How to Fix Drywall Patch Marks Showing Through Paint [4 Steps for a Seamless Repair]

If you can see the telltale smooth, flat spots of drywall patches through your paint job, the first step is to rework the patches areas with drywall topping compound. Then, carefully sand the patch until it is level with the rest of the wall. Once this is done, prime the wall with a roller. For even better coverage, use two coats of primer. Then, finish up by painting the entire wall with two coats of paint of your choice.

How to fix drywall patch marks showing through paint

Why Can You See Drywall Patches Through Paint?

The difference in texture between patched areas and non-patched areas are responsible for drywall patches showing through your paint job. The patched areas often appear smoother than the rest of the wall. This may not be visible from all angles, but under the right lighting conditions, the patches will stick out like a sore thumb.

  • Differences in texture between patched and unpatched areas cause drywall work to be visible through paint.
  • Patched areas are smoother and reflect light differently than the rest of the wall.
  • Unprimed joint compound absorbs paint differently than the rest of your wall, leading to visible drywall patches.

Not only will the smooth texture of drywall patches cause them to show up under the right (or wrong) light, your patching process has a lot to do with it too. Drywall and all drywall patches must be primed in order to ensure that the final paint adheres to the surface properly. Drywall patches without primer absorb the paint, making it appear flatter. This causes the drywall patches to stand out even more.

4 Steps to Repair Drywall Patches Showing Through Paint

Finishing a drywall repair and paint job only to see drywall patches showing through your final coat of paint is extremely frustrating. It can make you feel like there’s no way to complete the job without these issues. Don’t worry, there is good news. The fix is simple. By following the process below you can eliminate pesky drywall patches for good.

Apply a Coat of Topping Compound

The first thing to do with those troublesome patches is to resurface them with a material that is easily sanded and painted. For this job, topping compound is the best option. Use a wide taping knife to spread the topping compound over the area. Cover the visible patch with a smooth, new layer of drywall compound.

  • Use specialized topping compound to put a new coat of joint compound on patches that are visible through paint.
  • Spread the topping compound to fill any imperfections.
  • Feather the topping compound out at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) around the patch in all directions.

It’s important to cover more than just the visible patch. Feather the joint compound out beyond the dimensions of the original patch, tapering it off smoothly so it blends with the wall around it.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Sand the Topping Compound

Now that you’ve resurfaced the patched areas of the wall with topping compound, it’s time to carefully sand those areas. Begin with 150 grit sandpaper to smooth out the compound and remove any ridges left behind by your taping knife. Then, move to 220 grit sandpaper to provide a smooth finish and blend the feathered edges with the rest of the wall.

  • Sand the patches with 150 grit sandpaper to remove imperfections.
  • Use 220 grit sandpaper to further smooth the patches and blend the edges.
  • Check to make sure all the patches are flush with the rest of the wall. Sand more if necessary.

Feel the wall after sanding. Make sure the patched areas are flush with the rest of the wall. A patch that is raised above the rest of the wall will catch the light differently and stand out. Sand with the proper sandpaper grit for drywall mud until you are certain the patched areas are flush.

Prime the Wall

Priming is essential to make sure drywall patches will have the same texture as the rest of the wall. This step will make your drywall patches invisible. To accomplish this, use a roller with 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap to apply drywall primer to the entire wall where your new patches have been made. This roller nap is long enough to apply a small amount of texture, which will help hide drywall patches. Avoid using a foam roller.

  • Use this primer to prepare drywall patches to accept the final paint color.
  • A 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap roller is best for priming. It will apply a light, even texture to all areas of the wall.
  • For even more coverage, wait 24 hours and apply a second coat of primer.

If drywall patches are visible through the primer, they will be visible through the final coat of paint. If this occurs, either repeat steps 1 and 2 and prime again. Alternatively, try a roller with a longer nap and apply a second coat of primer. Just make sure to wait at least 24 hours between coats of primer, to allow the paint time to cure.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Paint the Entire Wall

Now that your wall is patched, sanded, and primed, you’re ready to repaint. For best results, apply two coats of colored paint, waiting at least 24 hours between coats. If you paint over your first coat too soon, your paint will not adhere properly and may peel or bubble.

  • Paint the entire wall with two coats of the color of your choice.
  • Wait 24 hours between coats of paint.
  • It is essential to prime and paint the entire wall, to ensure uniform texture and color.

Note that in order to perform these steps correctly the entire wall must be re-primed and repainted. This ensures you’ll have uniform paint color. It may seem like overkill, but it’s the only way to make sure your patch job is invisible.

How Do You Fix a Bad Drywall Patch That Has Been Painted?

Drywall patches showing through a finished paint job are best fixed by following this process:

  • Apply a coat of topping joint compound over the visible patches on the painted wall.
  • Sand the topping compound to ensure it is level with the rest of the wall.
  • Use a roller with a 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap to prime the entire wall where drywall patches were showing through.
  • Repaint the entire wall with two coats of the desired color.

Whether it’s a small patch where a nail was removed or a large patch where drywall joints were sealed, this method will ensure that the drywall patches are hidden. You’ll be left with a seamless wall you can be proud of.

How to remove rusted toilet tank bolts

How to Remove Rusted Toilet Tank Bolts in 5 Quick Steps

How to cut drywall with a dremel

How to Cut Drywall with a Dremel [10 Steps for Precision Cuts]