There is nothing worse than applying a fresh coat of paint, letting it dry, and opening the curtains the following morning to reveal unseemly paint roller marks! It looks especially unprofessional on the walls of a public space or business. Unfortunately, paint roller marks are just part of the DIY painting project life—the good news is that it’s an easy fix!
Read on to learn more about paint roller marks and how to fix them!
What Are Paint Roller Marks?
Let’s start out by defining exactly what paint roller marks are. Broadly, paint roller marks are any imperfections on a painted surface that result from misusing a paint roller. Two common ones are raised edges and paint streaks.
What Causes Paint Roller Marks?
It might feel natural to blame paint roller marks on the quality of the paint or paint roller you’re using. While in some cases that might be true, you should first consider where you might be erring before blaming the materials you’re using—if only because it’s cheaper than running out to replace your tools and paint!
Raised edges are mostly caused by pressing an overloaded paint roller too forcibly against the wall you intend to paint. The excess paint will be squeezed to either end of the paint roller and create a build up, which hardens into a raised edge along the entire path of the paint roller on which you applied too much force.
Paint streaks are just what they sound like—recognizable streaks of paint on a surface that should look uniform. Paint streaks happen when uneven layers of paint are applied side by side, or perhaps on top of each other. Usually this happens when you continue to use a roller that has dried up without re-dipping it in fresh paint soon enough. As you might imagine, paint applied with a dryer paint roller leaves a lighter coat than the paint applied with a fully imbued roller.
Why Use a Roller?
By this point you might be asking yourself the following question: if DIY projects commonly result in paint roller marks, why continue using paint rollers?
While it’s a fair question, paint rollers still remain one of the most helpful paint application tools. For starters, they hold more paint than a paintbrush, which allows you to do a more efficient and timely paint job. Secondly, they’re great to paint large areas: could you imagine painting an entire wall with a paintbrush?
How to Fix Paint Roller Marks
So you’ve painted your large wall with a paint roller, and now that the paint has dried, you’ve noticed unseemly paint roller marks. Now what? As mentioned earlier, it’s a very quick fix!
Before you decide your plan of attack, it’s important to identify exactly what kind of paint roller marks they are, because each has a different solution. While you strategize, wait for the paint to dry completely.
Then, no matter what kind of marks they are, you should tag the areas you want to fix, so that if you take a break in the middle of the job it won’t take you half an hour to find the marking again when you come back! You should use small pieces of painter’s tape, whose adhesive comes off without ruining the surface it adhered to.
How to Fix Paint Roller Raised Edges
As alluded to above, raised edges is really just the accumulation of extra paint in the shape of a raised, thin line. So really all you need to do is sand it down to the same thickness of the surrounding coats of paint!
To do this, use a fine-grit sandpaper (120-150 grit) to sand the edges until flat. Be careful not to sand it too much, or else you’ll have to repaint it. Once you’ve sanded it flat, use a wet sponge to clean the area of any paint dust, and voila!
How to Fix Paint Roller Streaks
If you can believe it, paint roller paint streaks are even easier to fix than paint roller raised edges. Usually a second or third coat should cover the flat, uneven paint streaks beneath—so just get back to painting, and this time pay more attention when your roller starts to dry!
How to Prevent Paint Roller Marks
In general, the best solution to paint roller marks is in fact preventing them to begin with, which you can do by following these simple painting tips:
- Make sure you’re starting with a perfectly smooth wall. This might mean sanding it before getting to the painting part!
- Keep your rollers clean between painting jobs, and check for lint or any other debris on your roller before starting a new paint project. Sometimes they’re to blame for weird streaks and marks!
- Paint an entire surface at once. If you absolutely have to take a break, do so only when you reach a natural transition in the surface you are painting, like an edge or a corner.
- Use a roller sized appropriately for the wall you’re painting. That means a big roller for a big wall, and a smaller roller for a small wall—don’t get ahead of yourself!
- Don’t let your paint roller go dry, but also don’t use too much paint. That coupled with too much pressure is what causes raised edges!
- Apply moderate, consistent pressure on the roller to avoid different thicknesses of paint strokes. That means don’t try to squeeze every last bit of paint from your roller with the idea that you’re saving paint—you’ll just end up wasting more paint when you have to go back and repaint the streaks!
- Overlap every new stroke of paint with the previous stroke of paint just a little bit. This helps blend in the edges between strokes and avoid paint roller marks.
- Roll your roller as close to the ceiling and floor (whose edges you will have painted earlier with a smaller paintbrush) as possible to make the two different paint applications blend together.
Recommended Products for Fixing and Preventing Paint Roller Marks
Here are some affordable products I recommend for fixing and preventing paint roller marks:
Wrapping Up Paint Roller Marks
Hopefully this article has inspired you to start your own DIY paint projects, and feel comfortable preventing and/or fixing the paint roller marks that might result from it. Want more painting content? Check out our paint blog to learn more about other potential paint problems and their solutions.
I’ve been a professional painter since 2001 and spent the last 12 years specializing in kitchen cabinet refinishing. I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves. In 2019 I started the DIY Painting Tips Youtube channel where I publish in depth videos all about kitchen cabinet painting, painting gear reviews, and interior/exterior tutorials.