Top 5 Common Mistakes People Make When Painting Interiors

Here are the five most common mistakes new DIY painters do when trying fix up their home.

1. Tape Everything

The most common belief of non-experienced painters is: painters tape = clean lines. This is not always true, and the process consumes a lot of time that often doesn’t payoff.

When painting designs, borders, stencils, or anything involving two different colors meeting on the same plane, tape is a huge time saver and can make the final result look very sharp. However, most homeowners trying their hand at painting will start with painting a room a single color.

The edging required for this is at the intersection of the wall with all of the trim pieces as well as the ceiling. Taping all of that area can be rolls of tape and hours of time, and it doesn’t guarantee a clean line.

What is often neglected, is that once the tape has been removed the lines will have to be inspected and touched-up to get a perfect line. Depending on how good your timing was with removing the tape, this could be a lot of extra work.

The more effective way to paint a room is to not tape when a line will be at a physical angle, like a corner or a piece of trim, as long as you have patience, a stable hand, and a good brush. Using a good brush to cut in saves time and achieves the same result, if not better, than taping without the added steps, time, and cost.

2. Buy The Wrong Brush

For the inexperienced painter buying supplies at the local hardware store, price quickly becomes a determining factor in what supplies they will purchase. This leads to expensive paint brushes being overlooked, and rightly so; why should you buy a $20 paint brush when you can get one for $3? After all a paintbrush is a paint brush, right?

Actually, paint brushes come in several variations. There are the obvious differences in brush width and handle length, but also the not so obvious differences in brush angle, pile, bristle softness, and bristle material. Ultimately the average inexperienced painter will need just one good brush for interior painting, one for edging.

This brush should be a 2.5″ nylon, medium softness, angled sash brush and they can cost around $20. This brush performs exceptionally well for edging and is wide enough use to cover areas that mini-rollers can’t get to. It can even be used for a fair amount of trim painting.

3. Use Too Much Paint

Unfortunately painting takes time. Rushing a paint job leads to doing things like using heavy coats of paint. There are 4 reasons why this is a bad idea.

  1. This leads to drips, which will make the final project look horrible and require a good deal of work to correct later on.
  2. Over-saturated rollers can’t roll and so the coat will not be even.
  3. Over-saturated paint brushes make messy results and leave brush lines.
  4. The drying time is increased and paint that is applied in thick coats can crack when it drys.

Basically, taking a short-cut here will lead to a lot more work later.

4. Ignore Prep work

Ignoring prep work is the most overlooked aspect of interior painting. Before painting a wall, it should be thoroughly inspected for cracks, holes, tape, previous drip marks, and wallpaper (Yes, wallpaper. Do not ever paint over wall paper).

All holes cracks and imperfections should be repaired and then every thing sanded down. Drip marks need to be removed, filled and sanded, and tape and wall paper must be completely removed. Then the wall should be cleaned with a damp cloth, let to dry, and then painted. Skipping any of these steps will leave noticeable imperfections.

5. Buy Economy Paint

Basically, you get what you pay for. If you buy really cheap paint the coverage may be poor and you may require 3 coats instead of 2, which doesn’t make it much cheaper or save you any time over the more expensive paint.

Drying time is also often reduced in higher quality paints because they are not literally watered down. Water does not evaporate quickly, a more volatile solvent system will evaporate more readily.

The solvent also determines how concealed spot painting will be later on. Spending $5 more now may save you $40 later. This is due to better solvent systems being able to dissolve dry paint better allowing it to, literally, blend better.



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