How to Correct Orange Peel When Spray Painting

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A number of factors can cause orange peel as your spray paint.
A number of factors can cause orange peel as your spray paint. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

“Orange peel” occurs on the surface of some items while painting. Rather than appearing smooth and shiny, orange peel paint dries with a mottled, matte finish much like the look and texture of an orange peel. This happens when atomized paint fuses poorly on the surface. In other words, it occurs when spray paint is applied improperly and dries poorly. If you catch orange peel problems early, you can correct them while spray painting. Handling orange peel while painting is much easier than trying to fix the problem days or weeks afterward.

Things You'll Need

  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • Cotton swab
  • Paint thinner

Stop painting immediately if you notice orange peel developing while painting. Wait for the orange peel surface to fully dry.

Sand the orange peel blotches smooth with 300-grit sandpaper. To correct the problem when painting, you must remove existing orange peel and then reapply the paint.

Check your paint sprayer's nozzle for obstructions. Orange peel typically occurs when the paint isn't flowing at an optimum rate. If you notice any globs of paint or debris on the nozzle, remove these obstructions with a cotton swab dipping in paint thinner.

Test your paint sprayer on a piece of scrap, holding the nozzle about 1 foot from the surface. If you hold the nozzle too close or too far from a surface, the paint won't mist properly on the surface, resulting in orange peel.

Dilute your paint with paint thinner added to your paint spray gun if the paint steel produces orange peel on the scrap. If there is no nozzle blockage and you're spraying from the proper distance, thick paint is usually to blame. Test the spray gun again to ensure the problem is corrected before you start painting.

Lower the temperature of your workspace, if possible. If you're still having problems with orange peel, a hot environment may be the cause. Paint dries prematurely under intense heat, leading to orange peel. If your workspace is not air conditioned or is outside, wait to complete your project until the temperature falls below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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