What is a Wet Edge when Painting?

wet edge when painting

If you are getting ready to start a new painting project, you might think it is as simple as going to the store and buying some paint, a roller, and maybe some tarp to cover the floor.

Then you will just go home and slap a coat of paint on the walls, and call it a day. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple.

Even if you manage to navigate through the myriad of products at the store, choose the right color, and purchase the right tools, you’ll quickly learn that there is a technique for painting.

There are a right way and a wrong way to do it. It’s not enough just to get the paint on the wall. With the wrong technique, you’ll end up with drips, patchy spots, and lines.

Maintaining wet edges is a technique that will help you avoid the lines that come from overlapping incorrectly with a roller or brush.

It is not a terribly difficult technique, so you’ll have no real problem doing it correctly after reading the simple step by step tutorial in this article.

What is Wet Edge?

When painting a wall, the roller is only so big, so it’s necessary to keep rolling new lines on the wall until you cover the whole thing.

Obviously, you would not want to leave any space between one roll and another, so you will need to overlap each successive roll with the last.

Wet edge painting is when you ensure that the last roll does not dry before you overlap it with the next.

In other words, it’s ensuring that you always have a “wet edge” to paint over.

Why Do You Need to Maintain a Wet Edge?

The wet edge is very important. Without using this technique, your finished project is not going to have that professional look.

The point of the wet edge is to create a seamless flow from one paint line to another so that by the time you are done, you cannot tell where one brush-stroke ends and the next begins.

Tips for Keeping a Wet Edge When Painting

Here is a simple tutorial to go by. This is all assuming you have your paint and roller ready to go, and your wall and floor prepared for painting.

Step one:

Roll plenty of paint onto the roller. You don’t want it dripping on the floor or anything, but don’t be stingy with the paint either.

Step two:

Paint the wall until the paint starts to run dry. Don’t allow the roller to get so dry that you start to hear a sucking sound. That would mean that the roller is starting to pull paint back off the wall.

Step three:

It sounds redundant, but roll more paint onto the roller. It’s important that you soak it thoroughly.

Step four:

Start with the roller halfway onto the last line that you painted, and halfway into the unpainted section.

Step five:

Go back to step one and repeat it all. Remember to never let the previous line dry before starting on another line.

Few Additional Painting Techniques

There are too many techniques to list here, but you are encouraged to do some research and learn what you can.

These techniques will make painting easier, as well as giving the finished work a professional look while keeping a wet edge.

  1. Mix several cans of paint into one big bucket. Not only does this consolidate all of your paint into one place, but it also guarantees a consistent color on every part of every wall.
  2. Assuming you taped over the trim and fixtures, which you should have, let the paint dry before cutting around the edges of the tape and slowly peeling it off.
  3. Clean dirty surfaces before painting. Paint does not bond well to dirt, grease, or any other foreign substances.
  4. Using cotton drop cloths, rather than the usual plastic that has to be taped down. The cloth will stay put better, and tear less.

Overall, preparing to paint by studying a few techniques is probably the most important part of the process.

The wet edge technique, along with many others, will save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.

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