How To Fix 3 Types Of Paint Streaks On Walls (And Avoid Them)

Todd Tribble painting a wall back in his painter days

You just finished painting your living room, and it looks great—except for those pesky paint streaks on the walls! Paint streaks on walls can be a major eyesore and frustration, especially if you are trying to paint your home yourself.

Fortunately, there are several ways to fix paint streaks on your walls, including techniques for dealing with raised edge roller marks, uneven paint streaks, and leftover brush marks.

Whether you are a professional painter or a DIY paint enthusiast, these tips can help you achieve smooth, streak-free paint every time.

How To Fix 3 Types Of Paint Streaks On Walls (And Avoid Them)

Keep The Walls In Your Ann Arbor Home Looking Amazing

Paint streaks on walls are a common issue among even experienced painters. Luckily, they’re usually easy to fix.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to fix three of the most common types of paint streaks on walls so you can enjoy your freshly painted space.

Even Pros Didn’t Start Out Too Good

Anyone who has, or will be painting a wall will more than likely leave paint streaks somewhere. It happens to everyone (even myself, once upon a time). It’s almost like a rite of passage into the DIY home painting world.

You can avoid them altogether by hiring an interior painter instead. If you’re wondering what the cost of interior painting is in Ann Arbor, be sure to take a look at our breakdown of how much interior painting costs in our area.

Thankfully, paint streaks on walls are not too difficult to fix (although it can be a little time-consuming). Here are three different types of paint streaks and how you can fix them:

1. Fixing Raised Edge Roller Marks

Man painting with a roller.

The issue: Have you ever noticed paint streaks on your wall that look like little raised lines of paint, almost like boundary lines? These paint streaks are called raised edge roller marks, and they’re caused by paint that’s been applied too thickly or unevenly.

The cause: This typically happens when the roller is full of paint and is pressed too firmly against the wall.

Conversely, raised edge roller marks can also be caused when the edge of the roller doesn’t stay in constant contact with the wall. As a result, you’ll see a streak of thicker paint next to a thinner streak of paint.

How to fix it: To fix these paint streaks on walls you’ll need to sand down the raised edges. You may have to touch up the wall here and there but that’s only if you sand too closely.

You’ll want to use 120 – 150 grit sandpaper and sand lightly. Sanding too hard can take off the flat paint, which would mean another coat application.

After the area has been sanded smooth, it’s time to repaint! Just make sure not to put too much paint on the roller, or press it too firmly against the surface of the wall. Ditto if you are using a foam paintbrush or standard paintbrush to make your repair.

Pro tip: Make sure to wipe the areas clean of dust before you start painting again.

Tools & materials you’ll need to fix raised edge roller marks:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Paint roller, foam paintbrush, or paintbrush
  • Can of touch-up paint that matches the paint used on your walls
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloths to protect your floors and furniture

2. Fixing Uneven Paint Streaks On Your Walls

Using a mini roller to paint

The issue: This is a very common issue that happens to new painters all the time. You’ll see longer streaks of paint that are thicker in some areas and thinner in others.

The cause: Sometimes the paint on the roller starts disappearing faster than you realize. Less paint means a lighter coat, resulting in uneven paint streaks on your walls.

Conversely, it’s also possible that your roller was overloaded with paint during part of your painting process. An overloaded roller can make your previous paint applications look too light in comparison.

How to fix it: Thankfully the fix to this doesn’t involve sanding. All you need to do is wait for it to completely dry and then apply another coat of paint.

To avoid an overloaded roller, soak up any excess paint from your roller using a lint-free cloth. Then, go over the area again using light pressure until the paint streak disappears.

Pro tip: If it isn’t all the way dry it can still look uneven after another coat of paint. So it’s crucial to let the paint dry completely.

Tools & materials you’ll need to fix uneven paint streaks on your walls:

  • Paint roller, foam paintbrush, or paintbrush
  • Lint-free cloth (optional)
  • Can of touch-up paint that matches the paint used on your walls
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloths to protect your floors and furniture

3. Fixing Leftover Brush Marks

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

The issue: You’ve done some brush painting on your wall and you see marks left over. If they are only visible from certain angles or in certain light conditions, they may not be as noticeable as you think. In this case, you may be able to leave them as-is. However, if the paint streaks are noticeable from all angles and in all light conditions, you will need to take action to fix them.

The cause: There are a few common causes for this issue:

Paintbrush was not cleaned: Oftentimes, brush marks are caused by a paintbrush that wasn’t properly cleaned before use. If there’s old paint on the brush, it can flake off and create streaks on your newly painted walls. Paintbrushes should always be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water (or paint thinner, if necessary) before use.

Uneven paint application: Leftover brush marks can also be caused by paint that has been improperly applied. When the paint is applied too thickly or unevenly, it can leave behind brush marks that are difficult to remove.

High humidity: Paint that is applied in high humidity can also lead to streaky brush marks, as the moisture in the air can cause the paint to dry unevenly.

Low-quality paintbrush: Last but not least, using a low-quality paintbrush can also result in visible brush marks, as the bristles may not be able to evenly distribute the paint.

How to fix it: If the brush mark edges are raised you’ll want to follow the same steps as with the raised edge roller marks. Sand off the raised parts and touch them up as necessary.

For uneven brush marks, you’ll want to apply another coat of paint until you can no longer see them. Try to avoid painting in the same places so the edges don’t become more noticeable.

Alternatively, you can avoid brush marks altogether by using a foam roller instead.

Pro tip: Allow ample time for the paint to dry before touching or repainting over it.

Tools & materials you’ll need to fix leftover brush marks:

  • Paintbrush, paint roller, or foam paintbrush
  • Can of touch-up paint that matches the paint used on your walls
  • Paint tray
  • Drop cloths to protect your floors and furniture

How To Avoid Paint Streaks On Walls

Whether you’re painting your entire house or just one wall, you want to avoid paint streaks. They can be unsightly and difficult to remove. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent paint streaks on walls.

Clean the surface: Always start with a clean surface. Any dirt, dust, or grease will create streaks in the paint. To clean the wall, simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Use a high-quality paintbrush, roller, or foam brush: A good brush or roller will help to evenly distribute the paint and prevent streaking. When painting, use long, even strokes in one direction. Avoid going back and forth, as this can also cause streaking.

Let the paint dry: Allow the paint to dry completely before adding any finishing touches like trim or wallpaper.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to paint your walls perfectly streak-free.

Paint Streaks Beware!

Whether your paint job is freshly completed or decades old, paint streaks on the wall may appear at some point. As paint ages, it dries and shrinks, pulling away from the surface of the wall and leaving behind telltale streaks.

If your paint job is relatively new, on the other hand, the brush marks are likely the result of an improper painting technique.

In either case, those pesky paint streaks on walls are easy to fix with a little patience and the right set of tools.

Armed with this knowledge you should be able to get rid of paint streaks on your walls and avoid them in the future.

Contact Tribble Painting For All Your Home Painting Needs

Paint streaks on your walls can be a pain, but with these three tips, you can fix them easily! If you find yourself having trouble with paint streaks, or if you just don’t have the time to fix them, fill out our contact form today. We would be happy to help get your Novi home looking perfect again!

What kind of paint streaks are you seeing on your walls: raised or uneven? You can tell us in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

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