Emulsion paint drying patchy is a painter’s worst nightmare. By the point it’s come out patchy, you’ve probably bought the paint, prepped the surfaces and applied 2 or 3 coats. And for what? A terrible looking finish?
Whilst it’s hugely annoying to have finished the whole decorating process and have it look patchy, fortunately there are some solutions (which of course will involve more time and money sorry!)
But to ensure the emulsion paint doesn’t come out patchy again, it’s worth looking at some reasons as to why it might’ve in the first place. By identify the cause, you can avoid making the same mistake again.
Possible Cause #1: Poor Choice of Emulsion
The first, and one of the more common issues we tend to see, is that our clients have picked up cheap emulsion, slapped it on the walls and then realised their mistake.
Cheap emulsion from places like Wilko’s lacks the durability, consistency and opacity of premium brands and so usually take 4+ coats (even though they’ll say 2 is enough). If you use cheap paint and expect to get an opaque finish with no patches I’ve got some bad news for you.
Solution: it seems obvious, but you get what you pay for. Johnson’s Durable Matt is going to knock the socks off some bargain basement matt paint so going premium might seem like a steep option but you’ll be thankful later when you have a nice, patch-free finish.
Possible Cause #2: The Surface is Being Hit With Light From Too Many Directions
Another thing that causes the appearance of a patchy finish is when light is hitting the surface of your walls or ceilings from multiple directions. Some areas of your walls and ceilings might be getting more light than other parts and thus are reflecting more light. This patchiness is what we call in the trade ‘flashing’.
Solution: flashing is incredibly annoying but fortunately surfaces that are prone to this effect can be covered by Dulux Ultra Matt which should fix the patchiness. Dulux’s Ultra Matt is the best on the market with unique technology that ensures the surface doesn’t reflect any light at all.
Possible Cause #3: Bad Plastering
So you’ve used high quality paint and applied it like a pro but your emulsion is still looking patchy – what on earth is going on? Unfortunately, your walls or ceilings simply have bad plastering. Little bumps on the surface could well be creating shadows which is giving your emulsion a patchy look.
Solution: you can either use some Polyfilla to fill in any gaps or you can coat the entire wall, making sure you use extra where there are any bumps or cracks. This should give you a perfectly even and smooth surface with which to paint on.
Possible Cause #4: Inexperience
I’ve been called out to fix many DIY nightmares in my time and have seen plenty of patchy finishes. Many people don’t realise the skill that professional decorators have so when they start applying paint (often with the wrong roller type for emulsion) with poor technique there’s a good chance the finish isn’t going to be as perfect as you’d expect.
Solution: sometimes it’s better to leave this stuff to the professionals. If you have a patchy finish and want to get it fixed properly, use our free quote tool to get multiple quotes from highly experienced decorators in your area.