How to Correct Common Painting Mistakes

Everybody, up to and including third-graders, thinks that painting a house is work that can be done by just anybody. According to home stagers, many home owners choose to take this job on themselves. What’s so difficult anyway? You put some paint on a roller or a brush and smear it on the wall, right? The real estate stylist sees more bad paint jobs than you might ever imagine possible and they are all done by amateurs.

Here is a list and a handy guide to help you correct painting faux pas before you put the paint tins away.

Underpainting
In order to conserve paint and minimise effort, some amateur painters skimp on the coverage. In truth, the number of coats applied to your wall can make a HUGE difference in the finished product.
If you find that the walls have a patchy look, or that if you look closely you find the old colour peeking through, allow the paint to dry, and then add another coat. If you still see these, add another coat. Pay particular attention to the areas around door and window casings. Brushes and rollers have different coverage properties and these areas often are patchy.

Overpainting
Drips, runs, and spatters happen when you overload your roller or brush with paint. Unfortunately we don’t often see them until long after the time to fix them – when they happen. In order to fix these blemishes, wait until the paint has dried completely then scrape them off with a paint scraper. Follow this by sanding until the drips are gone. Then repaint the area blending the wet paint very thoroughly. When the section is dry, re-check it to be sure the blemish is gone.

Painting Oopsies
Some painters are so enthusiastic about their work that they paint everything within reach including windows, wall sconces, and the resident feline. (We include some bloggers in this reckless group.)
The key to this is, simply take your time. Beginning with your paint prep, do everything you can to eliminate the opportunity to slop paint on things you’ll have to clean later. Use painter’s tape to protect windows and wrap wall sconces with plastic and tape to keep the splatters away. (If you think you don’t have plastic sheeting, look in the kitchen drawer. The plastic wrap you use for covering food is perfectly suited for paint protection detail. The cat? We suggest exile to a room where her curiosity won’t be piqued in the first place.A paint scraper that features a razor blade is often a painter’s best friend. It scrapes windows like a champ.

Always keep a damp cloth handy to wipe up paint splatters, spills, and accidental infringement upon trim work. When your brush leaves a smear on anything you didn’t want to paint, just wipe it off quickly. If you notice this after the paint has dried, you’ll need to sand off the mistake and repaint as above, being sure to blend the paint in.

If you’ve managed to get wall paint on the other-coloured ceiling, try spraying window cleaner on a fresh, clean brush. The paint will come off onto the brush. If you miss this mistake until after the paint has dried, you’ll have to touch up the ceiling with its original colour.
Terrible Touch Ups

For reasons we cannot explain, we humans seem to think that we can touch up a paint job we did three years ago with the original can of paint and all will be well. Not so. Paint oxidises very quickly. Even after a few months the paint in the can doesn’t match the paint on the wall. No amount of up-touching will work if there has been much time since the painting was done. Try it, by all means. Then know that if the colours don’t match, you’ll need to repaint. The real estate stylist will tell you, a blotchy paint job is a bad paint job.

Fresh new paint is the best and least expensive tool you can use to make your home ready for the real estate market. If it’s done badly, paint can be just as effective in making your buyers mistrust the quality of your house. The real estate stylists we work with tell us that the secret to a good paint job is taking your time and getting it right if you want your house to sell for top dollar.

Written by