Painting over Patchy Paint – Possible? What Do You Need to Know?

Are you asking whether painting over patchy paint is possible? Yes, it is. However, since you don’t want to end up with unpleasant results again, there are a few things you need to know before you paint over the patchy paint.

First, patchy paint is already a sign you went wrong somewhere during your painting journey. For instance, the patchy paint could be due to poor surface preparation, use of low-quality paint or painting applicator, or not following the manufacturer’s instructions on painting technique.

Secondly, it is possible to fix the patchy paint problem. But, to fix the patchy paint issue, you don’t need to repaint the entire walls. Sometimes you only need to touch up the unevenly painted areas. Importantly, you need to repaint correctly to avoid the same problem of patchy paint recurring.

In this post, you will learn all you need to know when painting over patchy paint. Although painting over patchy paint may seem daunting, it is possible with the proper preparation and technique. Therefore, whether your existing paint is patchy or simply uneven, you can achieve a smooth and even finish with a few simple hacks.

What Caused Patchy Paint

Usually, patchy paint is not your expected result. But, since it happened, there must be reasons why the paint became patchy. Importantly, you should address these issues before repainting to ensure a smooth and even finish. You should ensure proper surface preparation, use high-quality paint, and allow adequate drying time to help prevent patchiness.

Now the following are some of the common causes of patchy paint you should be aware of:

  • Poor surface preparation. If the paint was applied directly on an uneven and maybe dirty or dusty surface, then the paint might not adhere uniformly to the surface. This can be the cause of patchiness.
  • Uneven application. If the paint is not applied evenly, where some areas have a thick layer of paint than others, it can lead to patchiness.
  • Inadequate drying time.If the paint is not given enough time to dry before recoating, it can lead to unevenness.
  • Poor quality paint. Using low-quality paint can result in patchiness. Poor-quality paint may not have the same consistency or coverage as higher-quality paint.

Factors to consider when painting over patchy wall

When painting over a patchy wall, you should consider several factors to achieve the best possible results. Importantly, you should pay close attention to each aspect for the best results. The following are the key considerations:

  • The nature of the surface

Is the surface smooth and even, or does it has holes and cracks? This is essential information you need to gather before you begin painting. Therefore, look closely at the surface you will be repainting. Is it smooth and even, or are there still rough spots or bumps? If the surface is not smooth, you may need sanding and cleaning before repainting.

  • Surface preparation

Is the patchy surface ready to receive paint? If it’s not fit to be painted the way it is, properly preparing the wall surface is crucial before painting. Sand the surface lightly to create a smooth and even surface. Also, if there are any cracks or holes in the wall, fill them with the suitable filler and let it dry completely before sanding again. After you have attained an even surface, clean it with soap and water to remove dirt or debris.

  • Primer

If you have sanded the patchy paint surface, you may need to apply a coat of primer before painting to ensure proper adhesion and a smooth finish. Therefore, you need to consider the kind of primer you need, whether it’s the recommended one for the paint you use.

  • Paint quality and color

The quality of the paint you choose is essential. A higher quality paint will provide better coverage, and durability, producing a beautiful paint finish. Therefore, select a paint appropriate for the surface you are painting.

Also, when painting over a patchy wall, you should pay attention to the color of the paint. You should choose a color that blends well with the existing paint color.

  • Paint application technique

The method you choose to use when painting affects the final result. You should be good at the painting method and have the correct application tools to prevent patchy appearance from recurring. For best results, use even strokes and apply the paint in thin layers. Also, you should allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next one.

  • Weather

It’s essential to consider the weather when repainting. Usually, high humidity or temperature fluctuations affect the drying time of the paint. Therefore, if possible, aim to paint in moderate temperatures and humidity levels for the best results. However, if painting under extreme weather conditions is unavoidable, use the recommended types of paint and allow the paint more drying time before the next coat.

Painting over Patched Paint Best Practices

While painting over patchy paint may seem an easy task that you can do, it’s not always the case. To achieve the best results, you must do it professionally and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Notably, you can still paint your house even as a beginner. However, you must consider all necessary details, including high-quality tools. The following are some of the best practices.

1) Surface Preparation

The first step in painting patchy paint is appropriately preparing the surface. Before painting over patchy paint, it is essential to prepare the surface properly. This entails removing loose paint, sanding the surface to create a smooth finish, and cleaning the area thoroughly. Notably, depending on the severity of the patchiness, you may need to use a paint scraper to remove the old paint altogether. After you’ve removed any loose paint, you should sand the surface to create a smooth and even base for your new coat of paint.

Usually, proper surface preparation guarantees the best possible results since the patchiness could sometimes be due to poor surface preparation. For instance, uneven or damaged underlying surfaces can cause patchy paint. Therefore, it is essential to address that issue before applying a new coat of paint.

Notably, after removing the loose paint and sanding, you should clean the surface. Remove all the dust and dirt from the surface. Dirt affects the adhesion of your new paint hence cleaning the surface is crucial. You can use clean water and soap to clean the surface or a specialized cleaning detergent. After cleaning, allow the surface to dry completely before you begin painting.

2) Choosing the Right Paint

Choose the correct type of paint for the surface you are painting. It’s essential to choose the right kind of paint for your project when painting over patchy paint. For instance, if you’re painting over oil-based paint, you’ll need paint that is specifically compatible with this paint. Also, choosing a suitable primer is essential as it enhances the adherence of the stain to the surface.

Importantly, you should choose a paint suitable for the surface you’re painting. For instance, the paint used for external surfaces may not suit internal surfaces. Also, if you’re painting a bathroom or kitchen, you’ll want to choose a paint that’s stain-resistant and durable. On the other hand, if you’re painting a high-traffic area, you’ll want to select a paint resistant to scuffing and fading.

Therefore, make sure you choose the appropriate paint for the surface you will paint that matches the space’s lighting and decor too.

3) Applying the Paint

Sometimes, patchy paint occurs when you apply paint thinly, unevenly, and unprofessionally. But, with the correct painting technique, painting over patchy paint can result in a beautiful, smooth, and even finish. Therefore, you should use proper painting techniques for a professionally painted finish look. One of the best painting techniques entails using a paintbrush in long, smooth strokes, especially along the edges. For large, even surfaces, you can use a roller to apply the paint.

Notably, depending on the type of paint you’re using and the thickness, you may need to apply two or more coats to achieve the desired finish. Notably, between the coats, allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.

Also, always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying paint and use recommended high-quality brushes and rollers. Cheap tools or not following the manufacturer’s instructions may result in brush or roller marks, which can be challenging to cover up.


After reading through this post, it’s evident that it’s possible to paint over patchy paint. You only need to analyze the cause of patchy paint, consider all the factors that affect paint, and follow best practices, to successfully repaint over patched paint and achieve a smooth and even paint finish.

Lastly, although painting over patchy paint may seem daunting, with the proper surface preparation and painting techniques, it’s possible. Therefore, start by analyzing the surface, preparing it properly, choosing the right paint, and using the proper methods to apply it. Be patient and pay attention to detail, and you will definitely achieve a flawless finish and transform your space into something beautiful.