11 Hilarious Painting Fails
You’ll want to avoid these 11 disasters when you paint your own home. Learn from these readers’ painting mistakes and have a laugh.
Paneful Painting Project
I thought it would save time to paint our new double-hung windows before installation. While painting, I ran out of space to set them for drying. Then I had a brilliant idea: Why not lay them out on the lawn to dry and let the sun hasten the process? Well, my idea seemed to work great; the paint dried quickly. But when I started to pick them up from the lawn, my joy quickly turned to disappointment as I noticed the scorched lawn beneath. The windows had acted like a miniature greenhouse. Now I have 19 distinct rectangles burned into my lawn!
My husband and I put a smooth, flawless coat of epoxy on our garage floor. Then we lowered the overhead door, leaving it high enough that it wouldn’t touch the wet floor but low enough that the cat couldn’t squeeze in under it. The next morning I peeked into the garage and my eyes grew to the size of silver dollars! We didn’t keep the cat out of the garage; we kept her in—all night! (She must have been hiding on top of the rafters.) It’s a goof we’re unlikely to forget; hundreds of little paw prints across the floor’s mirror finish remind us every day.
My wife and I decided to paint the wood stairway in our colonial home. The risers we’d paint the trim color and the treads an oil-based gloss black. As the weekend approached, the timing seemed to work out perfectly. Our 5-year-old son was away and we’d be able to focus on the project and avoid getting footprints in the paint. Our plan: My wife would stay upstairs that night while I painted the stair treads (top to bottom) and then I would simply sleep downstairs while the paint dried. But when I woke up the next morning, the stair treads were still tacky! No way would we be able to walk on them that day either. Throughout the day, I could be seen taking breakfast, lunch and finally dinner to my wife by way of an extension ladder set up outside to a second-story window. Late that evening the treads finally dried and we were all reunited.
Fuzzy French Doors
I installed a set of French doors for my wife that open onto a private courtyard. I decided to spray-paint them right away with a good-quality oil paint. When I finished painting, I called my wife out to the courtyard to admire the near-perfect finish. She smiled with delight, and wanting to thank me, said she’d take care of the nasty job of cleaning my work clothes. She put them in the washer and then into the dryer, without thinking that the dryer vent empties into the courtyard. The still-wet beautiful doors became embedded with lint. We’re now the proud owners of fuzzy French doors!
Miffed by the Mower
A few years back, I was working on some rental property and the yard was in serious need of mowing. I hired a 12-year-old boy to mow while I went to work on the projects inside. I heard the mower purring along and then all at once it stopped and I heard a very angry voice next door. I looked out the window and saw the neighbor giving the boy a serious lecture. It turned out the neighbor was painting the side of his house and the mower had shot freshly mown grass onto the fresh paint! I decided to stay inside until his temper subsided. The next day he was out there, scowling as he scraped the grass off the siding. We decided to wait another week to finish the mowing.
Not a Good Place to Paint
I volunteered to help paint a friend’s bathroom. The room was small, so I carried the door down to the basement and set it up on sawhorses. I moved a few boxes and a clothesbasket to get more elbow room. I carefully brushed on some glossy enamel paint and stepped back to admire the sheen. Just then, a shower of clothes came from the ceiling right onto the door. Then I realized why the clothesbasket was there in the first place. I’d set up the door right under the clothes chute!
Painting Faux Paw
When my mother decided it was time to paint her living room, I told her I’d help. We took all the usual precautions like placing dropcloths and masking the trim to keep cleanup to a minimum. The painting was going fine until the cat decided to pay us a visit and proceeded to jump into the half-full roller pan. The cat freaked and ran a circle around the room and then dashed up the staircase. It wasn’t hard to ‘track her down’ and scrub the paint from her paws, but the rest of the cleanup job took several hours. We now keep the curious cat in another room while we paint!
Pretty in Pink?
To spruce up the house and give it some curb appeal, we decided to add red shutters around the windows. Painting shutters with a brush can be slow, so we decided to rent a paint sprayer and paint them assembly-line style in the garage. We laid down dropcloths, opened the doors and windows for ventilation and sprayed on primer and two coats of paint. After finishing up for the day, I closed the overhead garage door and saw that our nice white door was now a uniform pink! The overspray from the sprayer had risen and settled on top of the door while it was open for ventilation. The next day was taken up by still another painting project—the garage door!
Eager to cross one more project off my to-do list, I went outside to paint window trim just before dark. Who needs daylight when you have a 500-watt work light?
I finished the first coat and returned an hour later to find an ugly surprise: Stuck to the paint like flypaper were hundreds of tiny insects that had been attracted by the work light!
I waited until the next day to sand off the bugs and apply the final coat of paint—and this time I finished well before dark.
When it Hits the Fan
I was painting my living room one hot summer day, and my good ol’ dog, Hobbes, was looking for relief from the heat. Spotting the box fan I had set up to dry the paint, he lay down in front of it to grab some shut-eye.
As I was finishing the second coat, I stepped down off my ladder and right onto the back of my roller pan. It flew up, hit the back of the fan and sprayed paint all over the room—but especially on poor Hobbes. He slowly lifted his head, looked at his paint-covered body, stretched and went back to sleep.
While the dog didn’t seem any the worse for the experience, I learned a hard lesson about paint pan placement.
Sprayed?and Sprayed Again
Recently, I purchased some new, unfinished French doors. I propped them up outside and began painting one with my new spray gun. To my surprise, big globs of paint splattered all over the door and me—the gun wasn’t adjusted correctly. I went into the house to wash the mess off my hands and get some rags. While I was gone, the automatic sprinklers came on and soaked the doors. To make matters worse, the doors fell onto the newly mowed grass. I let the doors dry out and several days later, I sanded off the globs of splattered paint and grass clippings, made sure my gun worked perfectly and repainted them out of the sprinklers’ reach.