Three Common Painting Problems (And How to Fix Them)

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When you’re ready to paint, proper technique goes a long way in making sure your room turns out perfect. The three P’s of a good paint job are preparation, patience, and procedure. If your work lacks one of the three P’s, you can end with one of the three most common painting problems. But don’t worry! We’re here to help you avoid those problems.

The Three Most Common Painting Problems

1. Lacking Preparation: A Gritty Finish

If your paint job ends up looking and feeling gritty, something got into your paint before (or while) you used with it. Stirring your paint properly helps to keep any bits of paint from clumping, and if you’re using old paint, it should be strained before you apply it. Also, your work area needs to be prepared to ensure that floating or windblown dust or grit can’t get introduced to the paint either in the can or on the wall while it is still wet. You want a well-ventilated work area, but you make sure your open window isn’t providing a vector for dust to enter the room.

To fix a gritty finish, you’ll need to sand the area smooth again. Use a vacuum’s brush attachment to go over the area to remove the paint dust, then follow up with a soft cloth (microfiber is great for this) to catch anything left behind. Double-check your paint to ensure that there are no impurities in it, then repaint the area with your topcoat color.

2. Lacking Patience: A Wrinkled Finish

Adding a new coat of paint to a painted surface that isn’t yet dry will cause the paint to warp, as the two layers will be drying at uneven rates. This creates a buckled or bubbly look to the painted surface; it looks wrinkly. There’s really nothing that you need to actively do to prevent this — you just need the patience to let each coat dry fully before painting the next coat.

If the problem is really bad, you should strip the paint from the affected area entirely before sanding. If it’s minor, you’ll probably be able to get away with just sanding the area smooth again. Repaint the problem area to finish.

3. Lacking Procedure: Drippy Paint

If you have dried paint drips on your walls, there was a problem in how you painted. You probably overloaded the brush or roller with paint, creating an uneven coat. Even if it looked OK at first, when you gave it time to dry, the areas where the paint was thicker had time to drip down before they dried, creating the characteristic streaks and blobs. Problem areas often include around trim and in corners, where extra paint gets added to make sure it covers all the surfaces. The majority of the wall could be fine, with drips only occurring in the corners.

To deal with drippy paint, use a flat-bladed scraper to peel each drip away. Sand the area smooth with a fine-grit paper, then touch up the top coat.


Painting a room is a big job. Avoid painting problems with SureSwatch. Want more great painting tips? Check out our blog!

Find SureSwatch at Home Depot, Walmart, and Ace Hardware.

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