Q & A Day – Repairing A Bad Paint Job

ImageHi Tim,

Ok, when we moved into our house, we repainted everything with the help of friends. Well, the friend who did the dining room did a TERRIBLE job.

It’s like she slopped the paint on there and then never actually rolled the roller back over it to smooth it out. And the drips….I won’t even discuss them.

I didn’t catch it in time to fix it immediately so now it’s just there, driving me crazy.

So, what’s the best way to fix this? Sandpaper blocks? I am planning to repaint in a few weeks and I would love to start working on these problem areas.

Heres’ the other part of the question. If I sand to fix this one area, do I now have to sand the entire wall?



Wow. Carrie!

Your question almost sent me to Google looking for the answer. That’s because I know you’ve got a challenge on your hands with this. I’ll do my best to sum-up what I think your options are and the things to be careful with.

Best Case Scenario — Peel Off The Nasty Parts

If you can grab hold of the paint by getting a screwdriver or razor behind it, you can try and peel off the runs and gobs. At that point you can sand the edges of the sections where the old paint remained. It’s not too hard to sand an edge where paint has been peeled, but it is a real mess to try and sand out large gobs of paint.

Here’s the issue: paint gets to be pretty much like rubber when it dries. You really can’t sand a clump of rubber. What ends up happening is that people start sanding and the offensive piece tears off. The danger is that you can ruin your wall texture sanding too hard. That’s why I suggest getting the worst off first, then lightly sanding the edges.

After that you can just apply another coat or two.

Worse Case Scenario — Skim the wall

This is probably radical and can’t possibly happen, BUT, if you ruin your texture trying to get the paint gobs off and you do that all over the whole wall (as opposed to just one spot) then you’ll have a problem trying to fix the texture. At that point it might be best to make the whole wall smooth again and start over!

You could always just go over it all with paneling!

To be honest, I’m having a tough time picturing your issue. I mean, how bad can it be? If it’s just a “normal” sloppy job, I think some detailed sanding and cutting away the messy paint in particular areas will do the trick. If you literally have a disaster over the whole wall…???


  1. says

    Boy does that ever sound EASY compared to what I had to deal with when I moved in my current house. The previous owners (friends of ours) decided to ‘splatter’ paint an entire room (floors, ceilings, ceiling fan, door, windows, etc.) as a ‘decorating’ scheme for their little boy. I was 9 months pregnant when I decided to try and turn it into a nursery. I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded. and then sanded some more. Then because it was a DEEP DARK blue they had used I put on 6 coats of primer/paint. It was horrendous. I still see some paint drips when the sun hits it the right way. I think your reader should count her blessings that this wasn’t done on purpose like mine was. Luckily we replaced the 80 year old windows!
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..Dog Food =-.

  2. Shelly says

    Being married to a General Contractor who has worked most trades, I can relate to this particular predicament. I don’t know how many times homeowners want their friends to be their “labor” to reduce costs and what really happens sometimes is a terrible job that needs to be redone. I think you’ve given good advice, Tim. Peel the big spots and lightly sand the edges. Good Luck and I hope Carrie’s friend never reads this post!

  3. says

    Splatter painting as “decorating scheme” is purely the work of satan. I had a situation that was my own fault….I let my now 15 yo daughter & ALL her friends write on her bedroom walls with sharpies…..you know…just until I got around to actually painting the room…..2 years later & 10 coats of primer it is looking pretty good but lesson learned.
    .-= Jalal´s last blog ..2010 =-.

  4. Marlene says

    Just had this room textured as part of a 7 year long remodel. I made a mess painting , some lines from the roller, some drips and run as well as alot of dust or particles in the paint. How do I fix this. I was told , might as well have taken a Shot gun to it..Even the best of intentions dont necessarily make it right. Signed Defeated

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