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Getting Touch Ups to Match Up and Other Wall Paint Touch-Up Tips

May 6, 2014

Life happens – and sometimes interior paint is on the receiving end. Especially in homes with kids and pets, perfectly applied wall paint won’t look as perfect a few years after the fact. Furniture can scrape paint revealing the color underneath. Toddlers can get hold of permanent markers. Cats can scratch. Bumps… spills… there are so many things that can happen to interior wall paint that make a homeowner think “I should give that a little touch up.”

paint touch ups - touching up paint

And you probably should if that’s what you’re thinking. There’s no reason not to give your walls a little TLC to keep them looking their best. The important thing is that you do it right, which is why we’ve compiled these wall paint touch up tips.

First think back

To the season you originally painted in, that is! Temperature differences during different applications can change the look of an interior paint color. Generally, if it’s 10+ degrees cooler than when you painted last your touch up paint will dry lighter. If it’s 10+ degrees warmer, your touch up paint will dry darker.

Be a copycat

Do your best to replicate the exact conditions that existed when you painted the wall originally. Did you use a brush or a roller? Choose the same application tool. Wait until it’s warm if you painted your walls in the summertime. Stir your paint to within an inch of its life because, well, think about it – last time you painted your can was fresh from the hardware store mixer.

Clean is key

Touching up wall paint may seem like a two-second job but the touched up area will look best if you take the time to prep it before even dipping a brush into that can of paint. Clean the area, and sand if necessary, to ensure your touch up paint is going to get the job done.

Use primer

For paint being applied over the same color from the same can, it seems logical to assume that the paint can go right onto the wall. And flat paint applied over flat paint shouldn’t give you any trouble. But finishes can be additive, which means that semi-gloss on top of semi-gloss may be a lot, well, glossier than you might expect. A layer of primer makes finish issues into non-issues.

Pick quality paint

Lower quality paints offer less in the way of color consistency than high quality brands. Over time, cheap wall paint may simply not dry to the original color no matter what you do.

Just add water

Drying times can impact the look of interior paint, and the moisture content of said paint can influence drying times. So that paint that’s been sitting in a can for four years could look different on the wall because it’s just drying too fast after you apply it. One workaround involves diluting latex interior paint so it dries more slowly and has a truer color.

Thank gradients

Touch up spots stand out because there is a sharp edge between the existing wall color and the newly applied interior paint – no matter how close the shades. You can lessen the impact of the color difference by softening the edge. Paint the touch up area first, then use random strokes outward and less and less paint to create a transition zone between new paint and old.

Or is time the answer?

If your home’s interior paint job is a couple of years old and the scratch or stain you’re touching up is in a sunny spot, the color has probably faded. That gorgeous blue leftover in the paint can will be the vibrant hue you remember – but the wall around it? Not so much. Unless you want to try for a perfect match, simply waiting for the newly painted areas to fade may be the best solution.

Of course, if none of these tips prove helpful – and they might not because how interior wall paint looks can depend so much on the wall itself and the lighting – you may just have to repaint the whole wall. It’s the only guaranteed way to ensure that damaged paint or a patched wall won’t stand out like a sore thumb.

At Jerry Enos Interior Painting Company, we know the right products for the job. Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA interior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.

Image via Wonderlane @ Flickr

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