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  • The L.A. Design Team

Paint Problems, Episode V: The Roller Strikes Back

Season One Finale

Brush and roller marks.

brush marks in blue paint
Brush Marks

I’m sure we’ve all been there a time or two. We finish our project, and step back to look at our handy work. Looks great! Then we wander past a little later after it’s dried and… Wait a minute, what is that? There’s a brush mark there and a I can see a roller mark here. WTH?!

roller marks on a white wall
Roller Marks

Brush and roller marks are caused by poor flow and levelling.

There are some simple explanations for this phenomenon. And pretty easy ways to avoid it. Ask yourself this...

First, did you use a poor quality paint? Poor quality paints may have poor flow and levelling capabilities, usually as a result of raw materials used or certain additives not being used. It's typically always best to use a high quality paint. Even if that means paying a little more. It will result in a nice finish and less work in the long run.

Did you re-brush, r- roll or put on additional paint where the paint has partially dried? Well what did you think was going to happen if you ran that brush over that partially dry, sticky paint? It’s half dry, it can’t level out now, it doesn’t have enough time.

Were you using the recommended roller cover or brush? Let’s say you were using a roller nap that was longer than recommended. The nap or pile refers to the fabric of the roller cover. Maybe you used a 20mm instead of a 10mm. Well there's your answer; too long of a nap (and I'm not talking about the 20 minute of z's you snuck after lunch) for the product and surface equals roller marks.

Next time please use the recommended application tools. Your local paint store can help you find the right tools for the job. Or contact us at L.A. Design Centre and we’ll help you out.

Applying paint too thin or working the paint too much during application can leave you with brush and roller marks as well. “Working” the paint means applying it to rapidly or for to long. You really don’t need to roll that same small section for 3 minutes. And I strongly suggest not trying to get that last 20 square feet done with only 10 square feet worth of paint.

It could also be your surface and not your tools or technique that’s the problem. If you’re coating a very porous surface that could cause these unsightly marks. Make sure you prime if you need to, that’ll help. Or if your surface is hot or in direct sunlight then the paint is going to dry too fast for it to have time to level out. You guessed it, that’s going to result in brush or roller marks.

Time to fix the issue.

person sanding brush marks on a yellow wall
Sanding is the only way to get rid of brush and roller marks.

Now that we know the whys and you’ve learned what NOT to do, let’s fix the issue.

The only way to fix it is to let it dry thoroughly, make sure it’s clean, sand it smooth and repaint.

The second time around keep the ‘what not to do’ in mind, follow good painting practices, and follow the instructions on the label and data sheet. You can usually get data sheets online or from the place you purchased the product. If you need to do touch ups, make sure that your new coat of paint is completely dry.

Well folks, that concludes Season One of Paint Problems. We hope it's been helpful, informative and left you a little more confident than you were. Remember, surface preparation is key, use the proper equipment, consider your conditions, follow the instructions and ask your local paint dealer for recommendations. And you can always contact me at L.A. Design Centre for advice. Do this and you'll be fine.

See you next season. And until then...

Happy Painting!!

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