Chances are that the nozzle is faulty and spitting paint, causing an uneven spray pattern. Or, if you’re painting in direct sunlight, the paint dries faster before hitting the surface, so you want to move to a shaded area to prevent this. Otherwise, ensure your surface is spotlessly clean before you apply paints to it. 

Will priming prevent roughness?

Yes. Priming helps keep out moisture and improve adhesion which ultimately prevents roughness. While some paints contain primers and require no separate priming, when using regular spray paint, always apply at least two layers of primer before painting. 

How do you prevent tiger stripes when spray painting?

Tiger stripes are usually the result of an improper adjustment of the HVLP gun. Always check to ensure that the width of the fan is not too wide or too narrow. The fan is narrow if it’s around 2-3 inches and too wide if it’s about 10 inches. Try to adjust it within 4-8 inches and overlap your strokes by 50% for optimal spraying. 

Should I sand spray paint before a clear coat?

Yes. Sanding, priming, and polishing are vital to achieving an excellent finish with a clear coat. These processes help keep the surface clean from dirt such as road grime and impurities before applying a clear coat. 

How do you smooth out the paint texture?

If it is a painted wall, you can remove the texture by applying a thin layer of drywall compound known as a skim coat. This covers the texture, not necessarily removing it. But the best way to smooth out paint texture on any surface is by sanding back with medium grit sandpaper. 

Can I fix a bumpy paint job?

Yes, although sanding is involved. There’s no easy way out with bumps, you’ll have to first eliminate them either by sanding or using a paint thinner. Use fine-grit sandpaper for sanding away the bumps, then reapply another coat to even out the affected areas. If you prefer using a paint thinner, apply a moderate amount on the affected areas, taking care not to spill it on other parts of the substrate. Wait for the paint to loosen, then give it a good wash or wipe it off before priming and respraying. 

Summary โ€“ Rough Feeling Spray Paint 

There, you have it. Your paint feels rough after spraying because you didn’t adequately prepare the surface. Or you didn’t check if the can components are functioning correctly. You might also have applied too thick paint, or the air pressures are not optimal. 

These are some of the many reasons you’re not getting the desired smooth finish you had anticipated. You can fix these issues by removing surface contaminants, sanding, priming, or implementing other tips we’ve shared here. But most importantly, you can avoid similar problems in the future by taking the necessary preventative measures. 

While spray painting comes with its share of challenges, it’s an art that, once you master, can be rewarding. The next time paint feels rough after spraying car or any other surface, this guide will help you fix those issues.ย ย 

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