I just painted a wall and now that it is dry I can see roller marks. Not ridge lines where I got too much paint, but it looks like two different shades of the same color. What did I do to cause it and how can I prevent it?

  • 4
    How many coats? I'm guessing just one. That's why we put on more than one coat of paint. Feb 23, 2011 at 4:38
  • Ya a second cote of paint fixed the problem.
    – Erin
    Feb 23, 2011 at 13:54

3 Answers 3


Most likely, you tried to cover too much area between dunks of the roller in the paint. The later strokes have less paint, so you're seeing some of the underlying color come through, whether it's primer or another layer of paint.

Some tips that might help:

  • go back to the roller tray more often. FWIW, I generally do four to five strokes with the roller between dunks, and do three overlapping sections over the height of the wall, so maybe 10-15 sq.ft. per dunk.
  • I always count on doing a second coat. I prefer a couple of thin coats to one thick coat; after the first one has dried, it gives you a chance to see where you need to pay special attention on the next coat, and (for me anyway) it's difficult to get an even coat.
  • with a freshly-dunked roller, I will start a couple of feet over from where I stopped the previous time, roll back towards that point until I overlap, then change direction and roll until I've gone a couple of feet past where I started.
  • 1
    Also, as you try to squeeze more out of each dunk, you end up getting lines of paint coming off the edges of the roller.
    – chris
    Feb 23, 2011 at 4:00
  • @chris: True, but the OP said that wasn't happening in their case.
    – Niall C.
    Feb 23, 2011 at 4:30
  • 4
    If you have to push harder on the roller to transfer color, you don't have enough paint on it! Feb 23, 2011 at 7:54
  • Niall, I call it a loaded roller. Dunked gives be visions of the Three Stooges !!!! lololl Sorry, couldn't resist. Feb 23, 2011 at 7:56
  • Thanks I repainted my wall last night using a lot more paint and it seems to look much better now.
    – Erin
    Feb 23, 2011 at 15:36

It seriously helps to paint in different light. Paint a section, then quickly turn the light off, (assuming your windows are open the ambient light should be sufficient) and look at the section you just painted as a few different angles. And repeat.

Also change the roll length and angle, don't just paint in vertical strips( this will make deformities more obvious) but instead paint in a curve and roll back under it. Still cover all the area that you would normally cover in a small section, but change up the direction, all while without over coating an area. This a fairly complicated maneuver, but I have gotten away with painting a thin white coat in a room without a second coat and it appears prefect, even under direct light


Some good tips here. My 10th coat has shown roller marks, probably because I have used too short a nap on the roller so it holds less paint, and I tried back-rolling to even out the marks but that only served to make the final surface more aggressive to the touch - it's a flat paint so it starts out like a blackboard anyway - I think low sheen is easier to paint as it doesn't tack off immediately like the flat. SO: agreed - load the roller well, lap it wet and don't go back over the job: those new track marks you are making will dry just like that. Secondly - use the best quality roller you can with the more difficult paints. Finally - do your prep so you aren't taking time to fiddle around lights, switches and whatnot whilst the paint is drying everywhere else. Good luck

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