Orange Peel Paint Finish – What Causes Orange Peel in Paint?

Hey Guys,

Many  of our subscribers have this common question.

What causes orange peel and how to I get rid of orange peel on my paint job?

Orange Peel Paint on Black Fender

This can be a tricky subject because there can be many causes for orange peel in your paint job. Below I will explain what I think the most common mistakes and problems are, and also possible solutions that you may use to eliminate and reduce orange peel on your paint projects.

1st. The most common mistake is the wrong paint viscosity of paint material.

When you’re mixing paints and add more activator or hardener than needed into your clear coat you may kind of mess yourself up because the clear coat won’t actually have the time needed to flow out properly.

After painting, you’ll notice it hardens with an orange peel effect (see pictures) It also depends on the reducer temperature that you’re using. A reducer that dries too fast in hot weather may also cause orange peel, again because of improper flow of material.

2. Low Pressure Spraying. When spraying a job with insufficient air pressure you will not give your paint a chance to atomize and break up enough to flow out nicely on your panel.

orange peel on hood of car
Orange peel on hood of car2. Low Pressure Spraying.

Atomization: Here is the definition for ‘atomize’ below.

atomize |ˈatəˌmīz|

verb [ trans. ]

convert (a substance) into very fine particles or droplets : the CO 2 depressurized, atomizing the paint into a mist of even-size particles.

• reduce (something) to atoms or other small distinct units : by disrupting our ties with our neighbors, crime atomizes society.


atomization |ˌatəməˈzā sh ən| noun

When spraying a job with insufficient air pressure you will not give your paint a chance to atomize and break up enough to flow out nicely on your panel. Your Solution: Spray using a HVLP spray gun if you have one and use at least 28-30 psi when spraying your paints.

3. Speed and flow of spray gun. You need to make sure that you have proper spraying patterns and even flow with your gun using the 50% spray pattern overlay. To watch and learn how you can excel with painting like a pro be sure to check out the VIP Membership Preview section of this website. It will help you master this skill and get you to paint like a pro in no time.

4. Needle size. Some people make the mistake of painting with a 1.8 nozzle rather than the 1.3-1.4 that’s recommended when painting automotive finishes. Make sure you use the standard 1.3-1.4 nozzle tips when painting with automotive finishes.

5. Ambiant Temperatures. Hot weather painting can cure your paint faster than you want it to. Use a slow reducer and activator when painting in hot temperatures.

If you want to learn more about auto body and paint be sure to check out the VIP Members Area where YOU can get instant access to complete series of auto body and paint & customization videos that you can learn from instantly via a online training course.

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21 thoughts on “Orange Peel Paint Finish – What Causes Orange Peel in Paint?”

  1. Thanks Tony
    I always use 1.8 nozzle, its could by my problem. And my clear coat looks exactly like red hood on the pic

  2. i was wandering if thare is a way to post a pic of my car on here? i used tip from people on here and i just finished it.
    It turned ou pretty good and wanted to share it with every one. you can send dirctions to my email [email protected] thanks for everything

  3. thanks tony, I paint my bumper and the trunk, but the trunk will stay orange peel, I use HVLP, air pressure 1.4 with 3 and 4 bars, with the bumpers had no problems were perfect, as if they were polished, your information to me been very useful thanks

  4. thanks tony i sometimes mix extra activator an do get that problem dint know that was causing it i always thought it was caused by mixing base coat 2 thick wont be doing that again

  5. this problem right here is the whole reason i found this website. i think its really awesome that there are still people that are willing to help out

  6. Hey Tony, newbee Lou here. I using PPG Omni 1k and have a new Sharp Finnix 3000 with a 1.4 tip. The gun has max pressure of 29 lbs at the gun,the Omini Paint I’m using says something 10-15 lbs. I’ve mixed the paint 4 to 2 to1 like what I read on the can, I’ve added maybe 10% reducer for touch up, and shot the paint at about 70 to 85 F. with a medium reducer. My compressor is a nice Husky 135 lbs putting out 10.5 cubis feet at 90 lbs. with a water trap on it and a trap and pressure gauge just below the gun like yours. I wish I could get the Shopline but the paint shop doesn’t carry it. I’ve tried everything and I still get orange peel. Is it the paint or have I lost my MOJO? Now I’m 64 years old and 40 years ago I shot a lot of V.W.’s in lacqurer with the old 50 to 60lb Binks gun and never had a problem. Talk to me Tony what the heck is going on?

    • hey Lou, are you spraying base or clear? Spray at about 28 psi wide open fluid. Maybe reduce your base a little more. Louis you seem like a cool guy. Would like to have you as a vip member in the club. I think you’ll fit right in with the others 🙂

  7. Hey tony I have painted plenty of cars in my career but for some reason I got orange peal in the clear coat like the red hood how can Fix this? I have never had a paint job orange peal before

  8. Thanks Tony for the help! Just off of your stuff I read I figured my problems out. And your right, the little mistakes are the ones you look over. My PSI was to low. I must have bumped the knob and did not know it. My psi was at 10 or 12psi and I corrected it. Thanks again.

  9. hey Tony, I’m having a problem with a really tiny leather effect. Tiny tiny orange peel even after wetsanded and buffed. It has happened on 3 cars now. I used a high solids clear (matrix ms 42) It happened on my impala. A year later I can wet sand it and it will buff out. Now I have new paint that’s 2 weeks old and I can’t get it out to save my life! What do you think? Thanks!… Bob

    • hey Robert,

      I would try and sand it down and flat more. If you still have orange peel after cutting and buffing, you didn’t do down enough. Worst case, sand it with 2000 and re clear it.

  10. i use sharps they good very well for me some ppl dont like them .well im here to ask you about my buffing alway look like it dal why is that sorry for the way i write some word are not right Thorn like how you help save ppl money and help them do it all for less


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