How to Inspect the Quality of a Completed Paint Job

It doesn’t matter what you have decided to paint, a wall, a cupboard, or even a car. There is a lot more to it than just adding a coat of paint to something. Choosing the right paint and using the correct application process will help to ensure you have a high-quality finish. This will ensure that the paint lasts for a long time and offers the protection your object needs.

Of course, to ensure you have a high-quality finish you’ll need to know how to inspect the quality. The good news is that this is easier than you think.

Get A Professional

The simplest and perhaps best approach is to get a Nace inspector involved. They will inspect the finished paint job and confirm its quality. During the process, they will assess the quality of the products used, the level of hazardous material in a coating, and whether it has insulative properties.

The inspector will issue a report which you can use to negotiate on improving the finish, if necessary.

Of course, you can inspect the quality of the finish yourself. There are several key attributes that will help you establish how well something has been painted.


A good quality paint job will have covered the entire surface evenly. You won’t find any patches that appear thinner or show traces of a previous finish/undercoat.

It’s best to look under direct sunlight as this will highlight an uneven paint distribution.

You can correct this with gentle sanding and additional paint.


It’s fairly obvious but a good quality finish should have no runs in it. This is when too much paint has been applied and allowed to roll down the surface. It is generally more obvious when painting vertical materials. Runs need to be sanding out and you’ll have to add a little fresh paint. If done carefully it can be blended back into the original finish rather than needing the entire surface to be replaced.

Cutting In

Professionally finished paint jobs don’t leave gaps around switches or other items on the surface. Look carefully around the edges to make sure there are no sections missing paint or that paint isn’t on the piece where it shouldn’t be. Professionals use masking tape to ensure all surfaces are finished to the edge without damaging other surfaces.

Inspect carefully to ensure this has been done.


This doesn’t apply if you have deliberately chosen a textured finish. However, if you have a smooth finish you should be able to run your hand over the finish and feel the smoothness. Of course, getting a completely smooth finish is more about the right preparation than the actual application of paint.

The same can be said for any type of completed paint job, preparation is key to ensuring a great finish. If you don’t prepare properly there is likely to be deviations in the surface and these will show through on the finished paint job.