Dealing With Less Than Perfect Walls When You Paint

In the do-it-yourselfer’s paradise, every wall is as smooth as a mirror and putting paint on them delivers a perfect result every time. Meanwhile, in the real world, you often find yourself stuck with walls that are damaged, worn or improperly finished. You probably already know that slapping a plain layer of gloss paint on them is only going to make the problem worse. Here are some alternative painting strategies to deal with walls that have issues.

painting the walls of a homeMinimize The Problem With Good Prep Work

No matter how major or minor the damage to your walls might be, you are going to make it look worse if you jump right into painting them without doing at least a little prep work. Fill obvious holes with joint compound and sand down joints, uneven patches, and other questionable areas. If you feel like your do-it-yourself skills are up to the challenge, you may even re-skim the whole wall. This takes skill to do properly, though!

Even if you don’t have obvious weak points to address, it is generally a very good idea to sand your walls thoroughly before you start to paint. This will not only eliminate the smallest imperfections but also give your paint a better surface to adhere to. If you know your walls have issues, you should also plan to paint them in two coats (primer + finisher) rather than using an all-in-one paint. The extra thickness of paint will help conceal small flaws.

Choose Your Paint Wisely

After your wall is painted, the way cracks, bumps, and seams are going to show up is through irregularities in the way light reflects off the paint. Choose paints that minimize the amount of light reflected and you are well on your way to concealing all but the most glaring of flaws. Matte or flat finishes are your friends here. Avoid high-gloss paint if at all possible.

Paint color can also make a difference for largely the same reason. Minor wall imperfections are much harder to spot on dark colors. (Of course, it may not be realistic to paint your breakfast nook black!) Choose the darkest shades that will fit with your decor when you’re painting a problem wall.

Consider Special Finishes

Besides simply selecting the right paint, you can go a long way towards concealing issues by choosing novel ways to apply it. A textured coat can cover up all sorts of little imperfections. Don’t be too quick to dismiss textured paint based on one or two unappealing examples you may have seen in the past. There are dozens if not hundreds of options available to you.

Faux finishes and glazes involve a little more labor, but they can hide a host of flaws. In these techniques, you are aiming to replicate the multicolored look of a historical wall finish (e.g. lime washing) or the aged patina of a weathered surface. Hit the internet to find examples of various faux finish options. Some require the application of multiple colors, while others may involve adding two or more additional thin layers of paint to your wall.

It’s not always possible to guarantee ideal results every time you take your paint roller to a wall. Preparing to deal with walls you know will be challenging is a great way to get better results. Explore your options fully before you resign yourself to living with a wall that looks flawed!