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What is the best paint for walls with flaws?

When it comes to painting walls that have flaws like cracks, holes, stains, or uneven textures, choosing the right paint is key to getting a smooth, uniform finish. The type of paint needed will depend on the specific wall flaws that need to be covered up. Here’s a quick look at some of the best options for flaw-hiding paints.

Filling Cracks and Holes

For hairline cracks and small holes in drywall or plaster walls, a high quality, high-build latex paint is often the best choice. Latex paints provide excellent coverage and hide minor imperfections well. Look for paints labeled “high-build” or “high-hide.” These thicker paints have more solids in them to help fill in and level out small dents, cracks, and holes. Two coats may be needed for the best results. Be sure to properly prep cracks and holes by cleaning out loose material and doing any needed patching first.

Concealing Major Imperfections

For covering over large gouges, significant cracks wider than a hairline, or gaps around repaired drywall, a high-build primer or spackling is required before painting. These coat on much thicker than regular primer or paint. Specialty high-build primers like Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 are designed to fill defects up to 1/8 inch deep in one coat. For larger imperfections, a spackling compound is recommended to patch holes and deeply cracked spots. Once smoothed over, use a primer like KILZ Premium over repairs before painting for best results.

Stain Blocking

For stained walls that have water marks, nicotine, grease, permanent marker, or other types of discoloration, a stain-blocking primer is a must before painting. These special primers are formulated with strong binders that seal in stains so they won’t bleed through the new paint. Often times, oil-based primers work better than latex for stain blocking. Some top-rated options include KILZ Original Oil-Base Primer and Zinsser’s B-I-N Primer.

Textured and Popcorn Ceilings

Painting heavily textured or popcorn style ceilings requires a paint formulated to grip well and hide imperfections. A high build latex paint is a good choice, but beware that it may take 3 coats or more for full coverage. For the best concealment, look for paints specifically made for ceilings with heavier textures. Behr Premium Plus Ceiling Paint With Styrene Acrylic And Siliconized Resin Technology and Valspar Ceiling Paint are two examples of top-rated popcorn ceiling paints.

Masking Uneven Wall Textures

If you have uneven wall textures from poor patching or underlying plaster issues, a high-build primer can help minimize the problem areas before painting. Oil-based primers like Zinsser’s Cover Stain provide superior filling and leveling of textural differences. A thick elastomeric paint designed for exterior flexible surfaces, like Sherwin-Williams Resilience Latex, is another good option for hiding uneven textures indoors.

Mildew-Resistant Coatings

For damp areas prone to mildew growth like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, using a mildew-resistant paint is advised. Look for latex paints with built-in EPA registered mildewcide to inhibit future mildew formation. Zinsser Perma-White Interior Paint and BEHR PREMIUM PLUS Interior Paint With Mold & Mildew Resistance are two examples of paints that help prevent mildew on problem walls.

Which Sheen is Best?

In general, eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss sheens do the best job of hiding imperfections. The slight sheen helps light glide over minor wall flaws. Flat or matte finishes reflect less light, making imperfections like bumps and cracks more obvious. Glossy sheens also highlight flaws more. Satin provides a good middle ground with decent hide and easy clean up. Be sure to use the same sheen throughout a room for the most seamless appearance.

Application Tips

Proper application techniques are also key for flawless results:

  • Use a high quality roller cover suited to the paint texture and sheen.
  • Cut in edges first with a brush for sharper paint lines in corners and along trim.
  • Apply paint generously and maintain a wet edge to prevent lap marks.
  • Roll in the same direction across the entire wall length.
  • Use an extension pole for hard to reach areas.
  • Allow proper drying time between coats.

The Best Paint Brands for Flaw Hiding

When it comes to the paint brands that offer the best flaw-hiding ability, these top-rated options consistently get high marks:

Paint Brand Known For
Behr One-coat hide, wide range of sheens, excellent durability
Benjamin Moore High-quality ingredients, self-priming paints, durable finishes
Sherwin-Williams Smooth application, uniform appearance, professional-grade results
Valspar Affordable pricing, easy soap and water clean-up

No matter what flaws your walls have, there’s a paint formulated to disguise imperfections for a smooth, uniform finish. With the right prep work, primer, paint, application tools, and techniques, you can get beautifully flawless walls and a refreshed space.


Covering wall flaws effectively depends on choosing the right paint for the specific imperfections that need hiding. Cracks, holes, stains, heavy textures, and uneven surfaces can all be concealed with specialty primers and paints designed to mask flaws. High-build and high-hide latex paints provide excellent filling and coverage for minor flaws. Stain-blocking primers are must-haves for concealing discoloration issues before painting. For significant cracks and gaps, filling with spackle or a high-build primer is best prior to painting. And paint brand matters – top choices like Behr, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Valspar offer great hide and uniform finishes. With prep work, a targeted flaw-hiding paint, proper application tools, and good technique, you can achieve beautifully smooth, flawless painted walls and give any room a fresh updated look.