How to Fix Paint Drips on a Wall: 8 Easy Steps

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A fresh coat of paint can be an inexpensive upgrade for any room in your home. Taking on the task yourself can be satisfying, but as many new painters discover, it doesn’t always go as planned.

Painting often requires more time and equipment than expected. Beyond brushes, rollers, tarps and paint, you’ll need supplies to help you prevent and fix any mishaps along the way. Even experienced painters are familiar with the hassle of paint drips and streaks. The paint drips occur when excess paint from brushes or rollers accumulates and dries, undetected, before it can be smoothed away.

This tutorial will teach you how to fix paint drips, giving you confidence to know that you can fix this common mistake.

Step #1: Get to the Bottom of Things

When it comes to paint drips, it is helpful to identify the issue – is it a streak caused by excess paint dripping from a brush? Is it a roller mark, left by too much paint or pressure on the roller? Or, are you looking at brush marks, you’d like to have disappear? While the latter can be solved with another coat of paint, roller marks and drips take more work. They are the result of too much paint and must be properly fixed.

Streak marks on your paint job may be a hassle, but they are not a sign of failure. Mistakes happen and painting takes practice. If you prefer to leave the job to someone else, consider hiring the professional painters for help. These painters will likely finish the job quickly and have plenty of experience knowing how to fix paint streaks and even prevent them in first place.

Step #2: Prepare for the Job

Once you’ve found a dry streak or drip mark, you will likely want to take action quickly and find a way on how to fix paint drips. Rest assured, the most important thing you can do is gather the supplies you’ll need to fix the trouble spot.

You will need good lighting, including a light you can move around, if possible. This will help you detect shadows and rises in the paint. You will also need sandpaper, a damp cloth and your paint supplies for touch-ups.

Step #3: Get Sanding

Once you are confident you’ve found all the spots that need fixing, it’s time to do a final check before you sand. Make sure any wet paint nearby has had the chance to dry, in order to avoid having paint sediment stick to it. If drips are large enough, you may consider slicing the bulk of it off with a utility knife before sanding the area with either a hand sander or a piece of sandpaper.

Ideally, use 180 or 220-grit sandpaper, working in circles to smooth your surface and prepare it for paint. Keep in mind, some fixes require patience and plenty of effort.

Step #4: Clean and Let Dry

Once the surface feels smooth to the touch, without raised marks, use your lamp or flashlight to see if you can detect any shadows. If level, clean the sanded area with a slightly damp cloth and allow to dry.

Step #5: Make Final Checks

Once the wall is dry and you’re ready to paint again, do one final check over sanded area, making sure it is both even and smooth to the touch. Be sure to check your baseboards and trim, as well, as excess paint can easily collect in the corners and drips can go undetected.

Step #6: Repaint

As you repair your trouble spot, make a conscious effort to use less paint on your brush or roller. If you are using a brush, take the time to squeeze excess paint into the bucket before you apply paint to the wall. If you are using a roller, use less paint and make an effort to use a lighter, more even touch. This will allow you to repair the damage that was done and avoid creating another streak.

Step #7: Check Wet Paint

While things are wet, be sure to check over your work area. Use your light to look closely for drips, especially in corners or where paint has been thickly applied. As you paint, cover a wide area. This will help you to blend your wet paint into the surrounding wall colour, making the trouble spot disappear as soon as the paint is dry.

Step #8: Think About Next Time

As you prepare to take on your next wall or room, you may want to do a few things differently. There are a few simple things you can do to set yourself up for success.

First, clean your walls with a damp cloth, in order to remove bits of dust or dirt that could cause paint to gather into a drip. Second, sand any rough spots, to keep things as smooth as possible. Finally, consider adding a coat of primer, which not only smooths over tiny holes but also helps the paint to stick to the walls.

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About Author

Hi, I'm Bryan! I'm the guy who writes most of the home improvement tutorials in Step By Step House. If you have any questions about what I've written, just contact me and I'll get back to you. Thanks!

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