Decorating can be a straightforward process, but if the paint is too thick or too thin the results may be disappointing. Thick paint can result in unsightly ridges and a lumpy, sloppy finish – which is all the more upsetting after cleaning and preparing the surfaces! Equally, paint that is too thin may result in dripping, potentially damaging skirting boards and floors.

Before getting started, it’s crucial to check that the paint is the right consistency. DIYers can check this by stirring the paint and letting it run off the stick. Ideally, it should slide off like heavy cream, rather than in lumps or like water.

As our experienced decorators at Scott Anson Painters and Decorators Ltd. will agree, the perfect consistency can help provide great results.

Can Different Types of Paint be Thinned?

Both oil-based and latex paints can be thinned, but they must be treated differently. It’s important to check the base of the paint and follow instructions tailored to each type. Latex paint can be thinned by adding water. For oil-based paints, mineral spirits or turpentine are recommended to achieve an ideal consistency.

Mixing oil-based paints with water is a recipe for disaster and could ruin the paint. Equally, mineral spirits should not be applied to latex-based paints, so it’s crucial that decorators choose the correct method.

When adding water or mineral spirits, DIYers should ensure that it is done slowly with plenty of stirring. Stirring should not be rushed; the more thorough it is, the higher the likelihood that there will be no variations in colour throughout the batch.

Test Throughout the Process

Thinning paint can be a messy endeavour. Once containers and stirring sticks have been used for this specific purpose they will not be suitable for anything else besides painting, so it’s essential to choose equipment with this in mind. Gloves are also recommended to protect the skin.

While stirring, scraping the paint away from the sides and base of the container will ensure that no paint remains unmixed, keeping it smooth and consistent throughout the batch. During the process, swiping the brush across a test surface can demonstrate whether it is ready or requires more thinning. It is also advisable to discard any dried lumps of paint as it is unlikely they can be salvaged.