Illustration of a can of paint that has been run over, trailing paint across the page

5 Worst Painting Mistakes You Should Never Make

By Rick Watson

Someone asked me what are the worst painting mistakes you should never make. I came up with many, but these stuck out most.

1. Applying oil over latex paint

Never use oil paints on a surface previously painted with latex. Oil-based paints tend to get brittle as they age. Latex paints are typically soft and flexible. The movement of the latex underneath can cause premature failure of the oil topcoat. Cracking is the most common.

2. Skimping on surface prep

Never skimp on surface prep. Eighty-plus percent of most complaints are due to poor or lack of surface prep. Paints are made to go over clean, dry, dull and sound substrates.

3. Not using primers when needed

Primers are not always needed, but it is important to not skip this step when a primer is specified. Primers in most cases promote adhesion, or block stains, fill porous surfaces like concrete block, or resist alkali and efflorescence … and on and on.

Learn more about primers at the Sherwin-Williams contractor website

4. Using the wrong application tools

OK, so you bought the most expensive paint, but you are going to use the dollar-special roller cover to put it on. Bad idea. Cheap covers or brushes will cause top quality finishes to not hide as well. They show tracking, fuzz, streaks and brush marks. Match high quality finishes with quality tools. Using the recommended brush and roller from the manufacturer will give you the ideal finish. You will see a difference.

Check out your application options at the Sherwin-Williams contractor website

5. Over applying the product

Over brushing or rolling in most cases will cause poor hiding or stippling of the finish. Over applying the product can also cause severe stippling, dry time issues and even cracking of the paint film.

Get more information about concrete coatings and application at the Sherwin-Williams website.


This article was originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of PPC magazine. Rick Watson, Product Information, Sherwin-Williams, answers reader questions in the Ask Your ProPartner™ column of PPC magazine. Read more of Rick’s answers to contractor questions here.

Got a question not answered here? Stop by your local Sherwin-Williams store or contact your sales rep. They are trained to have the product knowledge and application expertise to help you solve your toughest coating problems. Find a store near you

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