Eliminate Paint Brush Marks

Updated: Feb. 09, 2023

Two simple ways to eliminate paint brush marks on walls

FH07JAU_BRUMAR_01-3Family Handyman
Eliminate brush marks by sanding and repainting or by skim coating with drywall compound and repainting. Both techniques are easy.

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Method 1: The sanding technique

Photo 1: Sanding technique

Sand the brush marks with coarse sandpaper.

If you have unsightly brush marks left over from a bad paint job on walls, take heart. You have two ways to eliminate them.

Try sanding first to see if that will work. Use 80-grit, non-clog sandpaper on either a sanding pole or a sanding block (Photo 1). Use a “clog resistant” type, such as 3M Sandblaster sandpaper, or wipe the sandpaper often with a stiff brush to keep it from clogging up. Avoid the temptation to use an electric sander to make the job go faster. It’ll heat up the paint and cause it to get gooey rather than sand away the brushstrokes.

Method 2: The drywall compound technique

Photo 2: Drywall compound

Skim-coat the walls with topping compound to cover the brush marks.

If sanding doesn’t work or the entire wall has brush marks, save yourself time and effort by applying a thin coat of topping joint compound over the walls using a 12-in. drywall taping knife—a process called skim coating (Photo 2). Then smooth out with 100-grit sandpaper any rough spots in the skim coat, apply a coat of primer and paint the walls. Skim coating ensures that you’ll end up with a (nearly) perfectly smooth wall.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Mud pan
  • Sanding block
  • Sanding pole
  • Taping knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper