What mistakes should you avoid?

  1. Buying the wrong paint
  2. Painting on soiled surfaces
  3. Painting on unprepped surfaces
  4. Leaving the lid off the bucket
  5. Painting with no direction


Adding a fresh coat of paint is like wearing new clothes, it does wonders for anyone who’s looking to upgrade the look of their home. When it’s time for an upgrade, most DIYers just jump in and hope it works out. Sometimes, the results can be the least you expected. Don’t make this mistake. These painting tips will help you achieve the optimal results no matter what your budget is.

Buying the Wrong Paint

Paint brush, paint bucket, paint roller, and other materials for painting

The hardware store is full of options to choose from. It can get overwhelming if you’re unsure of what you want. It’s tempting to grab the first gallon you see, but it may not give you the results that you desire. Before even making that final purchase, do your research. See what kind of effect you want and what you’re painting. This helps narrow down your choices once you arrive at the store.

Regardless whether you’re hiring someone or doing this project yourself, it’s important you choose high-quality paint. You get what you pay for. It’s similar to when you choose to buy fast food compared to a restaurant. You’re still getting your meal, but it’s not the same quality as you’d expect. Painting is similar. When you choose high-quality paint, the finish you get is better. There’s no need to layer too many coats to get the saturation you need.

High-quality paint is also more durable compared to cheaper options. Cheaper paints can contain low-quality formulas with tons of fillers. In reality, you’re actually paying for more when you keep purchasing gallons of cheap paint. High-quality paint is professionally formulated to give you the best results.

Painting on Soiled Surfaces

When we’re excited, projects tend to be rushed through. Because of this, it’s tempting to just slap on the paint and call it a day. What you may not know is that you’re already painting over a dirty, soiled surface. Any surface dirt and debris can affect the final outcome of your project. Dirt can pile up and dry in one area, causing an uneven surface.

Paint coats clean surfaces better. Minimum dust particles can interfere with the results you want. Remember to clean the painted surface with water and a mild cleaner. Let these dry before proceeding. You’ll immediately see a difference. Clean surfaces result in a smooth, even application that looks professional and put together.

Painting on Unprepped Surfaces

Hammer and scraper on the floor with specks of old paint removed from the wall

Like soiled surfaces, you need to assess the surface for any peeling and flaking. Painting on these can make your fresh coat look dry, brittle, and unprofessional. Remove any flaking or peeling by gently scraping these away. Use a plastic scraper for gentler removal. However, you may need a metal scraper for more stubborn spots.

After this, you can choose to prime the surface once more before adding a new layer of paint. Just make sure everything is clean and debris-free before proceeding.

Leaving the Lid Off the Bucket

Anyone can make this mistake. It’s easy to overlook because it’s so simple. But it can contribute to a huge mess if you’re not careful. It can also cause your paint to dry up faster. Be diligent about the lid on your paint. Keeping it covered makes sure that you don’t cause any accidental spills and splatters. You can minimize your waste instead of buying another gallon of paint because you spilled the first one.

Leaving the lid on also prevents the paint from drying. It’ll help the consistency of the paint to stay smooth as you’re finishing your project. Paint curd can form around your lid and bucket if you keep it exposed for too long. Covering the bucket will also make sure that you’re not mixing up your colors, especially when you’re using more than one.

Painting With No Direction

Girl holding a paintbrush in front of a blue wall

Painting aimlessly can cause a huge mess. It’s best to start painting from the ceiling descending down to your walls. If you don’t, fresh ceiling paint can drip down on to dried walls. These little bubbles or splotches can be a hassle to deal with, especially if you’re using two tones at one time. Be patient and start with the ceiling to avoid this mistake.

Another mistake you can make is overbrushing. Too much brushing or the wrong technique can make any surface look messy. Avoid overbrushing by dipping your brush a third of the way in the paint. The stroke you should use for the best results should be in an “M” pattern. The “M” pattern helps the paint spread more evenly and can prevent overbrushing.

Key Takeaway

These painting tips can help you achieve professional results, no matter what skill level you have. The look you want to achieve is all dependent on your technique and tools, so be sure to follow this guide to avoid these common painting mistakes.


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