Hoping someone can help me here. I’ve researched this to death and I can’t figure out what’s happening.

I painted my walls recently and the results are amateur at best. Head on they look fine but from the side, especially when light hits it, awful.

I did patch some nail holes with spackle and sanded with a 220 grit sponge. Prior to paint, I applied two coats of primer. I sanded the second coat of primer and then started to paint.

I painted in three foot wide sections with a 3/8 nap 9” roller, making sure to get full coverage before moving on. I kept a wet edge and used light even pressure. I waited 2 hours per manufacturer recommendation before a second coat.

The results are shoddy at best, which is frustrating because I feel I did my research and took my time.

Here’s a photo of the final result, fully dry: enter image description here

  • 1
    Do you have a humidity or moisture problem in your house? Dec 10, 2023 at 19:41
  • In the summer I definitely run a dehumidifier. I should not that it’s a finished basement; I never considered the humidity being an issue in the colder months
    – Steve
    Dec 16, 2023 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


If we assume that you purchased new, correctly mixed paint therefore the paint itself was not a bad batch or bad mix, then the most straightforward explanation is improper drying/curing. What you have here looks like surfactant leaching.

This usually happens in houses when the humidity or moisture in the air is too high for the paint to cure completely, and the excess moisture causes the surfactant to leach out of the mixed paint. I think this is most common in bathrooms that get used too soon before the paint has been allowed to cure completely.

This could be an indication that the room or house has an indoor climate problem. It looks like an exterior wall -- wonder if you have moisture behind the drywall.

  • This is a finished basement, and I will run a dehumidifier in the summer. I never even considered humidity being an issue in the cooler months. But knowing the humidity can be an ‘issue’ here, it makes sense. Thanks for the input!
    – Steve
    Dec 16, 2023 at 16:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.