How to Paint Walls Without Streaks

Andrew Smith

Painting your walls can be a great way to redecorate your room, or simply give it a new and clean look. One problem many amateur painters encounter when painting their walls is streaks. These streaks make the wall look unfinished and sloppily painted.

There are a few reasons you may encounter streaks when painting your walls, but by following these tips, you should be able to eliminate the problem.

  1. Put paint on your roller evenly and with decent coverage. There should not be paint dripping from the roller before you begin painting your walls. To avoid this, simply roll off any excess into the grid in the paint tray.

  2. Visualize the area of the wall you're about to paint. Only attempt to cover a small amount of the wall at any one time. A 3-by-3 inch box is good to start with.

  3. Place the roller sideways in the top left corner of your imaginary box. You will actually begin painting the area side to side, not up and down, as you may have thought.

  4. Go from side to side, making a zigzag motion while rolling the paint in your imaginary box on the wall. Your first motion will be a straight side-to-side motion from one end of your box to the other. Without lifting your roller at all, pull (or push, depending on what hand you're using) the brush in the opposite direction and down. Go down far enough that you're only overlapping your previous stroke about 1/2 inch to 1 inch. Continue using this zigzag motion until you get to the bottom of your box. Once you do, go sideways and up the box in the same manner. Do this until you once again reach the top of the box.

  5. Place your roller in the top right corner of the box and in the normal, vertical position. Pull the roller straight down to the bottom right corner of the box, then paint the wall with the same zigzag motion you used in the previous step. Again, you will be going up and sideways and down and sideways. Once you get to the end of your box, go back in the opposite direction. This is how you will ensure that there are no unpainted or uneven areas in the imaginary box.

  6. Move on to a spot right next to (or below, or above) the area you just painted. Repeat each of the above steps for that imaginary box.

  7. Tip

    Make sure the paint is mixed properly before applying each coat. This is another way you can prevent streaks. Be prepared to paint several coats. For lighter colors, two to three may be enough to eliminate any streaks. When using darker colors, though, you may need four to six coats.

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