Get perfect walls by avoiding these 6 painting mistakes

These 'shortcuts' could cost you more time and money in the long run.
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Shortcuts can be tempting when the long task of painting is ahead of you. But be warned, it may be more harmful than helpful.

Watch: How To Paint A Wall

Painting a room definitely takes time, there’s no question about it. From painting prep, to covering up furniture to waiting for the actual paint to dry (and especially waiting for the paint smell to leave the house), it can be a long wait.

There are so many steps to painting that cutting down on your to-do list may seem like the best idea out there. And although making the process quicker will save you time and energy, you may end up with painted walls that don’t look exactly perfect. 

With all of the tips, tricks, hacks and shortcuts out there for DIY painting, it’s easy to lose sight of the quality job you wish to complete.

To clear things up, we’ve sorted out the top 6 painting mistakes to avoid when prepping, painting and waiting for everything to dry. 

Top 7 painting mistakes to avoid

1. Not wiping down surfaces 

(Credit: Alana Landsberry/

While it may seem quite arbitrary to clean the walls, it can actually be an important step in the painting process.

Even if your walls are not visibly scuffed or marked, wiping them down with a damp cloth can do wonders.

Dust accumulating on the walls can create a bumpy residue, especially if you’ve needed to sand, and when painting, you’ll want the smoothest surface possible to get the paint looking spectacular. 

2. Not properly covering your floors and furniture

(Credit: Will Horner/

You may think you’ll be extremely mindful, but painting is one of those tasks that ends up chaotic towards the end.

Covering fabric-based furniture is always a given, but many often forget to cover up wooden floorboards or tiles. Getting old sheets or canvas drop cloths to put on the floor works wonders for protection.

Better yet, using painters tape to attach your covering to the skirting boards or edge of floors will ensure there are no gaps.

3. Skipping sanding

(Credit: Derek Swalwell/

If you’ve got new walls to paint or a material like wood cladding, then sanding is definitely a must. Paint loves a bit of adhesion to help it stick to the second and third coat, so skipping this prepping step is a big no no. 

Sanding can also increase the longevity of your paint and reduce the likelihood of peeling or cracking in the future. 

Finally, just like wiping down your walls before painting, sanding also helps with removing any foreign objects left there by the last painter. 

4. Overloading your painting tools

(Credit: Abbie Melle/

If you think that slapping on large amounts of paint means it will be a faster process, you’re definitely in the wrong. 

Adding too much paint to your brush or roller means that you will have a thick coat of paint on the walls. This then means that drying time is increased exponentially.

And, with thick paint layers, it may equate to drips and uneven distribution. We definitely don’t condone thick painting!

5. Not allowing for sufficient drying time

(Credit: Brooke Holm/

Watching paint dry is, of course, one of the most boring activities ever known.

It can be very tempting to shorten the time between painting coats and just get stuck into it, but be warned. Not leaving enough time between coats can cause adhesion problems and result in cracking and peeling paint. 

Not only that, but cutting down on drying time between coats means that overall drying time will actually take longer. Our best advice? Choose a day that’s warm and windy, so that drying can be completed as quickly as possible without intervention.

6. Not using painter’s tape

(Credit: Natalie Johnson/

Again, it’s all about prepping your space that’s going to pay off in the long run.

When ‘cutting in’ for your wall edges, working around windows and painting around wall sockets, using tape ensures that you have straight lines.

While you may believe you have an incredibly steady hand, staying on the safe side when painting is always the best option. 

Using painter’s tape will ensure you won’t get any overlap, splotches or potential drips on your skirting boards and crown moulding. 

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