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Fix These 10 Painting Mistakes

We've all been there. You spend the day painting a room. As you're cleaning up, you start finding drips and spills. We've compiled the most frequently asked questions regarding painting mistakes and how to fix them.

Dripping Paint

Latex Drips

What is the best way to remove latex paint drips from trim, walls and floors without damaging the paint job or the surface?
Immediately wipe off fresh splatters. For those that have dried, sand down the drip or spill until the surface is smooth. Then clean off the area with a damp cloth and repaint if needed. If you need primer, prime first and wait for it to completely dry before you paint. If you have spots on a hardwood or tile floor, remove those by running a razor blade carefully under the drip. It should just peel away. If you have drips on carpet, read the question below on how to remove paint from that surface.

To prevent future spills, make sure to use drop cloths and painter's tape between the walls and the trim work. Remove outlet covers and tape over outlets. Cover door knobs with plastic bags and tape. It will save you from speckled hardware.

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Be careful when sanding a textured surface. If you sand too much, you can have a bare spot on your wall.

Paint on the Carpet

I dropped a roller on the carpet and there's a stain now. I was using latex paint. Is there any hope of getting my carpet clean? If so, how?
Clean up the spill immediately. Using a scraper, remove as much of the wet paint as possible. Try to keep it in one location and not spread it into clean carpet. Use a thick sponge to soak up any paint the scraper doesn’t collect. You may need to repeat this step several times. Then place a clean dry cloth over the spot to soak up the rest of the paint. Change the cloth out with a new one as it picks up the stain. After the stain is gone, clean the area with warm water and dishwashing detergent. Allow it to dry completely.

If the stain is already dry, there are paint removers that you can purchase at Lowe's. It’s recommended that you test in an inconspicuous place first and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

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Wrinkled Paint

After painting my living room, I noticed there are spots where the paint has wrinkled. What can I do to fix this?
Wrinkling is usually caused when the paint has been applied too heavily, in extreme temperatures (hot or cold) or if there wasn’t enough drying time between coats.

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Wait for the paint to dry completely and then sand the wrinkled area. Once the wall is smooth, dust with a damp cloth. Let it dry and then prime, let dry and repaint.

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Bleeding Color

Help!! My old dining room color was a deep red. The new color is a light yellow and now the old color is bleeding through.
It sounds like you forgot the primer. When you’re changing from a dark wall color to a lighter one, it’s especially important to prime. To save you from a two-step process, there are paint-and-primer-in-one products that Lowe’s sells that will effectively cover your dining room.

If you have enough yellow paint to do the job, then just purchase primer. Add one coat. If the red is still showing through, apply a second coat. Make sure that you let the primer completely dry before adding the paint.

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Lint in the Paint

There is lint on the walls from a new paint roller that I used. How do I remove it from the wall?
Before you paint again, wash the roller in warm soapy water. Spin the majority of the water out of the roller and then let it stand on end to dry. Then run a wide roll of packing or duct tape over it to ensure the roller is lint-free.

With the paint completely dry, use a light sanding block to carefully sand the lint off the wall. Once you're finished, run a damp cloth over the wall to remove the dust. Then repaint the walls.

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Color Too Bright

I experimented with a bright purple in my daughter's room. It's a little too bright. Can I do something to tone it down or do I need to start over?
You have a couple of options. First, you can take the paint back to the store and ask them to tint it darker or lighter. In your case, it sounds like you want to go lighter so they can add a bit of white to it to tone it down.

If you’ve finished the job and you’re out of paint, consider using a glaze to lessen the color intensity. The color glaze that you use depends on the effect that you're trying to create. Talk to a store associate about what you need and they can mix a custom glaze.

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Painting Uneven Walls

I'm in the process of painting uneven plaster walls and the paint job doesn't look good. Is there anything I can do?
The best way to paint plaster walls that have an uneven texture is to use self-leveling paint. Self-leveling paint helps to eliminate brush strokes, creating a smooth, hard finish. It may cost a bit more, but it's worth it.

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Patching Problems

I filled a small hole in the wall and painted over it. That patch is showing through the paint. How can I make it blend it with the rest of the wall?
Did you prime the filled area before you painted? If not, this is probably why you see a blended finish. It's especially important to do this if you're working with latex paint.

The best way to fix this is to apply a coat of primer over the filled area. Use a small roller instead of a brush. Then wait for it to dry before painting over it.

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Paint on the Ceiling

I painted my bathroom blue and found some blue marks on my white ceiling. How do I fix this?
If the paint is still wet, spray some window cleaner on a small brush and wipe the blue paint away.

If your walls and ceiling are already dry, touch up the blue spots with white paint and a small brush. If the blue marks are close to the divide between the wall and ceiling, run painter’s tape along the wall so that you don’t mark the wall while touching up the ceiling. If you’re unsure of the ceiling color, a flat pure white is typically what’s used.

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Painter's Tape Mistake

I removed the painter's tape and it peeled off some of my new paint job. How do I fix this?
More than likely, the tape was left on too long. Generally, it's best to remove tape about an hour after you've finished painting. Make sure the tape doesn't touch the wet wall as you remove it.

In your case, wait for the paint to dry completely. If you haven't removed all of the tape yet, use a razor blade to cut away pieces of tape and raised paint. After you get the remainder cut away, use a sanding block to lightly go over the area until it's smooth. Then you should clean off the dust with a damp cloth, prime and paint.

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Make sure that the room that you're painting is cool. If it's really hot, the adhesive on the tape can loosen and bond with the paint.

You need to know which type of paint you have before you start your project. Watch our DIY Basics video: Do I Have Oil or Latex Paint?