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Understanding Theoretical Coverage Rate of Coatings

Where is the theoretical Coverage Rate of Coatings Found

Coating Manufacturers provide theoretical coverage rates of their coating on their technical data sheets. The technical data sheet provides all the pertinent information you need about a coating including how it reacts to heat, how it should be applied, and recommended surface preparation steps. It can help you know a lot about what level of production you can expect as well as ways you may be able to improve your rate of production by adding heat to your paint booth.

How is the theoretical Coverage Rate of Coatings Calculated

The theoretical coverage rate of coatings is based on a basic mathematical formula. The rate is determined by taking the typical square footage that would be achieved with a 100 percent solids coating (which is equal to 1604 square feet per gallon). Then that number is multiplied by the decimal equivalent of the products solids content (so .75 for a 75% solids coating) and finally you divide the number by the number of mils you want to apply the coating at.

Theoretical Coverage Rate 

(1604*percent solids in decimal form)/ Desired Mil Build (see calculator below)

Why the Theoretical Coverage Rate of Coatings Matter

The theoretical Coverage rate provides a basis for determining approximately how much coating you will need for a paint job. Additionally, if you will be spraying coating or planning a production process involving paint it will help you determine a lot of factors.

How it will help determine production rates & Paint Needed for A Paint Process

By knowing the theoretical coverage rate of your coating, the size of your product, and the transfer efficiency of your spray equipment (which you can learn more about transfer efficiency and its meaning here) you can better decide a fluid nozzle size that you may wish to use to meet a production goal. For an overview of the right size fluid nozzle or airless paint sprayer tip to meet a goal of producing so many square feet of product in a given time check out this resource. You can also determine how much coating you will need approximately to spray a given amount of product.


The theoretical coverage rate of a coating is critical in helping you know the amount of paint you will use in a given project. It also will help you determine the overall costs of coating given a particular project. Finally, it can help with determining the potential production rate you can achieve.


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