How To Fix Paint Streaks On Walls (And Avoid Them)

Streaks Be Gone: Painting Walls Smoothly

Ever tackled a wall painting project, only to step back and notice those pesky streaks marring your smooth finish?

Felt that sinking feeling as you wondered where things went awry?

In this guide, we’re rolling out the secrets to how to fix paint streaks on walls and also prevent them from crashing your painting party in the future.

We’ve got you covered with expert advice that’ll turn your next DIY painting project in Novi into a masterpiece.

By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the know-how to achieve that flawless finish, making your walls the envy of the neighborhood.

Follow the link to learn more about how to paint a house like a pro.

Understanding Paint Streaks

Tribble professional painting a wall

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of how to banish those unsightly streaks from your walls, let’s first understand what we’re up against.

Knowing the enemy is half the battle won, after all.

What Causes Paint Streaks?

Several culprits can turn a smooth wall into a streaky canvas.

Here are the main offenders:

  • Poor Quality Paint: Skimping on paint quality can lead to uneven coverage and visible streaks. High-quality paint is essential for a smooth, consistent finish.

  • Unprepared Walls: Dirt, dust, and previous paint layers can interfere with your new coat, leading to uneven paint streaks.

  • Improperly Loaded Rollers: Loading too much paint or not enough onto your roller can create excess paint or uneven paint streaks, respectively.

  • Excessive Pressure: Applying too much force can squeeze out more paint from the edges of the roller, leaving behind those dreaded roller marks.

3 Types of Paint Streaks

Man painting with a roller.

Navigating the world of DIY painting in Novi, MI, means getting familiar with the various types of paint streaks that can mar your walls.

Recognizing these can help you tailor your approach to fixing them effectively.

1. Raised-Edge Roller Marks

Ever noticed those slightly elevated lines that trail your roller?

These are raised-edge roller marks, primarily caused by overloading the roller with paint.

When too much paint accumulates on the roller’s edges, it leaves a ridge of paint that dries into a noticeable mark.

2. Streaky Brush Marks

Streaky brush marks are the bane of many DIY painters.

These occur when the paintbrush isn’t loaded correctly or the paint quality is subpar.

Sometimes, applying paint with too much zeal or using a worn-out brush can also leave behind these telltale streaks.

3. Uneven Paint Streaks, Clumps, and Drips

Variably thick or thin, these imperfections can appear for several reasons:

  • Too Much Paint: Overloading your brush or roller can lead to drips and clumps that dry into unsightly bumps on your wall.

  • Not Enough Paint: Conversely, skimping on paint can result in thin, uneven streaks where the wall beneath peeks through.

  • Drying Too Fast: If the paint dries too quickly (often due to high room temperature or using a fast-drying paint), it can leave streaks because it doesn’t have time to level out.

Identifying these common types of paint streaks on walls is the first step toward achieving that smooth, professional finish you’re aiming for.

With this knowledge, you’re better equipped to tackle each issue head-on, ensuring your painting project turns out flawless.

Tools and Materials Needed

Using a mini roller to paint

Embarking on a painting project in Novi, MI, requires more than just a can of paint and a brush.

To ensure your walls are streak-free and smooth, gathering the right materials and tools before you start is crucial.

Here’s what you’ll need to tackle those paint streaks effectively:


  • Paint Roller: A must-have for covering large areas evenly. Opt for a paint roller with a suitable nap length for your wall’s texture.

  • Paintbrush: Essential for detailed work and edges. A high-quality brush will give you clean lines and avoid streaky brush marks.

  • Foam Paintbrush: Perfect for smooth surfaces and touch-ups. Foam brushes minimize brush marks and are great for applying a smooth, even coat.

  • Fine Grit Sandpaper (120-150 grit): Essential for smoothing out any roller marks or uneven edges before applying the next coat of paint. Sand lightly to avoid damaging the wall surface.


  • High-Quality Paint: Choosing high-quality paint is non-negotiable if you’re aiming for a flawless finish. Not only does it provide better coverage, but it also reduces the likelihood of encountering paint streaks on walls.

  • Paint Tray: Necessary for loading your roller or brush with the right amount of paint. A paint tray helps you evenly distribute paint on your tool, preventing too much paint or excess paint from causing drips.

  • Damp Cloth, Wet Sponge, or Tack Cloth: Use these to wipe down the walls after sanding. Ensuring your surface is clean and dust-free is key to preventing paint streaks.

  • Painter’s Tape: Apply this around trim, windows, and door frames to achieve sharp lines and protect surfaces you don’t want to be painted.

  • Drop Cloths: Protect your floors and furniture from drips and spills. It’s easier to prevent a mess than to clean one up.

Preparing Your Tools

Before you start painting, take a moment to prep your tools.

Ensure your brushes and rollers are clean and free from old paint, which can cause unwanted streaks and clumps.

If you’re using a paint roller, dampen it slightly to help it absorb paint more evenly and distribute it more smoothly on the wall.

By assembling these materials and tools, you’re setting the stage for a successful painting project.

With everything at your fingertips, you can focus on the task at hand: transforming your walls with color and confidence.

Preparing the Surface

A flawless paint job begins long before the first coat of paint is applied.

Properly preparing your walls is a critical step that can make or break the outcome of your painting project in Novi, MI.

Here’s how to set the stage for a streak-free finish:

Importance of Wall Preparation

A clean, smooth surface is key to avoiding paint streaks.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Cleaning: Use a damp cloth or wet sponge to wipe down your walls, removing any dust, dirt, or grease. You can also use a lint-free tack cloth to remove any residual dust. A clean surface ensures the paint adheres properly and evenly. Learn more about how to clean painted walls here.

  • Sanding: If you encounter uneven edges, roller marks from previous paint jobs, or any rough spots, lightly sand them with fine-grit sandpaper. This creates a smooth base for your new coat of paint.

  • Priming: Applying a primer is like laying down a perfect canvas for your paint. It helps to cover any old paint, stains, or discrepancies in the wall’s texture, leading to a more uniform application of the new paint.

Tackling Holes and Cracks

  • Fill any holes or cracks with spackle, smoothing it out with a sanding block once it dries. This step is crucial for achieving smooth walls, as it prevents old imperfections from showing through your fresh paint job. Follow the link to learn how to fix stress cracks in drywall.

Final Touches Before Painting

  • After sanding, go over the wall again with a damp cloth or tack cloth to remove any residual dust. This step ensures that your wall is pristine and ready for painting.

  • Use painter’s tape to protect trim, windowsills, and any areas you don’t want to be painted. This helps in creating sharp lines and keeping your work area neat. Explore how to use painter’s tape here.

Preparing your walls meticulously might seem time-consuming, but it’s a step you don’t want to skip.

By investing this effort upfront, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of paint streaks on walls and ensure a professional-quality finish that will make your Novi home shine.

Fixing Paint Streaks: Step-by-Step

Detail painting for the basement walls in the Polo Fields area of Ann Arbor

Once your walls are prepped and ready, it’s time to tackle those paint streaks head-on.

Whether you’re dealing with fresh streaks or ones that have dried and settled in, there’s a method to fix them and restore your walls to perfection.

For Fresh Paint Streaks

If you notice paint streaks while the paint is still wet, you’re in luck. This is the easiest scenario to correct:

  • Smooth Out with a Roller: Gently go over the streaky area with a paint roller. Use light pressure and even strokes to blend the wet paint into the surrounding area seamlessly.

For Dried Paint Streaks

Dried streaks require a bit more elbow grease, but they’re far from a lost cause:

  • Sanding: Use fine grit sandpaper to sand down the dried streaks gently. Aim to make the surface as smooth as possible without removing too much of the surrounding paint.

  • Wipe Clean: After sanding, use a damp cloth or tack cloth to remove any dust. This step is crucial for ensuring a clean surface for the next coat of paint.

  • Reapply Paint: With a clean brush or roller, apply paint over the sanded area. If you’re using a brush, follow the original stroke direction to ensure consistency. It might take more than one coat to completely cover the streaks, so let each coat of paint dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Tips to Avoid Future Streaks

  • Even Pressure: When using a roller or brush, apply even pressure to avoid creating roller marks or brush marks.

  • The Right Amount of Paint: Loading your brush or roller with too much paint can lead to drips and excess paint, while too little paint can result in uneven coverage. Aim for a happy medium.

  • Quality Tools: Investing in high-quality painting tools can significantly reduce the chances of painting mistakes and help evenly distribute paint on the walls.

Fixing paint streaks might seem daunting, but with patience and the right approach, you can achieve smooth, streak-free walls.

Remember, the key to a successful paint job lies in preparation, the right tools, and careful application.

Get Walls That Wow with Tribble Painting Company

Throughout this guide, you’ve learned the ins and outs of tackling paint streaks, ensuring your next DIY project turns out as smooth as silk.

From preparing your surfaces properly to mastering the art of applying paint, these tips are designed to elevate your home’s aesthetics and boost your confidence as a DIY painter.

However, if the thought of embarking on this journey alone seems daunting, Tribble Painting Company is here to turn your vision into reality.

Our team of skilled professionals is equipped with the expertise and high-quality tools needed to deliver impeccable results, ensuring your walls are not just painted but transformed.

Don’t let the fear of paint streaks hold you back from achieving the home of your dreams.

With Tribble Painting Company, flawless walls are just a phone call away.

Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call, and let us help you create a space that truly reflects your style and personality.

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