Common DIY Painting Blunders Made (and How to Avoid Them), Common DIY Painting Blunders Made (and How to Avoid Them), Paul Hill Realty

Painting can make a huge difference in just how your home looks and it’s one of the least costly home improvement projects that you can do. It can save you a whole lot of money if you can Do It Yourself (DIY).

It’s one of the few DIY projects that many people can do, that is, provided you have enough time and patience to do so.

Paul Hill Realty Hope Island’s property managers and real estate agents have been through thousands of properties and have seen DIY paint jobs both good, and not so good.

So Paul Hill Realty has put together the most common painting blunders we’ve seen and what advice we’ve gathered from painting experts over the years:

Thrifty on Painting Accessories

The majority of DIY painters know that they should pay for premium paint, as they’re saving on the cost of labour. But, then they become thrifty when it comes to paintbrushes, rollers and painter’s tape.

Really the only way to get the best finish from quality paint is to apply that paint with premium quality brushes, rollers, and accessories. Paying for premium brushes and rollers gives a better finish to the paint job – they waste less paint and don’t leave brush marks behind.

While budget rollers leave fluff behind on walls, and cheap paintbrushes can leave hairs behind in the paint.

DIY painters often mistakenly use masking tape that is an adhesive tape that leaves a residue. While painters tape stays adhered to surfaces leaving a clean paint line and no residue.

Choosing the wrong colour

A common painting blunder happens before a DIY painter picks up a brush to paint – that’s when you use a colour chip to choose your paint colour. You pick out a nice colour from the strip at the store and order your paint. However, when the paint goes on the walls at home, it doesn’t look like the colour you picked out.

Avoid this blunder by asking the paint store to mix a small sample of paint that you can take home and try out on the wall before you order. Then observe it in both daylight and artificial light. If you don’t like it on your walls, you’ve only spent a little a bit of money and you should go back to the paint store to try again.

Not mixing the paint before starting

Don’t be one of those DIY painters who runs out of paint halfway across a wall. Who then opens another can of paint of the same colour to finish up the wall and when the paint dry’s the colour is slightly different from one part of the room to the other.

Paint tints can vary slightly, so be like an expert painter and buy all the paint you need for the job and mix all the cans together before starting. Do this with a flat edge object – ideally a paint stirrer, rather than a rounded object like a screwdriver.

Don’t mix oil and water paints

Lots of older houses were painted with oil-based paints, so when painting you need to sand off old oil-based enamel before water-based paints can be applied so new paint will stick and not flake off when dried.

Neglecting to lockout pets

Dogs can overturn paint cans, brush up against wet paint surfaces, or even chew up paintbrushes. While both cats and dogs can add their hair to open paint cans if they are left open untended. To avoid all pet-related painting problems you need to keep your pets locked away from the DIY painting project at all times.

Leaving the lids off of the paint cans

The most apparent issue with this bad practice is that somebody is bound to step on the paint lid and track paint all over the floor.
Yet there are various other factors on why the paint lid should be put back immediately. As it will keep paint contaminant free and prevent paint drying out in the paint can or on the lid. In addition, you’re less likely to get the lids from two similar colours mixed up that could be a hassle later.

Painting with inadequate light

Avoid painting interior surfaces in inadequate light. While the painted surface may look fine at first, however when windows are uncovered or bright lights are turned on you’ll likely see thin patches and other blemishes. Constantly make sure to have a great deal of intense light when painting.

As inadequate lighting can cause uneven areas where the paint was applied too finely. It’s not until the following early morning that the imperfections are revealed.

Spray painting without covering everything

Do not ignore the over-spray from paint sprayers or spray cans. Cover everything visible with thin plastic sheets or drop cloths.

Also if you’re working outdoors, do not use a paint sprayer or spray can on a windy day as the haze can drift a long way and maybe make your neighbour’s car.


For the smoothest possible finish when you’re painting woodwork, doors or cabinets, avoid too much brushwork. Load the brush and quickly cover an area with paint. After that use a stroke or two to level it off.

When you over-brush one area, specifically when the paint has begun to dry, as it will certainly create undesirable brush marks as well as ridges.

Allowing the roller to touch the floor

If you try to paint too close to the floor, your roller cover could touch it and pick up dirt, lint and hair that you will then spread across the wall. So use a paintbrush to paint close to the baseboard to minimise the chance of the roller hitting the floor.

Now, if you’re painting brand-new walls prior to the baseboard is mounted, leave an unpainted strip along the bottom where it will certainly be covered by the baseboard.

Painting over glossy finishes

When you paint over any kind of surface that currently has a layer of varnish or glossy paint, the paint will not stick properly, and you’ll be left with a terrible looking finish. You need to rough up the surface first by thorough sanding.

Alternatively by wiping the surface with a liquid de-glosser like painter experts, which is the easier and more effective method.

Selected the wrong sheen for the job

If you’ve selected the wrong paint sheen for the job, it does not matter how good your application technique is, the DIY painting project is not going to turn out well.

These are the things you need to keep in mind:

  • When painting surface areas that aren’t the best, don’t use paint with a high sheen. As light reflects off the shiny paint which highlights every defect on the surface. So, if you intend to paint with a semi-gloss or gloss sheen paint ensure the surface you’re painting is carefully prepared and also completely smooth.
  • If you’re painting with different sheens of the same colour, you need to label both paint cans. It’s simple to get them mixed up, and you won’t recognise your blunder until the paint dries. If you mistakenly touch up flat wall surfaces with semi-gloss paint, you’ll be truly sorry.

Just rolling in only one direction

To avoid overlap marks on your ceiling paint job, it’s important to “keep a wet edge.” Working in five- or six-foot square sections can do that. Move swiftly from one section to the next to make sure the paint along the edge doesn’t dry before you roll the adjacent section. Then re-roll each section at a right angle to your initial roller direction as you go.

Not adding a paint conditioner

If you’re painting woodwork, cabinets or doors, the paint that comes directly from the latex or oil-based paint can is frequently too thick. Adding a paint conditioner will help the paint flow better and brush on more smoothly.

Floetrol is a latex paint additive that can be used as a paint conditioner that can help reduce build up on paintbrushes, eliminate brush marks and extend drying time.

Painting wood without a stain blocker

Red cedar, redwood as well as cypress all have tannins that bleed through a majority of latex paint. This blunder is easy to fix by priming these types of wood with a stain-blocking primer before getting painted.

Extreme temperatures

Paint doesn’t like extreme temperatures. The paint starts to dry before you can spread it evenly, and can bubble and slough off. Painting a hot surface is a bad idea. So it is important to plan your painting to stay clear of direct sun if possible.

In addition, you can keep the house temperatures manageable for painting by using air conditioning or fans.

We hope by reading this article, you’ve picked up a new tip or two so you can avoid making blunders on your next DIY painting project. Really it’s easy to avoid your own horror story and ensure a premium finish with the right painting accessories and knowledge.

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