Painting Mistakes – 3 Biggest to Avoid

The prep work is done, a round of cleanup is done, and the house looks worse than when we started. It’s time to paint. Prep work is the majority of the job, so don’t let your job turn out terrible by avoiding these simple painting mistakes. Painting should take much less time than prep, but will take twice as long if done wrong, so do it right the first time! In order to understand what we want our finished paint job to look like when it’s finished, we’ll start by observing where the paint job goes wrong.

1. Lap Marks

Lap marking in paint.
Ugly lap marks left in paint job.

Lap marks show up as darker areas and are caused by painting over dried paint—in essence, adding another coat. To avoid lap marks, make sure to keep a wet edge, and work quickly and paint in sections small enough so the previously painted area stays wet until you can brush the newly applied paint into it. If you do end up with lap marks in the first coat, the second coat will probably cover them.

2. Brush Marks

Brush marks in paint.
Brush marks left from a less-than-ideal paintbrush.

Brush marks occur when the paint dries improperly. They can be avoided by first using a paintbrush that has been properly maintained. Next, by making sure that the coat of paint is thick enough and evenly applied. Finally, make sure to paint with the grain of the wood to blend brush strokes with the natural look of the substrate. Also, hot temperatures can reduce the amount of time it takes for paint to dry. Small amounts of Floral (for latex) and Penetrol (for oil) can be added to the product to help increase dry times.

3. Drips

Drips and runs.
Drips and runs occur when close attention is not paid.

Drips, runs, and sags are best avoided by constant vigilance. Check back on your work as you go, paying special attention to inside corners and edges where paint is likely to build up and run. If the paint hasn’t begun to dry, brush out the run. Otherwise, allow the run to dry completely. Then sand it off with 100-grit paper and touch up the spot with fresh paint.

Stay Vigilant

Avoiding these problems can be simple, but it requires being constantly aware of your quality of work. Make sure every task you and your coworkers or helpers do is checked and double-checked. Constant vigilance can make the difference between a good looking, long lasting paint job done with pride… and one that will need to be redone.