Which Wall Marks Are Okay to Paint Over?

Wall marks are unsightly but we often ignore them until it’s time to repaint the walls entirely. At this point, however, the question arises - what wall marks can you paint over and which wall marks do you need to remove first? Knowing which marks you can paint over can save you a lot of work and energy. Get it wrong and you’ll end up making much more work for yourself.


A lot depends on the color you’ll be using on the wall but if it’s a darker color, you can paint directly over very light scuffs on the wall although you’ll have the most success with coverage if you use a primer coat first. How light is a light scuff? It should not be black and nothing darker than a light, pale gray. Anything deeper and you’ll need to take action to remove the wall marks before you paint.


Over time, it’s almost impossible not to have wall marks from bugs. You might have flattened one or another might have spotted the wall. Either way, the marks can be annoying and very unsightly. Often, it’ll be a little more than a small mark so dealing with them isn't too difficult.

If the marks are just tiny specks, you will be able to paint over them. If there are any bumps, you’ll need to sand down the wall to a flat level. Usually, bug marks will be small enough and pale enough that you can cover directly with paint; this eliminates the necessity of removing the marks first.


When it comes to crayon or anything made of wax, you’ll need to remove the marks fully before painting. If you don’t do this, the paint won’t adhere properly and the surface with the wax on it will have an odd texture.


Whether or not you can paint over a scratch depends on the depth and length of the scratch. If it’s shallow and is just penetrating the paint and not the surface of the wall, you should be able to paint over it. However, if it’s at all deeper or of any extensive length, you’ll need to fill the scratch, let it dry and sand it smooth to the wall surface.


You can’t paint directly over gouges. These need to be filled and sanded completely before you can proceed and you should put a primer coat over the area first.


Don’t try and paint directly over wall marks made by a pencil. You will need to fully remove these first and wash the wall.

Cleaning Walls

Rather than paint directly over a wall, you should always wash the wall and let it dry first. This will take off a lot of the light marks and you’ll also remove the dirt and grease that builds up over time. You’ll find that you achieve better coverage, the paint will go on more easily and you’ll be less likely to need extra coats to cover the wall completely.