What causes “Hatbanding”?

February 02, 2015 1 min read

What causes “Hatbanding”?

Darker or lighter areas where paint was cut in produce an effect known as “picture framing” or “hatbanding.”

Corners, edges, and other areas that are cut-in with a brush can dry darker or lighter than the rest of the wall that was painted with a roller.

What Causes Hatbanding, or Picture Framing?

  • Heavier or lighter application of the paint when cutting in corners, trim, and ceiling areas.
  • Spraying versus brushing paint in tight areas.
  • Using a roller cover nap that is too long, which will produce a heavy texture.
  • Not maintaining a wet edge while painting especially with today low VOC and zero VOC paints
  • Improperly mixing paint, causing it to not be uniform.

How to Prevent Hatbanding or Picture Framing on Drywall

  • Prime the drywall before painting.
  • Paint the corners and edges of one wall or section at a time, not the entire room, so that those areas will still be wet when you use a roller on the larger areas, except when using Benjamin Moore Aura paint, which requires you to let the cut in dry completely before rolling. To help maintain a wet edge use Benjamin Moore’s 518 00 extender which will help eliminate the fast drying of todays paints and thus eliminate the hatbanding.
  • Cut in as narrow an area as needed with your brush, usually 1″ to 2″, and get your roller as close to the corners as possible.
  • Use the feather-edge brushing technique in corners or along edges.
  • For smooth surfaces such as drywall, use roller covers with naps ranging from ¼-inch to ½-inch, depending on the sheen of your finish coat.


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