11 Common Painting Mistakes You Should Avoid

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Getting ready to start a new painting project? Watch out for these 11 common pitfalls you may encounter!

1.    Dirty walls.

Paint works best when applied to a clean surface, and even fine dust particles can have a negative impact on the finish and staying power of your paint. Be sure to wipe down every wall you’re painting before you start.

2.    Unprepared surfaces.

Flaking paint, rust, and glossy surfaces all need treatment before painting. The rule of thumb is to scrape it down first: remove all flaky paint and sand down any rough, glossy, or damaged surfaces. This will give your paint a good base to stick to and prevent issues with your coverage. Again, be sure and wipe down your surface after you’ve sanded it!

3.    Skipping primer.

Though some paints feature built-in primer, it’s always a good idea to start with one. Primer gives the paint a solid base to adhere to, and if you’re painting a darker wall, it can actually save you money by reducing the number of coats you need.

PPG Pittsburgh Paint has a primer for every project., get it here.

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4.    Tape mistakes.

Painter’s tape is essential for painting, so be sure to block off anyplace where you care about a nice finish. Doors, windows, are all good places to start. We suggest not cheaping out on painter’s tape, either, as nothing is so frustrating as uncooperative tape.

5.    Saving the ceiling for last.

Freshly painted ceilings will always drip, so if you start with the ceiling, your freshly-painted walls will end up coated in paint streaks.

Looking for a neutral paint color for your ceiling? Here's how to pick the perfect neutral color.

6.    Choosing the wrong finish.

Flat paints are great for color density, but definitely the wrong choice for high traffic areas. Gloss paints are more durable and light reflective, making them better for spaces that take a lot of traffic or have high humidity. Be sure you’re choosing the right finish for your space.

7.    Leaving uncovered fixtures.

Painting might be a cheap way to refresh a room, but not if you end up needing to replace your fixtures due to paint splatters! Anything that’s important in the room, such as doorknobs and light fixtures, should be securely covered up.

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8.    Leaving the floor uncovered.

We strongly suggest getting some inexpensive plastic tarps and laying them down to catch any drips or mistakes. It’s easy to end up with paint on your clothes and track a trail of paint across the floor, and a tarp saves you the hassle.

9.    Not leaving enough time to dry.

Though you may be impatient to finish your project, take care to wait at least half an hour between coats to allow your paint to properly dry. Increase this number if you live in a humid climate.

10.  Forgetting to save touch up paint.

With whatever paint you have leftover, be sure to save enough of it for touchups down the road! A little foresight here can save you the hassle of buying a new half-gallon of paint for a small defect in the wall.

11.  Improperly disposing of unneeded paint.

If you have a lot of extra paint, be sure to take proper steps to dispose of it. Paint can be highly toxic, so consult your local waste authority for how to dispose of it. Don’t throw it directly in the trash or wash it down the sink.

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