What Causes Orange Peel When Painting?

Painting is a technical and artistic job. During the process of painting, the professional has to be careful to avoid the defects that may arise in the last finishing coat. In the final finish, the paint makes the surface glittering and attractive.

If there come problems, the painters have to repeat the whole process right from the beginning with the loss of material, time, and labor.

These problems may be of different kinds, like overspray, paint thickness, bubbles, smudges, and solvent mixture. All of these are the result of gun mishandling and the inartistic behavior of the painters.

It is very necessary for professional painters to study in detail the manufacturer’s descriptive guide. It will help a lot to save these issues.

What Is Orange Peel?

During painting a surface, a layer of uneven paint happens on the top of the surface or a bumpy look left on the surface is called orange peel as it looks like an orange.

It can be found in the clear final coat and colored film of paint.


It doesn’t depend on the brand and quality of the paint, or the variety of spray guns, it is all due to mishandling the job which results in a distorted surface and increasing viscosity in the final finishing coat.

So the improper painting technique, incorrect setup of the spray gun, and all imperfections in the paint at the final round cause orange peels which occur due to many internal and external factors.

What Are The Causes Of Orange Peel?

There are many causes of orange peel spray paint, read the following and check in detail the factors causing orange peel;

#1. Wrong Adjustment Of Spray Gun

If you adjust the gun’s nozzle, cup and tip wrongly, it will not make proper pressure and cause splitting in the spraying.

The non-compatibility of the size of the nozzle and the thickness of the paint cause orange peel in the paint, and a little mishandling in adjustment can result in heavy damage.

#2. High Level Of Thickness And Air

The next reason for the orange peel is the viscosity or thickness of the paint. The imbalance between the thickness of the paint and the air atomizing liquid creates an orange peel on the surface.

When there is a thicker mixture of paint, it requires more air but a thinner mixture of paint needs less air for easy flow.

When the amount of air and thickness of the paint is not adjusted properly, making orange peel is a common thing.

#3. Room Temperature And The Paint Mixture

Environmental conditions are also among the main factors that cause orange peel.

When the painter doesn’t care about the temperature in the preparation of solvent, it may also become the cause of orange peel in the final finishing coat.

#4. Earlier Paint Not Dried Properly

Next, what causes orange peel in automotive paint is the drying time of the paint.

Each product of paint requires a different time to dry for the subsequent coating, if the earlier coat doesn’t dry properly, it can cause orange peel.

#5. Improper Preparation Of Surface

When the surface on which you are to apply paint is not prepared properly, it is not free of dirt, stains, oil, etc.

If it is not sanded well, it will cause orange peel. These imperfections collect paint and make the surface uneven.

#6. Distance Between The Surface And The Gun

If the distance between the surface you are spraying and your paint gun is more or less than required, it may cause the paint to dry soon or remain loose making an uneven level and can cause orange peel.

The non-technical painters often do the mistake of keeping a suitable distance and face a great loss.

How To Prevent Orange Peel In Clear Coat?

There are many painting surfaces where orange peel occurs. From automobiles to the interior walls, exterior walls, fences, etc.

Every surface is affected by uneven and bumpy surface formation. Here come to the point how to prevent orange peel while spray painting;

#1. Preparing The Surface

If you want to avoid the orange peel, first of all, prepare the surface well for the final coat of paint.

Clean the place, sand it well and spray a primer coat to make it ready for the ultimate paint preventing orange peel.

#2. Preparing The Paint And Thinner

When you use wrongly mixed paint, it can create bubbles. So you should make sure that you are using the right thinner for the paint because properly mixed paint doesn’t make bubbles or orange peel.

So choose high-quality paint that has the capacity for self-leveling.

#3. Straining The Prepared Paint

If you want to avoid the orange peel, try to filter your mixed or prepared paint through a reliable sieve so that all the impurities may be removed and the paint may level well when sprayed.

#4. Avoid Spraying In Damp Weather

How to avoid orange peel with a spray gun is a commonly asked question.

With many other factors affecting and causing orange peel, the humidity of the weather also plays an important role in creating bubbles and disturbing the final finishing coat.

So try to avoid spraying paint when the weather is not supportive.

#5. Stir The Prepared paint

When you want to reduce orange peel in a clear coat, don’t shake the paint in the container but stir it with a stick so that it can mix well before filling the gun.

If you shake the container, the impurities in the bottom of the container may again mix and can block the nozzle and cause orange peel.

#6. Avoid Over-Spraying

Seeking the solution to the problem of how to spray a clear coat without orange peel, you should spray carefully in a smooth way so that there may not be spray twice or overspray at the surface.

The overspray may cause bubbles and make the paint uneven.

#7. Dry The Prior Coat Before Spraying A New Coat

When starting a new and final coat of paint, make sure that the preliminary paint coat has been dried fully.

If it is not dried, don’t spray another coat because this can make the surface uneven and cause orange peel.

#8. Clean The Spray Gun

With many other factors, cleaning the spray gun after every use can stop the orange peel.

When the gun is left unclean after use, the remaining paint stays there dries up, and blocks the gun when you use it for the next time.

Let’s learn how to clean the spray gun;

How To Clean Hvlp Spray Gun


You should focus on the following precautions when you want to reduce or stop the orange peel;

  • Your surface and paint are well prepared
  • The weather is conducive to work
  • Strain the paint well before spraying
  • Avoid over-spraying the surface
  • Clean your gun after using it every time
  • Adjust your spray gun right before filling and spraying
  • Use all the protective equipment like a mask, glasses, shoes, cap, and gloves when spraying paint
  • Keep the right distance between the gun and surface

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Orange Peel In Paint?

An orange peel is a layer of uneven paint on the top of the surface or a bumpy look left on the surface. It can be observed in the clear final coat.

Is Thinning Paint Helpful To Stop Orange Peel?

Yes, to some extent, thinning paint can be helpful. But too much thinning can cause the paint to flow over the surface. So thin the paint to get the right consistency.

What Are The Two Main Causes Of Orange Peel In Paint?

There are many causes of the orange peel in paint, but the main two are the wrong adjustment of the spray gun and the wrong mixing of paint having all impurities with it.

How Can I Stop Or Prevent Orange Peel In Paint?

You can prevent the orange peel in a painting by following the right way of spraying paint and learning the art of using a spray gun. For this purpose read the manufacturer’s descriptive guide in detail and follow all the instructions discussed there.

Final Thoughts

The painters and the professionals are always thinking about how to paint without the orange peel. As orange peel is the result of mishandling the gun and the paint in use. They need to do the job after getting proper information about the technicalities of the paintwork.

It all depends on the paint preparation and the amount of air pressure in the spray gun which makes the surface smooth or uneven.

I have covered the areas which cause orange peel in your painting, hopefully, these tips will stop or eliminate orange peel in your painting and you will be able to get a fine final finishing coat.

Additional Questions

How can I prevent an orange peel effect when painting?

To mitigate the occurrence of the ‘orange peel’ effect in your painting process, the volume of paint being sprayed needs to be regulated. This can be done by **reducing the amount of paint being sprayed** at a single moment or **increasing the pressure of the air** used in the spraying process. If your painting project involves using a gravity or siphon feed spray gun, incorporating a smaller tip, adjusting the fluid needle inwards, and raising the air pressure are useful strategies to prevent the orange peel texture. As a seasoned professional in the painting field, I can tell you that those small changes can greatly improve the finishing of your project.

Why does my paint finish resemble an orange peel?

That’s a common issue, and it can be quite frustrating. Your paint surface resembles an orange peel usually due to variables in the painting process, such as the use of incorrect rollers and brushes, improper thinning of the paint, or even inappropriate painting techniques. Fortunately, these mistakes can be corrected and you can avoid them in the future to prevent your paint from ‘orange peeling’.

Can the orange peel effect in paint be corrected?

Absolutely, the orange peel effect in paint can indeed be corrected. One approach is to use a **fast cut compound**, specifically formulated for vehicle surfaces, to smooth out the irregularities. A fast cutting compound is an abrasive product, that, when applied, will gradually eliminate a very fine layer of the paint resulting in the removal of the orange peel texture. From my experience, it’s an efficient, less labor-intensive alternative to sanding.

What type of sandpaper should I use to remove the orange peel effect?

If you prefer sanding to remove the orange peel effect from your paint, it is recommended to use **1500 grit dry sandpaper**. I can mention this recommendation was backed by a YouTube tutorial ‘Orange peel | Removal with 1500 grit DRY SANDING’ that I found quite useful. During my career in painting services, using this type of sandpaper has proven to be effective in dealing with orange peel paint textures.

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