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Lap Marks

Learn how to fix and prevent lap marks by keeping a “wet edge” while painting from Benjamin Moore.

Lap marks appear as denser color or an increased gloss where wet and dry layers overlap during paint application. Keeping a “wet edge” is the key to avoiding lapping paint. While painting, you need to move quickly enough so the paint being applied can seamlessly flow in to the just-applied paint.



What Causes Lap Marks?

Lap marks while painting can occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Letting areas dry before the applying paint to adjacent areas, causing overlapping edges
  • Using poor-quality paints
  • Painting a porous wall that makes the paint dry too quickly
  • Painting in direct sunlight or too much wind
  • Not applying the recommended wet film thickness from the paint manufacturer



How to Prevent Lap Marks

Take the following steps to prevent lap marks:

  • Paint in manageable area sizes to maintain a “wet edge,” i.e.: 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.
  • Make sure you are using enough paint, especially when using a roller.
  • Plan breaks at natural interruptions such as a window, door, or corner. Cut into those areas with a brush while wall paint is still wet.
  • Use a top-quality acrylic latex paint, as higher solids in the paint can make lapping less noticeable.
  • If the substrate is very porous, apply a primer or sealer to seal the surface and create uniform porosity. This will help prevent paint from drying too quickly.
  • Use high-quality painting tools.

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