While it's often said that painting is the simplest DIY to accomplish, that's not always the case. "Painting a wall may seem like an easy task, but it can be a lot harder than it looks -- especially if you're new to it," said Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi.
Gliding a brush against a wall is easier than many home improvement jobs, but the biggest challenge of painting is in the surrounding prep work. And if you skimp on the prep, it's likely that your simple DIY becomes a lot more complex (or a lot less attractive).
"Instead of simply brushing paint on a wall, you need to fix any imperfections, prep the area, prime the wall, and paint with good technique," Micetich says. "The painting process is long at first, but it gets much easier over time as you get more practice."
"Don't take any shortcuts while painting," Micetich says. "Something that could take five minutes now could save you from painting an entire wall again later." Learn the proper ways to cut in, use a paint roller, and feather out your work. And reach out to a handy friend or family member who can show you the ropes, if you need it.
If you skipped a prep step, there may be some ways you can salvage your paint job without a complete redo. Here's how to fix four of the most common painting mistakes.
Not priming the wall
It's usually important to prime your walls before painting, especially if they're textured. But Micetich says that if you forget to do so, you may still be in luck. "Wait for the paint to dry and take a look at your wall," she notes. "Chances are, the wall looks completely normal and you're in the clear. However, if you notice any peeling or unevenness, you should remove the paint and start over."
Getting paint on the windows
"I like to approach paint removal using as few harsh chemicals as possible, although there are chemical paint removers that would also work," Micetich says. If a few strokes of paint got on the glass, this is the solution she recommends. Bring a cup or so of vinegar to a boil, and then carefully dip a rag into the hot vinegar and rub the window pane until the paint is nowhere to be found. "If the paint is particularly stubborn, use a razor blade to carefully scrape it away," she says.
Uneven paint lines
While painter's tape helps create crisp lines, sometimes a few of them can get a little squiggly. If you take off the tape and notice room for improvement, Micetich says to add another line of tape for round two. "Just go over the wall again with another coat of paint, taking extra care to blend in the paint evenly."
Getting dust and debris in your paint
If you're going over a coat of paint with a close eye, only to notice that dust or pet hair got under the new shade, never fear. "Wait for the paint to dry, and then lightly sand the area using a sanding sponge," Micetich says. "Clean the wall before giving it a fresh coat of primer and paint."