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Telltale Signs Of A Bad Interior Paint Job [& Tips To Repair]

Did you ever hear a home appraiser say that the paint job that a home received was subpar? Perhaps it wasn't an appraiser but a landlord who somehow "caught on" that you repainted the apartment during the time that you were there. Regardless of the reason why someone called out a bad interior paint job, you might be wondering how they knew. Moreover, what do you do if you find out that your paint job was subpar? For your convenience, we brought you the answer.

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Besides looking bad, the most common signs a room wasn't properly painted include a lack of preparation, colors that seem to bleed through paint layers, drips running down the walls or floors, and a painter who is unequipped for the job. The best way to repair a bad interior paint job is to call a professional or to try to repaint the portions of your room that were poorly done.

Are you wondering whether or not you are going to have to call a painter? Did your paint job get called "shoddy" by others? Maybe it's time to take a look at this list of warning signs. Without further ado, let's discuss the topic in more detail.

Using a roller paint to paint the wall with a grey color, Telltale Signs Of A Bad Interior Paint Job [& Tips To Repair]

What Are The Most Common Signs Of A Bad Interior Paint Job?

In most cases, a bad paint job is something that you'll know when you see. The proverbial writing is literally on the wall. However, we're going to break it down so that you can see each major sign that the paint job was botched.

Painting the wall with a green paint

Uneven Paint Coloring/Splotchy, Drippy Paint

The easiest way to see if your paint job is bad is to look at it. Does the paint appear uneven? Do you notice splotches, lap marks, or visible streaks on the wall? If you visibly see issues with the paint job, it's safe to say it's not well done. The eyes don't lie here!

Interior of a modern house painted with a dark beige color

Little To No Prep Work Was Involved

Great buildings never exist on poor foundations, and the same can be said of great paint jobs. In other words, the surface that you paint has to be prepared properly if you want it to look good. Most people don't realize how much prep work should be done prior to applying paint on a wall. This includes:

  • A color consultation. You want to find the contractor that can tell you which paint color goes with maroon or which shade of white is right for your office. If you haven't talked about the colors, you need to rethink using that particular contractor. They should always ask certain questions to understand the effect you want, too.
  • Repairing any nicks and cuts off the walls. Walls that are broken or damaged are not going to do well with paint. Even if you slap on a new coat of paint, your walls will still look worn and ragged.
  • Cleaning the walls carefully. This includes scrubbing walls of grime and drying them. If the painters left lint on the walls, they didn't clean it well enough.
  • Taping areas that shouldn't get painted and covering the floor. You should also remove the painter's tape before the painting day is done. 
  • No tapping. "Tapping" is the blue tape outline that professional painters use to guide their paint.
  • Using a coat of paint primer. Paint primer is what makes paint stick to your walls in an even manner. Without primer, your walls will look strange, and the porous surfaces you paint will not take to paint well.

Noticeable Spots Missing Paint

A good paint job is thorough to the point that no spot is missed. You will be able to enjoy the look of continuity when you look at the room. If you notice patches where paint wasn't applied, then it is a poorly done paint job and needs to be fixed. 

Spots On The Ceiling

This is the worst! It's especially bad if you have a textured ceiling where you may have to grind down the texture and reapply the ceiling paint. Once again, this shows that proper preparation work wasn't done and that they were careless with paint application.

Use Of The Wrong Tools

Roller paints and other color palettes on the table

Different paint jobs will require different tools. If you are doing an exterior paint job, sprayers are most common. If you are doing an interior paint job, rollers tend to be the go-to tool. Any time you notice a lack of proper tools should be a moment to hit the pause button. 

Poor Line Work

If your wall concept involves painting designs or lines on a wall, the execution needs to be perfect. A bad paint job involving lines or designs is easy to spot, simply because your design might bleed out over a line. Simply put, if it looks like a five-year-old colored outside the lines you drew, you have a bad paint job. 

Tips To Fix A Bad Paint Job

If you were unfortunate enough to deal with a bad paint job, these quick tips can help you fix things up:

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe away paint that has not yet dried. This works well on textured ceilings and regular molding. 
  • To fix most texture issues, you will have to sand down the problematic area with 150-grit paper, tack the walls, and then repaint the area. This works with lint stuck to paint, drip marks on a wall, or brush marks that stuck to your walls. 
  • An extra coat of paint can usually clean up uneven paint quickly. If your paint doesn't look even, don't panic. This usually means you need an additional coat of paint. So, let the paint dry, and apply another coat. If the reason for the uneven paint stems from bad stirring, you may need to get preventative with your work. Make sure that you use a paint stirrer to blend the paint better before you apply that second coat.
  • Missed spots can be fixed by dipping a sponge in paint. Use the sponge to "dab on" the paint into the blank areas.
  • Scrape off paint splatters from wooden flooring and furniture. This tip is best used when removing eggshell texture paint. 

Should You Call A Professional To Fix A Botched Paint Job?

This all depends on who painted your room, how much effort you want to put in, and your budget. If you used a painting company that botched your paint, then it makes sense to call them up and ask them to fix their mistakes.

A blue paint splattered on the wall

While they may not actually agree to fix it, it's worth a shot. If you don't want to spend time toiling away on repairs, it also makes sense to hire someone to fix the room's paint. 

Related Questions

Now we'll answer some other questions about a bad paint job.

Should You Prime Over A Bad Paint Job?

If you are the unhappy recipient of a bad paint job, then you may have to repaint your room. This will require you to add at least one coat of primer to your walls right on top of the freshly sanded area you have. If you want to skip primer, make sure to use a paint that's a "two-in-one" primer paint. 

Will Touch-Up Paint Eventually Blend In With The Rest Of The Room? 

While it's good to add touch-ups once in a while, there's bad news here. Most of the time, touch-up paint won't blend in with the rest of a room.

To make it blend perfectly, your touchup paint should be the same color as the rest of the room. More importantly, you need to apply it properly and evenly. Don't cut corners with touchups!

What Are Lap Marks In Painting? 

Lap marks are noticeable differences in color that occur in bad paint jobs. Bad paint quality, uneven paint application, poor weather conditions, and improper paint application can all cause this. Most people notice lap marks because of both the darker paint spots and the glossier portions of the paint.

Does Paint Get Lighter Or Darker When It Dries?

Pouring white paint onto a red painting tray

Acrylic, latex, and oil paints all tend to darken as they dry. However, this does not mean that you should pick a paint that's a shade lighter than what you want at the store. If your paint is even remotely well made, your paint should match the color you picked once it dries. 

What Causes Paint Bubbles? 

Drying paint in heat or high moisture conditions causes paint bubbles. This is why it's best to do interior painting in a dry room at 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your area is naturally moist, running a dehumidifier prior to painting the room can help reduce the risk of paint bubbles.

In Closing

Using a roller paint to paint the wall with a grey color

Like it or hate it, bad paint jobs happen to good people. When it does, it's up to you to make sure that you fix it and keep your home looking sharp.

Thankfully, most mistakes that can happen with painting a room are easy to prevent and easy to fix. It's not fun, but with a little work, you'll be able to make your room look perfectly polished.