9 Common Wall Painting Mistakes to Avoid - Greenshop Paints

9 Common Wall Painting Mistakes to Avoid

Oct 25, 2022Richard Weager

Painting a wall is one of the simplest home decorating tasks to start out with. Armed with some high-quality wall paint and a little careful research, even DIY beginners can achieve a great outcome.

However, while painting may be easier than fitting carpet or plumbing in a toilet, it’s far from fool-proof. Patchiness, uneven edges, brush streaks and lap marks – there’s a lot that can go wrong.

In this guide, we’ll discuss nine of the most common interior wall painting mistakes that DIYers make. We’ll also share some easy-to-follow painting walls tips to help guarantee a beautiful end result.

1. Choosing the Wrong Paint

If you’re painting an interior wall, you’ll want to use a high-quality emulsion from a reputable brand such as Auro. However, emulsion comes in many varieties and finishes, so don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong one.

  • For humid areas such as bathrooms, select a natural, breathable emulsion. Otherwise, moisture may become trapped beneath the surface, causing mould.
  • For high-traffic areas such as kitchens, choose a sturdy, wipeable paint with a silk or mid-sheen finish. This will make it much easier to remove marks, food splatters and fingerprints.
  • For uneven walls, choose a matt emulsion. Wall paint not even? You may have used a finish that’s too reflective, inadvertently highlighting every lump and bump.

You can read more about the differences between silk and matt emulsion paint here.

2. Using Poor Quality Tools

If you’re wondering how to avoid brush marks when painting walls, the problem may be the brush itself. Cheap brushes often have stiff, uneven or splayed bristles which can mark the paint. They may also shed small hairs, which can end up on your wall. It’s always worth investing in a good paint brush made from high quality materials.

Using a cheap paint roller is also a big mistake, unless you’re going for a streaky or stippled look. Choose a high-quality roller cover, and select the right nap size for your wall. Smoother walls require a shorter nap (i.e. a roller with shorter fibres).

3. Painting in Dim Light

Good lighting plays a crucial role in painting a wall successfully. When working in low light, it’s easy to miss patchiness, streaks and smudges. You might not even notice any mistakes you’ve made until the paint is dry!

So, the answer to how to avoid patchy paint on walls is to paint in bright, natural sunlight. This will also help give you a more realistic idea of the paint’s colour. If the room has no windows, ensure it is well-lit with artificial lighting.

4. Skipping the Prep Work

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you want a smooth, professional-looking finish, don’t make the mistake of skipping the prep work:

  • Wash the wall thoroughly with soapy water or wall cleaner (grease and dirt can result in paint not sticking to wall)
  • Add filler to any cracks or holes, and sand the area until smooth
  • Prime the wall using a water-based wall primer

If the wall is in good condition, it isn’t always necessary to use priming paint. You can use a diluted coat of emulsion instead.

5. Not Stirring the Paint Properly

When paint sits in the tin for a long time, heavier pigments can settle to the bottom. So, it’s important to stir wall paint well before use. Not stirring the paint properly can lead to an uneven-looking finish with inconsistent colour distribution. Certain patches may also take longer to dry than others.

However, mixing the paint too vigorously can cause foaming, resulting in tiny bubbles on your wall. To prevent this, stir the paint gently but thoroughly using a stick or drill attachment on a slow speed.

6. Forgetting the Masking Tape

Getting paint in the wrong places is one of the most obvious painting mistakes to avoid. Paint flecks on door frames, skirting boards and ceilings will make the room look messy.

If you’re wondering how to avoid getting paint on ceiling when painting walls, masking tape is key. Apply this low-tack tape around the sides, top and bottom of the wall to create a smooth, even paint edge. You should also cover anything you wish to protect (e.g. switches and sockets).

To prevent paint peeling off wall when you remove the masking tape, don’t wait for it to dry. Always take off the tape while the paint is still wet.

7. Overloading the Roller

Overloading the roller is another all-too-common painting mistake. Using too much paint can result in problems such as:

  • Paint trickling from the roller and down the wall, creating unsightly drip marks
  • Streakiness caused by excess paint being squeezed out of the sides of the roller
  • Paint not drying on wall because it was applied too thickly

To avoid overloading your roller, dip one side lightly into the paint. Then, roll it back and forth across the empty part of the painting tray. This will help wring out any excess while ensuring the roller is completely covered.

8. Not Keeping a Wet Edge

Many beginners wonder how to avoid roller marks when painting walls. These are often caused by one of the most common painting mistakes: failing to maintain a wet edge.

Keeping a ‘wet edge’ means ensuring the previous painted area is still wet when you start on the next section. If it isn’t, you’ll end up with visible lines or ‘lap marks’ where wet paint has overlapped the dry.

Work across the wall in small sections, moving the roller in large ‘W’ and ‘M’ shapes. Don’t be tempted to take a break from painting until the first coat is finished!

9. Only Applying One Coat of Paint

DIY beginners sometimes assume that one coat of wall paint will do – and end up with patchy or thin paintwork. Usually, you’ll have to apply at least two coats of paint to achieve a smooth, even finish. Applying multiple coats also helps build up the paint so it’s more durable, and less prone to chipping.

Be sure to wait for each coat to dry completely before starting on the next. Emulsion paint cures through evaporation, so you can speed up the drying process by opening windows or using a fan.

Find Everything You Need at Greenshop Paints

Are you planning some interior decorating? If so, visit the Greenshop Paints online store today. From high-quality emulsions to brushes, rollers and accessories, you’ll find everything you need to make your project a success.

At Greenshop Paints, we’re proud to supply a range of quality wall paints and finishes from leading eco-friendly brands such as Auro, Earthborn, Treatex and Osmo. Click here to view our wall painting essentials, or browse a variety of helpful painting tools. For product recommendations, queries or advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Explore our range of natural paints: Colour swatches showing the wide range of natural paint colours

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