Every paint project begins with good intentions. After looking over numerous, possibly endless sample cards, you’ve finally landed on the right color for your envisioned perfect space. However now that the paint color is up on the wall, you look at your sample card and wonder: What happened?
It’s a frustrating and baffling experience when your paint doesn’t cover well. However, these trying phenomenons actually stem from several common mistakes. So before you throw your paint brush out the window, here are 5 reasons why your paint didn’t cover and how you can do it right next time.
1. You Forgot the Primer
This is the first thing you should consider when troubleshooting your paint coverage. Primer is a preparatory undercoat that helps paint to be durable, apply smoothly and remain true to color. Although you may be tempted to skip on this step all together, especially if you’re painting a lighter color, primer is a must for almost any painting job. (And will save you some bewilderment when you’re scratching your head, trying to figure out why your white paint is not covering the wall.)
You will need primer for any of the following projects:
- Painting new drywall: This is because drywall is naturally porous and can soak in paint colors causing a deformed look. The right primer will seal the surface area so that your paint choice can shine!
- Painting over a dark color: If you’re transitioning your walls from a dark to a light color, primer is necessary in order to cover the pigments from the previous paint. You may need to apply an extra coat of primer depending on the color you’re painting over.
- Painting over skim coat: Skim coat is the process of repairing and smoothing damaged walls with a joint compound, such as plaster or spackle. Once dry, this surface can become porous so its best to apply primer.
- Painting over wood surfaces such as wood paneling: Like drywall, wood is also a porous material and will need to be sealed in with primer. Also, you may need to apply multiple coats of primer depending on the color of the wood.
- Painting over a glossy finish: A glossy finish doesn’t retain well once new paint is applied, and can lead to other painting mishaps like peeling. It’s best to sand down the surface first and then prime afterwards.
Do it Right
Start by identifying the type of primer needed for your project. Use oil based primers for wood, latex based primers for drywall and shellac primer for metal surfaces or for covering water or rust stains. Then, clean the surface you will be priming. Make sure any dust or cobwebs are removed as well as run over the walls with a damp kitchen towel to remove any excess dirt. Be sure to let walls dry before painting.
2. You Only Applied One Coat
After applying the primer comes the most colorful part of the process! But if your lush, bold color looks a little deflated compared to the color promised on your sample, you may have only applied one coat. The second coat, also known as the finishing coat, is an important step for any painting job. This coat pulls everything together, and when applied correctly, leaves smooth, consistent finish that is true to sample color. A second coat also works as a catch-all; filling in any streaks left from the first coat as well as providing more durability. This gives you a longer lasting paint job and saves you money in the long run.
Do it Right
Though a second coat is highly recommended for any paint color you choose, if you are painting a dark color, like the color “Florida Waters”, plan on possibly adding an additional coat of paint to reach its full pigmented brilliance.
3. Your Base Color Affected the Final Look
A base color is the foundation of every gallon of paint. There are a variety of base colors paint manufacturers use, from a white base to a medium base and a clear base. Choosing the right base color depends on the paint color and amount of pigmentation needed. Lighter color paints use a white base and darker color paints use a clear base. After a paint base color is chosen, the color pigmentation is added in.
How does this explain why your paint didn’t cover? The key ingredient for ultimate paint coverage is titanium dioxide. This naturally-occurring chemical is a fine powder that adds a white, durable pigmentation that is used in products from sunscreen to cosmetics. For the painting world, white or light bases use higher levels of titanium dioxide, which helps lighter color paints, such as our “White Fence” to apply opaque with less coats.
However, clear bases contain little to no titanium dioxide. This means bold colors, such as our “Best of the Bunch” will require multiple coats to appear opaque.
Do it Right
If you are painting a darker color, plan on using a larger amount of paint to get the job done. But don’t let this deter you from dark colors! A dark paint color can add a dramatic effect when paired with the right details, such as furnishings and accents. Though it may seem burdensome, we guarantee you’ll fall head over heels for the finished product!
4. You Did Not Use the Right Tools
Since each paint is different, it would make sense that the supplies would be too. In order to achieve the most consistent paint coverage, you need to stock your project with the appropriate brushes and rollers.
Here’s what you need for each paint type:
For Oil Based Paint: Stick With A Natural Bristle Brush
Natural bristle brushes are made with coarse animal hair and can give you the most consistent finish on wood surface areas. They’re a match for oil based paints because the oils slick right off of the brush and onto the wall, giving you more coverage per square footage.
For Latex Paint: Stick with a Synthetic Brush
Synthetic brushes and rollers are made of a mixture of nylon and polyester. Because latex paint is water based, the synthetic fibers do not absorb the paint like a natural bristle brush would. If you use latex paint with a natural bristle brush, the brush will clog up and make painting a frustrating, impossible task.
Do it Right
Once you decide on the right brush type, there are other factors you want to keep in mind such as:
- The brush size: You will need a larger brush/roller to cover a majority of the surface and a smaller brush for painting the trim.
- The brush tips: Brushes come with either a flagged or tipped end. A flagged end applies paint more consistently where a tipped end applies more precisely (especially when painting small, detailed surface areas).
Still need help? Stop by our design center and we’ll assist you in choosing the right brush for your project.
5. You Used a Low Quality Paint
If you’re painting a forever home, you want a paint with durability and longevity—not something that lasts up to the point when your toddler throws spaghetti up on the wall. However, many people opt for low quality as a cost-effective option. But beware, low quality paint will require applying more coats, and more touch up or re-painting.
Instead, aim for quality ingredients. A typical high quality paint will have higher ratios of pigmentation and resin than solvents (which is opposite for low quality paint). Pigmentation is your bright, vivid color and resin is what binds those pigments together. Solvents are the liquid that transfers the pigment and resin onto the surface area and will evaporate over time. Though solvents are necessary for paint formulas, more of it creates less coverage over time.
Also, look for a paint with a higher gloss or sheen. This type of paint is long-lasting and is easy to clean (especially when there are spaghetti messes)! Flat paints are more matte and do not offer as durable of a finish.
Always Do it Right With James T. Davis
There’s a reason we’ve been painting the town since 1936. At James T. Davis, you’re getting paints that don’t skip out on quality—which means less risk of paint not covering properly.
For example: A low quality, dark exterior paint will fade quickly after prolonged exposure to the sun. However, our Davis Paint adds in UV protection elements to make sure darker exterior paint colors are more fade-resistant. Additionally, many of our paints include Microban® to prevent mold and mildew for up to 5 years. This gives your paint the durability needed to survive any weather elements.
If you’re starting (or restarting) a paint project, we want to make sure it’s an enjoyable, colorful process—not a frustrating one! Stop by our design gallery and paint store in Lynchburg, VA, and we’ll match you with your favorite color and the supplies you need to craft your perfect, dazzling space.