Top 5 Things That Make Your Painter Look Bad That Are ACTUALLY Not His/Her Fault…

Just Add Paint Wallpaper stripping

Top 5 Things That Make Your Painter Look Bad That Are ACTUALLY Not His/Her Fault…

We hear it almost every day. Someone is always blaming someone else for their mistakes –  and painters in Mechanicsburg, PA are no exception! This scenario typically raises alarms that the person doing the blaming is the one who is actually at fault, and 98% of the time this is true. HOWEVER, in some very rare cases, there are circumstance beyond our control that can make us look bad that are NOT our fault. Please fasten your seat belts and ride along with me while we examine The Top 5 Things That Make Your Painter Look Bad That ACTUALLY Not His/Her Fault. (Drum roll please)…


5) Wallpaper glue hidden under paint: This is one of my personal LEAST favorite scenarios on the list, and also one of the most common. Imagine if you will, that you have just moved into a “new to you” home that has been freshly made over with white paint that you would like to Just Add Paint colors to. Your painter comes in and adds 2 coats of a high quality finish, and when it dries you are able to see what appears to be translucent drips/streaks running down the wall that worsen with humidity. This scenario is all too common, especially in bathrooms where showers and sinks are in use daily.  What could possibly be causing this strange, sticky resin to leach to the top of your freshly painted walls? You guessed it, wallpaper glue. The cause? The previous homeowner removed the wallpaper from his walls and did not seal the glue residue in properly. This was hidden by the flat, high hiding paint on top – but moisture from the fresh coats of paint caused this sticky paste to reactivate and leach through the surface. Perhaps this paste residue was left there unintentionally (paint and primer in one can be confusing because, despite the title, this is the WRONG type of primer for sealing in wallpaper paste residue), or maybe he or she was hoping the walls would hold just long enough to get the sale before anyone noticed.  Either way, this will make your painter look really bad despite them coming in and doing the job as requested. The solution? Lightly sand walls, seal with oil-based or shellac-based primer, and start over.

Just Add Paint, Painters in Camp Hill, PA

Just Add Paint finds Sticky Residue on Bathroom Walls

4) Caulk cracked out within a year of paint job: We get calls about this ALOT (regarding other painter’s work of course…). A family will fly south for warmer weather over the winter and come home to a house that has caulk cracked out everywhere. The conversation usually goes like this:

Just Add Paint – “Mr. Harshbarger, what temperature did you set your thermostat to while you were away?”                                                                                                                                                                              Mr. Harshbarger – “50 degrees”.

Paint products work best in houses that are kept at a consistent year-round temperature. This is actually a pretty easy fix as caulk can be cut out and reapplied in a short amount of time. But if you want to make sure your paint stays fully intact and maintenance-free, Just Add Paint suggests you consider keeping your house at a fixed temperature year round. One other thing we like to do to prevent this type of issue is to use elastomeric caulk. This caulk has the ability to flex with your walls more than the standard, and is well worth the extra $1 for peace of mind.

Just Add Paint caulking in Mechanicsburg, PA

Cracked out caulk, most likely due to customer turning of the heat over the winter.

3) Wall imperfections that become more visible after walls are painted:  To be clear, there are several steps ALL painters should take before adding any material to walls. Walls should be pole sanded, de-greased if necessary, patched, caulked at the baseboards, and in some cases, primed. HOWEVER, sometimes, there is no combination of these standard steps that can make walls look the way we would like. The best example of this I can think of is in new construction, when we get called in to paint custom colors over a builders grade white. Homeowners don’t always realize that this paint is used not only because it is CHEAP, but also because it hides imperfections incredibly well. The flat paint doesn’t reflect any light at all, and makes it nearly impossible to see certain problems. In some cases the problems won’t even exist until the walls are painted. The 2 best examples I can think of are shoddy finish work on drywall seams  and nail pops. With the first example, drywall workers can get lazy – or in many cases simply run out of time trying to keep up with a builders schedule, which can lead to a less than perfect drywall seam. Often a seam can look passable with the builders grade paint, but once paint with more color or sheen is applied, the problems quickly become apparent. Sadly the only solution to this one (aside from feathering out all the seams in question) is to stick to flat paint and lighter colors that will not accentuate the flaws int he wall. Flat paint will not be as durable as an eggshell or satin, but the trade off of not having to stare at bad seams all day is often a good one. With nail pops, often they are not covered with enough spackle and/or have air pockets around the nail/screw, and painting them will cause the area around them to swell up. Once again, NOT OUR FAULT, but an easy fix by hammering the nail into the wall or screwing the screw in further with a drill, and then spackling over top.

2) Wallpaper, wallpaper, wallpaper: Where to begin? I will keep this one as short and sweet as possible. We have no idea whatsoever about the type of adhesive that was used to put up the wallpaper in your home. Maybe the walls were prepared properly with sizing, maybe the adhesive used to install the paper was the right stuff, and maybe the walls underneath the paper are in immaculate condition. MORE OFTEN – the walls were NOT prepared correctly and may not have even been painted, the glue used was something non-standard and/or too much or too little was used, and the walls underneath were covered up for a darn good reason (cracked plaster I am looking at you! AND 2nd layer of wallpaper I’m looking at you too!)  What can be done to deal with these horrifying wallpaper issues? When conditions are just right we can occasionally use a technique to seal the paper to the wall and paint over it. I would not have recommend attempting to try this before shellac-based primer became mainstream, but it can work miracles in scenarios where paper is stubborn and damaging walls on the way down. One other thing Just Add Paint does is always bill wallpaper removal as straight time and material. This keeps the price limited to charging for only the exact amount of work we do. When writing up a BID for paper removal, one must assume he or she could run into problems and pad the bill for such situations. Time and materials billing keeps things honest.

House painting trends removing wallpaper in Harrisburg, PA

Just Add Paint Removing Wallpaper in Harrisburg, PA

1) Oops, the paint manufacturer changed the paint formula and forgot to tell anyone:  Yes, this actually happens regularly. Reducing the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in paint has been a great thing for the lungs of both professional painters and homeowners alike, but it has NOT been of any help at all to being able to purchase products and expect consistency. Sherwin Williams, Behr, Valspar – all of the main brands and manufacturers are being forced to make their paints more environmentally safe, and this comes at a cost of loss of quality. That being said, manufacturers have been working at this for many years and the learning curve has become quicker for them. But we have experienced diminished results in sheen levels, coverage, durability, odor, and consistency in most of our favorite brands paint in the last few year – almost 100% of which have come without warning. Our typical process for discovering issues with paint is: Apply paint to the wall, notice something looks and/or smells “off”. Maybe we had to put a 3rd coat of paint on walls that would normally require 2 throughout and entire house. We then call our local store to see if they know of any change (the answer is almost always “no”),  and proceed to call our regional rep from the manufacturer who usually “has not heard anything about it”. From there we will receive a call later that day or the next day saying the bar code/serial number changed so there must have been a formula change. Coincidentally these formula changes are also one of the many reasons that touch up paint bought at a later date does not usually match in. From there it is up to us to find a different product that has the characteristics we are looking for, and all of this comes at the expense of the painter.

Confused by unannounced paint formula change

Confused by unannounced paint formula change.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Professional painters take responsibility for everything that goes on during the painting process in your home. Even the most educated and up to date of us sometimes get blindsided by circumstance that are beyond our control. We are dedicated to doing whatever we can to fix these situations and make them right. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it! For more articles like this one please visit us at and find/like us Facebook at .

One response to “Top 5 Things That Make Your Painter Look Bad That Are ACTUALLY Not His/Her Fault…”

  1. Grant says:

    Excellent and informative article!

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