6 House Painting Fails and How to Fix Them

MorgueFileWhat the …? Painting your walls was supposed to be a fast and easy upgrade. But here you are, in the midst of applying latex or enamel, feeling like the ultimate Pinterest fail. You’re faced with drips, streaks, not enough paint ... you name it. We feel your pain. So instead of sitting there cursing all those cheery bloggers who encouraged you to tackle this DIY project from hell, why not try our simple painting fail solutions?

  1. Not having enough paint before you start a project. Impulsive folks (not to point a finger) are frequently struck by the irresistible urge to start redecorating RIGHT NOW. If you find yourself caught short by a petty detail like the hardware store being closed at midnight, paint yourself a nice contrasting accent wall … or mix 2 different-colored cans of paint to stretch your stock. It’s fine to blend them as long as they're the same base and sheen – and create a new color that you can live with. However, avoid using paint that’s been hanging around more than 10 years (in unopened cans) or 3 years (opened and stored carefully). Even if it looks OK at first glance, the quality will have deteriorated.

  2. Running out of paint partway through. This is closely linked to the previous problem with a slight, cruel twist: You’ve already done a major chunk of the work when you realize that your paint supply is just not going to see you through. In this case, focus on the best coverage for the upper portions of your walls – the lower part will usually be at least partially concealed by furniture. Or bite the bullet and wait till you can go out and buy more paint. Be aware that a new can of the same color may not be an exact match; you might need to apply another coat to the entire room for an even appearance.

  3. Dripping. Deal with drips on your walls or windows depending on the type of paint you’re using. Wipe up water-based quickly. However, rubbing wet oil-based paint will leave smears that are almost impossible to get rid of, so let it dry instead, and then gently scrape it off with a paint scraper or razor blade. You’ll probably need to sand the wall lightly before touching up.

  4. Streaking. No, we’re not talking about the college campus fad, but rather streaks left behind by uneven painting technique or insufficient paint. The best fix is waiting for the walls to dry and then applying another coat (which needn’t be anywhere near as thorough as one intended to cover primer or a different base color). Roll the paint on in the shape of an “M” or “W” approximately 3’ high, for the smoothest look. If the streaks are left by sloppy brushwork, you may have to sand and clean the surface before slapping on the next coat.

  5. Deciding you dislike a paint color – AFTER it’s on your walls. You can always choose to repaint – but why not turn lemons into lemonade by softening the effect? White, whether utilized for the trim or for stenciling the walls, acts as an antidote to calm an overly bright shade or add sparkle to one that’s too drab. In similar style, the right lighting will warm the color up (a pink- or yellow-tinted lamp) or cool it down (blue).

  6. Painting yourself into a corner. As Grandma always said, “It shouldn’t happen, but it happens.” If you find you’ve painted yourself into a corner when finishing the floor, there’s an alternative to sitting and waiting for it to dry. Take off your shoes. Walk across the painted area in your stocking feet until you reach “dry land.” Remove socks and discard. Let the floor dry and paint over your footprints. Don’t forget to cover the corner you originally found yourself trapped in.

Try the ultimate house painting fail preventive. Hire a crew of professional painters.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated October 19, 2018.

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