Poor hiding is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the failure of your dried paintwork to obscure or 'hide' the surface to which it is applied.

Possible Cause

Before you reach for the roller again, your problem isn’t necessarily the amount of paint. It’s more likely to be one of the following:

  • Use of low quality paint
  • Use of low quality tools or the wrong roller cover
  • An improper combination of tinting base and tinting colour
  • Poor flow and levelling (see Poor flow and levelling)
  • Use of a paint that is much lighter in colour than the substrate or that primarily contains low-hiding organic pigments
  • Application of paint at a lower spread rate than recommended



If your substrate is significantly darker than your chosen paint colour, or features a pattern, it should be primed before applying the top coat system. Always use premium quality paint for better hiding and flow. Using quality tools is also important as well as the recommended roller nap, if using a roller. Always follow manufacturer’s recommendation on spread rate and if using tinted paint, be sure to use the correct tinting base.

If you must use a low-hiding organic colour, always apply a primer first. We recommend Dulux 1 Step® Acrylic Primer Sealer & Undercoat.

More problem solving advice


Yellowing is the development of a yellow cast in aging solvent-based enamels. It’s most noticeable in the dried films of white paints or clear varnishes.  For each problem you’ll find a guide to identifying it, its causes and solutions.

When droplets appear on acrylic paint

Have you noticed small droplets appearing on your fresh coat of acrylic paint? This is known as 'surfactant leaching'. Don't panic - it's a normal part of the curing process.  For each problem you’ll find a guide to identifying it, its causes and solutions.