How to Fix a Bad Paint Job

Written by chris deziel Google
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How to Fix a Bad Paint Job
Knowing why your paint job didn't turn out well will help you fix it. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If your paint job didn't turn out as expected, knowing the reason why will help you determine a strategy for fixing it. Excessive dripping may have been the result of using paint that was too thin, or the wrong kind of paint. If the surface wasn't properly cleaned, or was wet, the paint may have bubbled or dripped. Orange peel, overspray and other defects may have been the results of improper spraying techniques. You can usually fix the job by sanding, scraping or stripping the defects, then applying another coat.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 150- and 220-grit sandpaper
  • Pole sander
  • Paint scraper
  • Paint stripper
  • Old paintbrush
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Medium and fine steel wool
  • Primer
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Rag
  • Razor knife

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  1. 1

    Sand down drips and orange peel after the paint dries. Use 150-grit sandpaper on wooden surfaces and 220-grit sandpaper on metal ones. A pole sander will help you work faster on walls and ceilings, while manual sanding is usually sufficient for smaller surfaces.

  2. 2

    Scrape away bubbles and flaking paint with a paint scraper. If the surface underneath is wet, let it dry and then sand around the edges of areas from which you removed paint to flatten them.

  3. 3

    Remove gummy paint by spreading paint stripper on it with an old paintbrush. Scrape away the stripper with a paint scraper.

  4. 4

    Rub down areas from which you stripped paint and those underneath bubbles and flaking paint with steel wool moistened with lacquer thinner. Contaminants on the surface may have caused these defects. The lacquer thinner will remove them. It will also clean off the paint stripper residue.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of primer to any bare wood, metal or wallboard that you expose by stripping, sanding and scraping, using an appropriate primer. If the paint on wallboard has bubbled, it may be because you painted over wallpaper. In this case, scrape off any loose wallpaper with a paint scraper and cover the repair with a coat of joint compound. Let the compound dry overnight before you prime it.

  6. 6

    Repaint the entire surface. Use the same technique you originally used -- brushing, rolling or spraying -- but make adjustments to the type of paint you use, its consistency or your technique to avoid dripping or orange peel. If you had excessive dripping, spread a lighter coat of paint. If you had orange peel, thin the paint so it will dry faster and level out more smoothly.

  7. 7

    Clean overspray from trim, windows and other areas that weren't masked properly by scraping it with a razor knife or by wiping it lightly with a rag moistened with lacquer thinner. If you rub lightly enough with the thinner, it will remove overspray without damaging the paint on the surface underneath.

Tips and warnings

  • If the paint job is blotchy or the colour is uneven, you can probably fix it by simply applying another coat.
  • You may get flaking and bubbling if you spread paint on a surface that is already covered with an incompatible type of paint. Correct this by priming the entire surface with a primer that is compatible with the top coat after you have scraped off all the flakes and bubbles.
  • Paint stripper is caustic, so wear rubber gloves and safety glasses while using it. Wear a respirator while working with lacquer thinner.

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