What to Do If Paint Colors Don’t Match

One of the unexpected challenges in house painting in Pleasant Hill is matching paint colors. You might be surprised because it should sound easy. Buy a new paint with the same brand and color on your walls, then apply the fresh paint. They match, right? But chances are, they will be different from an exact match.

Getting the paint colors to match 100% is actually difficult, if not impossible. Even if they are of the same brand and based on the same color and finish, the new paint will never perfectly match the old paint. Even with a minor touch-up, you can still see the difference. Here are some of the factors that may contribute to this issue:

1) Paint water content and drying time

Most homeowners don’t know that the paint’s exact color and sheen vary slightly depending on its water content and drying time.

Your current paint has experienced evaporation and lower water content. Thus, old paint has a faster drying time than fresh paint. This leads to touch-ups that are often darker or more vivid than the surrounding paint.

2) Paint that has experienced wear and tear

Due to exposure to sunlight, dust, and dirt, the paint’s colors lose their brilliance over time.

People may not notice it as they see the paint every day. But once fresh paint is applied on top, it’s evident that the colors are no longer the same.

3) Differences in paint batches

If you picked up a new paint sample for your touch-ups, it will have a somewhat different mix than the current paint on your walls. As the old saying goes, “What a difference a day makes.” This difference is particularly true with paint colors.

4) Differences in application

There are three standard application methods: brushing, rolling, and spraying. Unfortunately, the appearance and texture of the resulting paint will look slightly different with each technique.

For example, if you sprayed the paint initially but touch it up using a paintbrush, you will readily see the resulting difference between the two applications. Part of the reason is that spraying produces a thinner layer of paint than a paintbrush.

Steps to make paint touch-ups better

Steps to make paint touch-ups better

Before you begin, please keep in mind that, once again, getting the paint colors to match 100% is really difficult. So, don’t expect perfection. At least the following tips will help you achieve the closest match possible and make the difference appear less noticeable.

Step 1:

Clean the walls

Give your walls a quick wipe-down, which will minimize the chances of paint-matching issues due to the build-up of dust, dirt, and grime. And, of course, clean walls will help the topcoat adhere better.

Step 2:

Add a drop of water

If the current paint has been sitting for a long time, there’s a chance that some of the water has evaporated, which may cause differences in shades of paint on the wall.

Isolate a small amount of paint, and add one drop of water. This will make the new paint match the surrounding paint as closely as possible. Add another drop of water to the fresh paint if necessary, but not too much, as it will dilute the paint.

Step 3:

Test the paint

Apply a small amount of paint and let it dry. Then check it to see if the new paint blends well with the surrounding paint. If the fresh paint looks too dark, add another drop of water. If it’s too light, add some more paint.

Step 4:

Do the touch-ups

Once you have achieved the desirable match, do the touch-ups using the same application method that was used when the original paint was applied. For example, if the original paint was applied with a roller, the touch-ups should be applied with the same technique to ensure consistency.

Color-matching tips

Matching colors can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a couple of tips that you may want to try:

  • Take a sample from your drywall and have it color-matched – Cut a small piece of the drywall from an inconspicuous area and take it to the paint shop or home improvement store. They should be able to color-match the drywall sample and tell you what color and finish the new paint is.
  • Use a color-matching tool – Before, you had to head to the paint store to get your color analyzed. But now, analyzing paint colors is easier with color-matching tools, such as a mobile phone app. It will give you a wide range of colors that can make a good match for your existing paint color, which you can test at home. These color-analyzing apps are easy to use, as they usually come with a sensor that you can press against the wall or surface you’re trying to match. These color analyzers use their own internal light and block out all external light sources, and provide more precise results than just taking a photo and uploading it to an app.

Paint color matching is challenging but not impossible

Paint color matching is challenging but not impossible.

Matching paint colors can be difficult due to the sheer number of colors, shades, finishes, and undertones. As the paint dries, it has a slightly different color than when it is wet, which makes matching dried paints a matter of guesswork.

The tips and suggestions in this article can help you arrive at the closest match possible. Whatever methods and tips you choose, continue testing new paint colors. If you need professional advice, home painting in Pleasant Hill contractors like Custom Painting, Inc. may suggest the closest match or recommend a different color or shade for your walls.