5 Paint Errors That Can Make Your Walls Appear Grimy
By simply using the wrong type of paint or painting technique, you can give your walls a look that you may not want. To ensure a spotless finish, avoid these mistakes.
Particularly in spaces that see a lot of traffic, it can be a challenge trying to keep your walls clean of dust, dirt, scuffs and stains. While it’s true that washing your walls often can help keep spots and splatters away, the key to immaculate walls actually lies in the paint itself. There are specific colors, kinds of paint, and painting techniques that result in walls that look dirtier and are harder to clean. Here are five paint mistakes to avoid so that your walls look pristine and stay that way.
Too Light Paint Color
If dirty walls are a worry, then you might want to stay away from the paint color white, as it’s probably the least forgiving of them all. Light-colored walls in general tend to highlight any scuffs or stains. As an alternative, try to find a neutral paint color in a mid-tone so that any dirt or imperfections will be less obvious. For example, a warm greige is a smart pick to help keep smudges and fingerprints hidden in high-traffic spots like the kitchen or playroom. A cooler neutral will also provide the same benefits, but help keep the space feeling bright.
Using Inferior Paint
High-quality paint is an absolute must in order to achieve the cleanest-looking finish. Unfortunately, that may mean a bigger price tag. There’s a significant difference, for example, between a $20 can of paint and one that is $70. Paint quality will affect your final result, including performance, longevity and concealing imperfections. In spots where durability is paramount, like bathrooms or kitchens, it might be a good idea to invest in premium paint that provides better coverage and a finish that will last longer.
Hard-to-Wash Paint Sheen
Another factor that can have a huge effect on how clean your walls appear is a paint’s sheen, which is how reflective the finish looks on the wall. Glossier finishes are typically easier to clean because of their durability. This includes semi-gloss and high-gloss paints. In addition, a shinier surface holds up better against repeated cleanings, which means these sheens do well on kitchen cabinets and trim work. Alternatively, washing walls with a matte or flat sheen requires a delicate touch, as some cleaning products and aggressive scrubbing can harm the finish. These non-reflective paint finishes tend to work better in low-traffic spaces that won’t see very many marks or stains.
That being said, when it comes to hiding imperfections in the wall, like cracks, dents, holes or patches, glossy paint is less forgiving than non-reflective paint. Gloss finishes actually accentuate any blemishes in the wall, so you may want to avoid using them on spots that aren’t smooth. If your walls have imperfections you’d like to hide, a flatter finish will result in a cleaner look.
Poor Wall Prep
A crisp, clean finish can only be had when the walls have been properly prepped. This is non-negotiable, so skipping steps isn’t a good idea. The first step is cleaning the walls, which involves wiping them down with trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution so that all dust and dirt is removed before painting. Next, think about applying primer so that the paint adheres to the wall correctly. Primer is particularly important if you will be painting over surface stains or a darker color. Rolling on a base coat of primer helps neutralize whatever is below it so that the new paint can adhere to a clean surface.
Wrong Painting Tools
One single paint brush is not universal for all paint jobs. The tools you use can make the difference between a simple task that ends up looking fabulous and a difficult task that doesn’t look so hot when you’re done. For example, find out which brush or roller is recommended for the type of paint you’re using, as well as the type of surface you’re painting. Using the wrong type of brush or roller can produce results that you may not want, like an unintended texture. For the most part, smooth surfaces work best with rollers that have a thin nap, while rougher textures, like brick walls, require thicker rollers that hold more paint and can get into the nooks and crannies.