How to Fix Patchy Paint on Walls? Our Tricks and Methods

No matter how experienced and careful you are when painting, you will likely make mistakes and sometimes get patchy paint on walls. But when you get patchy paint, you don’t have to worry. In this post, you will learn about the tricks and methods of fixing patchy paint on walls in case it occurs.

Usually, painting your home is one of the most cost-effective and highly recommended ways to give your living space a fresh look. However, patchy paint on walls may occur when the paint doesn’t adhere uniformly to the wall.

Notably, to fix the problem, you don’t have to remove and repaint the entire walls. Based on the specific cause of the uneven paint, you can touch up the few affected spots and make the painting uniform and beautiful. Repainting the entire should be the last decision only when the entire wall is patchy.

10 Tricks and Methods of Fixing a patchy paint

Patchy paint on a wall is one of the common painting challenges. Sometimes, patchy paint on walls occurs, even when the most experienced painters do the work. But, in case it happens, you can fix it. Below are some of the most effective ways to repair patchy paint on walls and restore your walls to their former glory.

Following each step below, your new paint should blend well with the existing patchy paint and look perfect.

1) Identify the Cause of the Patchy Paint

The first step in fixing patchy paint is identifying the cause. This is important because after identifying the root cause, you can choose a suitable method to correct the mistake. Usually, there are several reasons why paint may appear patchy. Therefore, identify the root cause, then begin to address the issue.

For instance, if the patchy paint on the walls was due to poor quality paint, you may be required to prepare the entire area for repainting. However, if the patchy paint on the walls was due to uneven painting, which is common, especially when it’s a DIY project, then you can follow the steps below to correct the imperfection.

2) Sand the Patchy Areas

If the patchy paint is due to uneven texture, use sandpaper to smooth the surface. Sand the area lightly until it’s even with the rest of the wall. Sanding the patchy areas is the second step. You should sand the surface to create a smooth surface to receive paint. Wipe away any dust with a clean cloth. Use a sanding block or sandpaper to gently rub the affected area until the stain is smooth and even. After sanding, clean the area with a damp cloth before proceeding to the next step.

3) Prepare and Clear the Area Around the Walls You are Painting

Cover the floor and any furniture in the room with a drop cloth. You can use a drop cloth to protect the surrounding surfaces from paint splatters. Also, you can remove any electrics, lightweight fixtures, and other movable items to ensure the area is clear and you can paint without obstructions.

4) Use High-Quality Paint

One of the most common causes of patchy paint is poor quality paint. If you use cheap, low-quality paint, it’s likely the cause of patchiness. Therefore, to ensure a smooth and even finish, invest in high-quality paint from a reputable brand.

Importantly, ensure the paint you choose matches the existing paint. Use paint with the same color and sheen to match the existing paint.

5) Choose the suitable paint applicator

Since you are not repainting your entire house afresh but correcting the patchy paint, you need to use at least similar tools to the ones you used to paint the old patchy paint. But, if you can’t access the applicator you used, you can use small rollers or brushes for the job. The small applicator tools are a suitable choice because they are to use and control, and you can easily ensure precision.

6) Apply Primer

Before applying a fresh coat of paint, it’s essential to use a high-quality primer on the patchy areas. Primer acts as a base coat and helps the new paint adhere to and blend well.

Therefore, apply a thin coat of primer to the affected area. Before proceeding to the next step, allow the primer to dry completely.

7) Prepare the paint

Preparing the paint is essential. You should mix the paint thoroughly before use. Notably, you can mix it manually or use a power drill mixer.

Also, if the paint is thick and difficult to apply, you can use a suitable thinning solvent to ensure it is easy to apply and blends well with the wall when painting.

You can choose the thinning solvent based on that type of paint. For instance, you can use water to thin latex paint and mineral spirits or turpentine for oil-based paints. When thinning your paint, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Notably, thinning the paint will lighten the paint color; hence you need to test it on a small area before using it.

8) Apply Paint

Using the suitable paint applicator, apply the paint in long, even strokes, starting from the middle of the patchy spots outwards. Importantly, apply enough paint to cover the patchy area and avoid over-applying. Over-applying the new paint can result in drips and runs.

Also, after applying the paint in thin, even coats, let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. In most cases, you may need to use at least two coats to achieve the desired paint color finish. Therefore, allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat. For intense color, you can use more coats to achieve the desired color.

9) Blend the Edges

To avoid a noticeable border between the patchy area and the rest of the wall, use a small brush to feather the edges of the new paint into the old paint. This will create a smooth transition between the two areas painted at different times.

Notably, blending the edges is essential if the patchy area you are touching up is in a prominent place that is exposed. Therefore, you should carefully blend the edges of the new paint and match the surrounding area. Use the brush to create a seamless transition and prevent the patchy area from standing out.

10) Allow the Paint to Dry

Once you’ve finished painting, allow the new paint to dry completely. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours before removing the protective coverings from the floor or furniture. If you begin using the space too soon, you risk damaging the fresh paint. This can ruin your hard work, and you must redo the painting work.

However, drying time can vary depending on temperature, humidity, and the type of paint used. It’s essential to check the paint tin for the manufacturer’s instructions on specific drying times and follow them accordingly.

Common causes of Patchy Paint on Walls

Patchy paint on walls occurs due to a variety of reasons, such as;

  • Dirty and dusty surface: If the wall was not properly cleaned before painting, the paint might not adhere evenly to the surface, causing patchy areas.
  • Inadequate paint coverage:If the paint is applied too thinly or unevenly, it can result in patchy areas that are not adequately painted.
  • Different paint sheen levels: If different paint sheen is used on the same wall, it may appear patchy.
  • Short drying time:If the paint is not allowed to dry properly between coats, and the second coat is applied too soon, it may result in patchy areas.
  • Uneven wall texture: If the wall is rough or not sanded adequately before painting, the paint can fail to adhere correctly to the surface, causing patchy spots.
  • Moisture damage:If the wall has been exposed to moisture due to pipe leaks and dampness, it may cause patches to appear.

How to Prevent Patchy Paint on Walls

While fixing patchy paint on walls is straightforward, as we have seen above, it is crucial to avoid patchy or uneven paint altogether. You will save time and the cost you would incur fixing the patchy paint. But how can you prevent patchy paint on walls?

Mainly, to prevent patchy paint on walls, it’s essential to properly prepare the surface, use high-quality paint, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times. Ensure the surface is clean and dry, ready for painting.

However, if patchy paint does occur, even after taking all the precautionary measures, it may be necessary to sand and reapply the paint to achieve a smooth, even finish.


Although having patchy paint on walls can be a frustrating issue, it’s not impossible to fix. Following the tips and methods outlined above, you can quickly restore your walls to their former glory and enjoy a paint finish.

Therefore, when fixing the patchy paint on walls problem, try first to identify the root cause, sand the affected area, and proceed to the next patchy paint repairing steps as discussed above.