The Most Common Paint Problems And How To Avoid Them

Paint experts at Benjamin Moore give us the best tricks and tips.

Common Paint Problems
Jeff Cate

While many of us decide to take on the task of painting our own homes, we usually don’t consult professionals beforehand. This means that the final product is often times different than what we had hoped for, usually for reasons we can't fully understand. From priming the walls, to picking a finish, to choosing the right color, there’s plenty of room for error without the proper guidance. That being said, with the right set of guidelines, there are easy ways to avoid making the same painting mistakes in the future. We consulted two Benjamin Moore paint experts about the most common painting problems people encounter, and their tips and tricks on how to avoid them.

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Problem 1:

There are too many paint colors to choose from, and I don’t know where to begin.

Common Paint Problems 
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Solution:

1) According to Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore's color and design expert, you should start by finding a point of inspiration (a favorite fabric, the colors of your kitchen countertops, a piece of wall art, even a page torn out of a magazine). By doing this, you can more easily narrow down your choices.

2) "Once you’ve figured out which general color families appeal to you, set your focus on that portion of the display at the store or that section of the fan deck," Magno explains. There are a wide range of colors in each family, so go with what you are initially drawn to. After this, you should begin pulling paint chips.

3) Narrow your colors down to two or three choices, and buy a sample to see how the colors look in your home. Because the light in the store will be different from the light in your home, the best way to make an informed decision is by painting a sample in the room where you’ll be using the color, Magno says. "If you don’t want to paint the wall itself, buy a piece of poster-board or foam core and paint it to see how the color looks at different times of the day, in different sections of the room."


Problem 2:

The paint on my walls is flaky, bubbling, or fading.

Common Paint Problems 
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Solution:

According to Benjamin Moore Senior Brand Manager Harriette Martins, the most important thing is to select a premium paint that is "recognized for its durability and performance." Premium paints will ensure that you won't have to repaint until you're ready for a change of color.


Problem 3:

I’m not getting the results I want when painting.

Common Paint Problems 
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Solution:

Martins explains that prep work is key to achieving great, long-lasting results when painting. Before painting, you should wash your walls (from top to bottom), because paint adheres best to a clean surface. You should always prime your walls, because it will seal the surface for optimal performance. Additionally, primer ensures your walls will be true to the paint color you've chosen. If the walls have specific problems (i.e. stains), Martins recommends using a separate specialty primer. Lastly, you should always apply two coats of paint for the best results.


Problem 4:

I’m unsure about the finish to use.

Common Paint Problems 
Bjorn Wallander

Solution:

As long as you use paints with a high durability, Andrea Magno explains that "you don't have to be tied to the old rules (i.e. you can only use a high-gloss finish in bathrooms, never use a matte finish in a high-traffic area)." This means that instead of worrying about durability, you can focus on the look you want to create. Glossy finishes are best when used on smooth walls, as they tend to accentuate any imperfections. Flat or matte finishes are best for older, blemished walls. For high-traffic areas, Magno recommends eggshell.

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