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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Painting

Last modified: 2022-07-13 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

Cynthia Pigeon

While painting a wall may seem like a rather simple thing to do, it is nonetheless easy to overlook a few basic rules and end up with a botched final outcome. In order to avoid this, here is a list of common mistakes to avoid when painting.

8 Mistakes to Avoid While Prepping to Paint

Mistake #1: Hastily choosing the paint colour

After all, who has not opted for a paint shade that turned out to be less than satisfying once applied? The reason for this unfortunate situation is inherently related to the fact that the perception of colour will vary depending on the lighting in the room. So do not make any hasty decisions when buying paint during your first trip to the store.

Instead, choose samples to stick on the walls of the room where the paint will be applied so you can see exactly what colour it will actually be depending on the light.

Mistake #2: Choosing an unsuitable paint product for the room

It goes without saying, that some rooms, such as the kitchen and bathroom, are marked by very high levels of humidity. Therefore, it is more than convenient to use moisture-resistant paint which will prevent the growth of mould and mildew on the walls. 

Mistake #3: Buying shoddy or inadequate tools

As with any project, skimping when it comes to the quality of the tools you buy will negatively affect the quality of the work. Low-quality rollers or paintbrushes will leave marks on your walls, which will look rather distasteful.

Subsequently, note that purchasing brushes or rollers will depend on the surface to be painted and the paint to be used. Follow these guidelines:

  • Water-based paints: Choose a synthetic paintbrush;
  • Oil-/alkyd-based paints: Buy a paintbrush with natural silk bristles;
  • Latex or acrylic paints: Get a paintbrush with polyester silk bristles;
  • Gloss and lacquer paints: Use a medium-length material paint roller;
  • Matte and satin paints: Prioritize short- and medium-length material paint rollers.

Also, keep in mind that wall panelling is more effectively painted with a paintbrush (can reach in the gaps, but rollers cannot). On the other hand, rollers are better suited to paint classic drywall. Ideally, always choose a wooden handle paintbrush. These have a better grip than plastic handle paintbrushes.

man painting wall yellow_common mistakes to avoid when painting

Photo: Pxhere

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Mistake #4: Forgetting to clean the surface before painting

Over time, dirty fingers, grease, or dust may have stained your walls. In order to create a smooth and clean surface for the first coat of paint, remember to wipe down the walls prior to painting. Use a mixture of water and mild detergent. Always clean from top to bottom to avoid streaking the walls.

Mistake #5: Neglecting to repair any damages

Small bumps or dents should never be overlooked. Whether it be any small imperfections or holes from hanging picture frames, these must be covered with plastered, allowed to dry, and then sanded down. Otherwise, the final result will be blemished as the paint will not be sufficient to fill the hole(s).

Mistake #6: Omitting to cover furniture

In all intent and purposes, one must remember to cover all surrounding surfaces that will not be painted. Since most people are usually in a hurry to jumpstart any sprucing project, this step is often neglected, and homeowners are left to rectify any additional blemishes. To avoid damaging or staining any furniture or components of the room, use 2 cm of cutting tape.

If you are new to this, you may even want to choose a wider tape. Be sure to cover the edges of any mouldings (windows and doors) as well as doorknobs, baseboards, and electrical outlets. Also, do not forget to cover the entire floor with a tarp. You can secure it by taping it to the base of the walls on each side of the room. 

Mistake #7: Forgetting to dampen new rollers prior to usage

Should you be considering painting with new rollers, keep in mind that these risk more shedding. To prevent the loss of fibres from compromising the overall appearance of the wall, make sure to lightly wet the paint roller prior to dipping it into the paint. However, make sure that the roller is not soaking wet as this could seriously alter the paint texture. Excess water will thin out the paint and subsequently affect the consistency of the colour.

yellow paint and roller_common mistakes to avoid when painting

Photo: Yokota air base

Mistake #8: Improperly judging the amount of paint needed on the roller (this will leave streaks)

Applying too much paint with a roller will result in small drips on the walls, which in turn will lead to unwanted streaks on the wall surface. In case you do the opposite and negate to sufficiently saturate the roller in the paint, this will unfortunately result in streaks that are difficult to hide afterwards because you will have to push down hard on the roller.

5 common errors to avoid while painting

Mistake #1: Forgetting the primer

Getting the job done as quickly as possible usually means neglecting to add a layer of primer. However, bear in mind that overlooking this step will likely extend the time needed to complete the project rather than reduce it. In fact, such oversight will cause the paint to be far too easily absorbed, thus requiring additional coats to obtain a dark enough colour.

Mistake #2: Painting top to bottom

While it may seem logical to paint from top to bottom, this method is not always the best, as it tends to leave vertical streaks. To avoid this kind of problem, it is best to paint in a V-shape over the majority of the wall or in an N-shape, the main thing is to avoid painting from top to bottom.

woman painting exterior wall_common mistakes to avoid when painting

Photo: Anderson air force base

Mistake #3: Applying only a single coat of paint

Some types of paints are sold as one-coat paints and ensure a decent outcome with a single layer. However, it often turns out that it is much better to apply two coats throughout. Not only is there a high chance that the brushed-on edges will appear darker than the rest of the wall, but you will not be able to get the best out of the selected colour with only one coat.

Mistake #4: Painting with inadequate lighting

While it might seem like a minor detail, painting in dim lighting (especially if it is a light paint colour) can lead to a lot of blemishes that will need to be fixed later on. Therefore, do not overlook the need for a strong source of light or rent a spotlight to help you see better.

Mistake #5: Touching up a wall while it is still wet

With minor slip-ups, such as leaving a small section unpainted, it can be easy to immediately go back over that area to fix it. Resist the urge to do so, as it will inevitably create patches and the end result will be, aesthetically speaking, unappealing.

Avoid the Following Mistakes Post-Painting

Mistake #1: Forgetting to promptly clean the tools used 

Not cleaning paintbrushes and rollers as soon as possible is a mistake that is easily avoided and one that is often overlooked. While this little oversight will not affect the quality of the work, it will prevent you from using the same tools again for future projects. Once the remaining paint has dried, the surface of the roller or the bristles of the paintbrush have little or no chance of returning to their original condition.

Mistake #2: Leaving the cutting tape in place

Waiting until the paint has dried to remove the cutting tape will cost you dearly in the end. Therefore, remove the tape before the paint dries. Otherwise, the paint near the tape will flake off, resulting in serious negative effects on the entire paint job.

Cover photo: Pixabay

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