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Interior Painting Problems: Picture Framing or Hatbanding on Drywall

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Interior Painting Problems: Picture Framing or Hatbanding

Uneven color due to picture framing, or "hatbanding."                   (Photo: The Paint Quality Institute)

Darker or lighter areas where paint was cut in produce an effect known as "picture framing" or "hatbanding."

Corners, edges, and other areas that are cut-in with a brush can dry darker or lighter than the rest of the wall that was painted with a roller.

What Causes Hatbanding, or Picture Framing?

  • Heavier or lighter application of the paint when cutting in corners, trim, and ceiling areas.
  • Spraying versus brushing paint in tight areas.
  • Using a roller cover nap that is too long, which will produce a heavy texture.
  • Not maintaining a wet edge while painting.
  • Improperly mixing paint, causing it to not be uniform.

How to Prevent Hatbanding or Picture Framing on Drywall

  • Prime the drywall before painting.
  • Paint the corners and edges of one wall or section at a time, not the entire room, so that those areas will still be wet when you use a roller on the larger areas.
  • Cut in as narrow an area as needed with your brush, usually 1" to 2", and get your roller as close to the corners as possible.
  • Use the feather-edge brushing technique in corners or along edges.
  • For smooth surfaces such as drywall, use roller covers with naps ranging from ¼-inch to ½-inch, depending on the sheen of your finish coat.

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