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5 Signs of a Bad Paint Job

July 27th, 2023 | 3 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

Damaged ceiling and peeling and blistering wall paint in bathroom

After hiring a painting contractor for your interior painting project, you deserve to see clean and crisp walls. If you are seeing imperfections on your interior walls, it is likely due to a poor painting job.

This is due to contractors skipping over key steps to lasting paint, as well as using cheap, low-quality paint that can not hold up over time.

At Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, Nebraska we have been providing high-quality durable work to homeowners in the area for over 25 years. With our experience, we know the difference between a bad paint job and our work. 

In this article, you will learn about the 5 signs that tell a bad paint job. This might help you solve the unappealing issues you are seeing on your interior walls.

1. You can see streaks

If you can see streaks in the dried paint, it is likely a bad paint job. This could be visible for a number of reasons.

The main reason is that there was not enough paint used. Either it needs another coat or there was not enough paint on the roller, to begin with.

Another reason is that low-quality, cheap paint was used. Low-quality paint doesn’t have the power to leave a fully covered surface. Especially with a darker color, the pigments will fade and it can take many coats for an even finish.

2. The color looks uneven

Uneven or splotchy color is a clear sign of a bad paint job. The reasons for this happening are similar to seeing streaks in paint, either the paint needs another coat or low-quality paint was used. 

When using cheaper paint, the coverage is less superior. It can take many coats to obtain an even finish. Applying multiple coats calls for more gallons of paint, plus too many layers of paint won’t look seamless either. 3+ layers can begin to get thick and harder to work with.  

In this case, it is ideal to use a higher-quality paint. One that is trusted to have great color and maintain it for years to come. High-quality paint only needs 2-3 coats to have the color look spotless.

3. You can see imperfections underneath the paint

If you can see old nail holes, nails, scratches, peeling paint, etc. under the paint, there was not any prep work done. In this case, the painter covered the imperfections without any prior attention to them.

Instead, the painter should have spackled, sanded, or repaired prior imperfections before painting. 

In addition to being visually unappealing, if these problem areas are not fixed, they will begin to show through the new coats of paint in only a short matter of time. 

4. The color is bubbling or blistering

If you see that the paint color appears to be bubbling or blistering, the paint did not have the proper time to dry. Each paint product is given an average dry time that is set by the manufacturer. When the paint is dried, the solvent or liquid component in the paint has evaporated, leaving behind solids, additives, resins, and binders that enforce durability.

When the paint is not completely dried and a painter applies another coat, the solvent isn’t able to be evaporated and gets trapped, leaving a bubble or blister on the fresh coat.

This imperfection can be repaired with prep work and high-quality paint.

Not only does high-quality paint tend to dry faster than low-quality paint, but it also leaves behind a higher number of solids and resins that have a greater film of durability. This durable film will protect from future imperfections and touches up seamlessly when those accidents do occur.

5. Unwanted paint is on trim, baseboards, ceilings, light switches, outlets, etc.

If you are finding uneven lines and you can tell paint was accidentally brushed onto a surface, it is a bad paint job, and that’s putting it nicely!

Uneven lines and messy areas are an eye-sore. After seeing them once, you can’t help but notice them every time you look at them. 

For detailed, crisp, and clean lines, masking tape should always be used. It is also important to remove light switches and outlet covers. Painters can have a steady hand and perfect their skill in clean lines. But it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to working in any home. Painting is an investment, no matter the cost. It is important that the work is done right, so you get your money's worth.

Masking tape along baseboards and trim is a safety precaution that also provides the best results. Tape stops the paint from bleeding onto unwanted corners and edges. This forces a clean line when the tape is pulled up. 

How to fix a bad interior paint job

All in all, bad paintwork can be spotted by a number of telltale signs. Investing in a value-based, high-quality company will avoid these frustrating mistakes.

Choosing a more experienced painter to repair these problems, should eliminate any further issues with the paint. An experienced painter will implement a detailed prep work process to start the project from a clean slate. Then, they will use trusted high-quality products that will provide optimum coverage, be resistant to chipping and scratching, and stand the test of time. 

Brush & Roll Painting is a trusted Omaha Interior painter. We pride ourselves on our thorough prep work process and the use of high-quality products. We strive to give customers a great experience. 

Next, dive deeper into the differences between a low-cost and vs high-cost painter. A low-cost painter might be the reason for your paint failure.

Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.