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How to Fix & Prevent Paint Lap Marks

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  Lap marks appear where wet and dry painted areas overlap.
            (Photo courtesy of The Paint Quality Institute)

Lap marks appear as denser colour or an increased gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application.

Keeping a wet edge is the key to avoiding lap marks. Paint quickly enough so the paint being applied can seamlessly flow in to the just-applied paint.

What Causes Lap Marks?

  • Letting areas dry before the applying paint to adjacent areas, causing overlapping edges
  • Using poor-quality paints that are high in solid pigments
  • Painting a porous or warm wall that makes the paint dry too quickly

How to Prevent Lap Marks

  • Paint in small enough sections to maintain a wet edge
  • Apply paint toward the unpainted area and then back into the just-painted surface. This technique (brushing or rolling from "wet to dry" rather than vice versa) will produce a smooth, uniform appearance.
  • Plan breaks at natural interruptions such as a window, door, or corner
  • Using a top-quality acrylic latex paint
  • If the substrate is very porous, apply a primer or sealer to prevent paint from drying too quickly

Note: Alkyd paints generally have superior wet-edge properties.

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