How to Avoid These House Painting Disasters

House painting disasters can turn your quick project into a long, complicated process. While it can be humorous after the fact, painting mishaps can quickly grow frustrating. You want your home to look welcoming, and the right paint job can increase your home’s value.

When painting your San Rafael home, whether its interior or exterior, there are a number of important details to ensure a quality paint job.

Know Your House Painting Project

Perhaps the most important way to avoid a house painting disaster is to know exactly what you’re preparing to do. Painting can quickly become much more complicated than originally anticipated, in part due to space constraints, desired color combinations, and time commitment.

Painting your home’s interior or exterior is not a time to take shortcuts, because that will reflect in the finished product. It may not show the shortcut now, but it will in time. If you want to extend the lifespan of your project, you’ll want to take the time to prepare well.

If you want to refinish your kitchen cabinets, but haven’t tried the process before, you’ll want to do some research. Refinishing kitchen cabinets can be an involved and labor-intensive process, so you’ll want to make sure you’re up to the challenge before beginning.

Choosing Flat Instead of Gloss Paint

A paint’s finish is as important as its color. If you choose a flat finish instead of a gloss, your space may look off. A gloss paint finish is a popular choice for doors and trim, while a flat paint finish is often used on walls, both interior and exterior.

Balancing paint finishes can make a big difference in your house painting adventure, even though the changes are subtle. When finding the right paint finish for your home, it’s important to consider how the space will be used.

  • A flat finish is non-reflective and helps hide blemishes. It’s an ideal choice for adult bedrooms, ceilings, and living spaces.
  • A satin finish offers a slight gloss and will look richer than a flat finish. It works best in high-traffic spaces like hallways, children’s bedrooms, and family rooms.
  • A semi-gloss finish paint has a durable finish, which means it’s a great choice for frequently cleaned areas like the kitchen or bedroom. It can also work well for closet doors and trim.
  • A gloss finish is lustrous and durable, and works best on wood trim, cabinets, and doors.

Other paint finishes are pearl, flat enamel, matte, eg-shel, low-lustre, and medium-lustre.

Creating a mix of these paint finishes can give your home a refined finished look before bringing in your furniture and décor. Instead of spending the time and money correcting this issue, always double check your paint cans before purchasing.


Choosing the Wrong Color

Choosing the wrong color is a common apprehension among homeowners, especially since it can be hard to translate a small paint swatch into a large space. It can be tempting to reach for a bold color in your living room, or a bright color for your home’s exterior, but it can quickly turn into a house painting disaster.

Instead, consider purchasing test cans of your colors. These small cans have enough paint to cover part of your wall or door. This gives you an idea of what you can expect when the full area is painted, before investing in enough paint to cover the area.

It’s important to remember that colors will appear differently when dry, as well as throughout the day. You may love how the bold blue front door looks in the early morning, but not during the day.

Testing your paint can help remove this variable, as you have a chance to observe the color throughout the day and during different weather conditions.

And, remember that paint isn’t truly permanent. It may take extra effort to prep the area to paint again, but it is possible to repaint. If you think you made the wrong decision, remember to buy a can of test paint before painting it again.

Preparing the Area Incorrectly

Imagine a freshly painted wall that is just what you had pictured. But instead of the paint lasting a decade, it begins peeling a year later. What went wrong? Incorrectly preparing the area can lead to a diminished life span for the paint.

You want your paint job to last a long time, which means the preparation is just as important as application. When your walls are prepared well, your paint will look beautiful for years to come. But fail to prepare the area correctly, and your paint could begin peeling or bubbling much sooner.

Though your walls or cabinets may appear clean, failing to give it a proper cleaning can result in painting over dust and grime that will interfere with the paint’s adhesion. This is crucial in kitchens, where cooking grease and food splatters can build up over time, resulting in a layer of oil over the paint.

Preparing your walls, doors, or trim is crucial, and involves a few key steps:

  • Cover floors and all furniture. (If you haven’t moved the furniture to another room.)
  • Remove light switch and outlet covers.
  • Spackle any holes, and sand down when dry.
  • Remove flaking paint with a paint scraper, and smooth out small bumps with sandpaper.
  • Clean the walls with a damp sponge to remove dust.

Painting your home is more than applying the paint. When you prepare well, you’ll be happier with the result, instead of wishing for a do over.


Another important piece of preparation is planning for how you will care for your pets during the painting and drying process. There are many stories of pets walking through paint pans, rubbing up against wet paint, and causing general mischief you don’t want around your fresh paint job!

When preparing your space, whether it’s a living space, bathroom, or your home’s exterior, avoid a painting disaster by protecting your pets from the action. This could be keeping them in a different area of the house, or boarding them for a day.

If you’ve experienced one of these house painting disasters, you know that it can quickly become a stressful and time consuming experience. Instead of questioning paint finishes, color hues, and the correct way to prepare a wall, hand your project to an experienced team.

Not only do we have the painters, colorist, and project managers to ensure your project finishes on time and to your specifications, we also collectively have over 100 years of painting experience. We’ll ensure your San Rafael home painting project will last for years to come.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation house painting estimate to help save you from a painting disaster.