5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

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5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

We all have tried our hand at painting, whether it be a room, an exterior or maybe the whole house.  Perhaps this discussion sounds familiar,

“John, I really need to have the family room painted before you parents get here.  Can you find a good painting company to get it done?”

With a look of shock and horror, the spouse glares at their partner and says,

“Mary, we’re not going to spend good money hiring someone to do what I can do myself!”

“But you’ve never painted anything in your life. I want it to look good.”

John rises from the chair and gives his wife a dismissing wave of his hand as he says,

“Don’t even worry about it. How hard could it be?”

“How Hard Could It Be?”  Ah, there’s the rub, isn’t it.  The answer to that question is,

“What do you want the finish room to look like?”


There is a reason professional painters get paid well, they know what they are doing.  To help you understand, we’ve put together the most common mistakes D-I-Y painters make, and how you can avoid them.  Mind you, we still recommend you hire a professional contractor to get the job done right but this will keep you informed as to what is actually entailed in doing a professional job.

Mistake #1 – Failing To Prepare

Let’s see just how much you actually know about preparing your walls for painting.  We’ve put together a little quiz that you can take to find out.

Are You A Painter?

Mistake #2 – Improper Taping

The difference between a sub-par painting job and a clean crisp one is in the details. Proper masking and taping can make all the difference in the world. Check out the two images below,

Example 1 – No tape used


In the first example we can see that no painting tape was used.  The result is that the roller overpaint marks are visible.  There is no clean separation between the ceiling and the wall.  Even though the shades are very close in color, it is still painfully evident that the painter had no experience.  The problem with this type of work is, in order to correct the situation, a skilled painter is going to have to repaint both the wall and the ceiling again.  What should have been a simple paint job has become twice as expensive and time consuming.  Doing it right the first time is always more economical.

Example 2 – Proper taping technique


In this second example, the painter used the proper tape to create a sharp edge division between the ceiling and the wall, which resulted in a much more professional look.  Notice the unbroken straight line that delineates the two surfaces.  Remember, tape is your friend.

Mistake #3 – No Paint Primer

Often the D-I-Y painter will skip the most important step in the painting process, applying a primer coat of paint.  The primer coat serves a very important purpose.  It not only covers the old color so that less paint is needed to cover completely, but it also guards against bleeding through, which can be a result of combining to different paint base materials.

For example:  Suppose you have a wall that has a high gloss paint.  If you simply paint over that coating with another paint, that chances are good that the paint will peel and crack as time goes by.  Sanding down the glossy surface and then applying a primer coat will ensure that your paint job will stay beautiful for years to come.

While there are many choices and brands of primer available, it is important to remember this is not a good place to skimp on price.  The quality and performance of your primer/sealer is crucial to a professional end product.


One thing to be sure of is that your primer also has a sealer component.  Of all the preparation steps taken before you begin painting, this is perhaps the most important.  Making the correct choice here will yield big dividends in the overall professional look of your finished project.

Mistake #4 – Ignoring outlets and covers

Example: Painted Outlet


It is understandable, why this step gets overlooked so much.  After all, it takes time to remove outlet covers and tape the actual outlets.  Who has that kind of time, right?  Well, if you are concerned about having a professional job, then the answer to that question is you!  You have to make the time.  Remember, anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  Take a look at the example to the left.

It’s easy to see that this painter had it half right.  They removed the outlet covers to prevent paint from getting on them.  Unfortunately, they refused to tape the outlet properly.  Who knows, maybe they were going for a faux marble look.  Either way, it didn’t work.  It’s the small details that will be the most important as you prepare to take on your new painting project.

Mistake #5 – Saving a Buck On Paint

When the discussion turns to quality of paint and coverage, there are many factors to consider.

  • The color you are trying to paint over, i.e. dark vs. light
  • The texture of the wall, smooth or rough.
  • Traffic flow.  Will kids be putting their hands on the painted walls?

Of course there are many other considerations as well.  Whatever you decide, don’t do so based on the price of the paint.  Often, cheaper paint is priced that way for a reason.  Consider these two scenarios.

paint can

Scenario 1 – Jane Normbody has decided to paint her living room.  The room is fairly large, measuring 20 feet by 30 feet.  Jane decides to purchase the bargain brand paint for her project.  Off she goes to the local home improvement store to get her supplies.  When she returns she has the following:

Home Depot Receipt Template | Business Plan Template with regard

Jane begins painting and is discouraged to find that the paint she bought only covered two walls.  Back to the store she went and purchased two more cans of paint.  Finally when she finished she used a total of 4 cans of paint, but she had a beautiful living room.  Pleased with herself, she picked up the phone to call her friend Phyllis.


Scenario 2 – Phyliss Wisergal also goes out and gets her painting supplies from the same home improvement store.  As strange as it may seem, she also is painting her living room, which happens to be the exact same size as the woman in Scenario 1.  Wow, what are the odds?

Home Depot Receipt Template | Business Plan Template with regard

Phyllis begins painting and to her delight finds that she has painted almost the whole room.  She even has paint left over for touch ups later on.


Trying to save money by buying the inexpensive paint can end up costing you in the long run.   Invest in higher quality brands for a much better painting result.  Sierra Home Services is happy to take on any of your most challenging painting projects.  Why deal with the mess and the hassle.  We’ll complete the project on time and on budget.  All you have to do is decide the color and how to enjoy your new painted living space.  To schedule a time or to find out more information, please give us a call at  (801) 733-9401.


Robert Jacob

Robert Jacob - Author, RLJ Online Marketing, LLC I have been researching and writing blogs for quite a while now and I have come to realize that great content takes effort. I hope you enjoy the work here. ~Robert Jacob

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