If it’s been 4 or 5 years since you last painted your living room, or 3 or 4 years for your kitchen or bathroom, it’s probably time to start thinking about repainting.  Of course, before you start the job, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it right, and that means avoiding some of the common painting mistakes that could mean headaches down the road.

Doing It Right Means Having a Plan and Doing Prep Work

Having a plan means more than simply choosing smart colour combinations.  It also means having a smart plan and doing all the necessary prep work, from buying enough paint to ensuring the walls are clean before you start and having the right tools for the job. To be sure you do a job you can be proud of that won’t require extra work down the road, you need to avoid these 8 common painting mistakes:

  1. Not doing prep work: to adequately prep for the job, cover the floors and the furniture with drop cloths. Don’t forget to wrap doorknobs in plastic (and put tape around the edges). Finally, remove electrical outlet covers.
  2. Forgetting to use painter’s tape: manufacturers make painter’s tape for a reason—it avoids unpleasant stains on baseboards. Apply the tape so it meets the edge of all baseboards on walls you plan to paint, and make sure the seal is tight so the paint doesn’t bleed. Remove the tape before the paint dries completely.
  3. Painting over dirty walls: sure, it’s an extra step, but cleaning your walls before you start painting will ensure no dirt or hair shows up in your finished paint job. Start with a quick vacuum, then clean the walls with a rag dipped in one gallon of warm water plus two cups vinegar.
  4. Running out of paint: there’s nothing more frustrating than being almost done and looking at an empty paint can. Make sure you buy enough paint to do the whole job. That means taking careful measurements. Generally, one gallon of paint will cover about 400 square feet of wall space.
  5. Not having the right brush for the paint you’re using: different types of paint require different brushes. For example, with latex paint you’ll want a brush with synthetic bristles while oil paints work best with natural bristles. If you have any doubts, ask someone at the store where you buy your paint which brush is right for the job.
  6. Not applying a primer: again, this is a step many people avoid in an effort to save time but applying a primer will ensure that you have a flat surface to work on and that the true colour of the paint comes through.
  7. Applying the paint to your brush incorrectly: you should dip your brush into the paint so that it covers just the top third. Dunking the brush all the way in will increase dripping, and you’ll probably end up wasting paint.
  8. Putting on the second coat too fast: this is yet one more example of impatience creating problems later. It’s important to make sure the walls are completely dry before you start on the second coat—otherwise, you’ll have a finished job with unattractive brush strokes, and the paint might peel. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24-hours before you apply the second coat, but always read the directions on the can, just to be sure.


These are some of the more common mistakes when painting interior walls—there are additional rules for the exterior of your house (like not painting when there are unusually high levels of humidity). Of course, the best way to avoid mistakes and end up with a paint job that will bring new life and beauty to your home is to leave the job to experts. To learn more about the ways our interior and exterior residential painting services will give you a job you can be proud of, contact us today.