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Touching Up Your Paint

First the bad news.  We get calls from time to time from homeowners who want us to “just touch up” some walls and trim.  Most people are surprised when we tell them that there’s almost no way we can do it and have them still be happy with our work.  In most cases, we just can’t be successful “touching up” your walls or trim.  There are a host of problems associated with touching up; here are just a few:

  • You don’t have the right paint in the garage.  You think you do but you don’t.
  • Paint store “matches” don’t work.  Different paint grades, different paint base stocks, computer matches, different paint sheens all conspire against you.
  • The paint in the garage is too old.  Even high-quality touch up paint will not last forever in the can, especially if it isn’t kept in the house.
  • The paint is IN the garage.  Bringing paint from a 110-degree garage into a 76 degree house and trying to touch up is a recipe for problems.
  • The paint on your walls is probably darker now than when it was first applied.  This is especially true if you still have the builder-grade paint on the walls.
  • You didn’t shake / stir your touch up paint enough.  You can’t.  If you are lucky enough to have some current paint, take it to the paint store and ask them to shake it for you.
  • You used a brush.  Most people touch up with a big paint brush – wrong!  If you ARE going to attempt to do some touch ups (after you’ve had the paint store shake / stir your paint) just use your index finger to touch the spots.  Do a final, manual paint can shake before you start your touch ups; take the lid off the can; set the can aside and carry the lid around with you.  Just touch your index finger into the paint on the lid and touch it to the walls.  Think “small” when you’re touching up and you’ll have a greater chance of not seeing the new paint spots.
  • You didn’t check a dry spot to make sure the color was right.  Happens all the time; “looks” like the right color while it’s wet but when it dries it’s completely wrong.  Most people, in an attempt to get “touching up” off of their task list, will just have at it and touch up the whole downstairs only to find that “Latte” isn’t “Cafe Americano”.  So, touch up ONE TINY SPOT, let it dry and then go from there if it looks right.  Stop it, you’re using too much… Think Q-Tip…
  • Your oil enamel is all different colors throughout your home now.  The oil enamel (base boards, doors, door jambs, window sills, crown moulding, cabinets) will turn yellow over time.  All you have to do is open your pantry door to see an example of this.  The oil enamel does turn yellow but it does this at differing rates throughout your home.  Good luck on this one.  Our recommendation? Reset everything to SW Alabaster.

So, by now you’re asking, “What’s the good news?”  Well, the good news is that we’re not going to be party to this fiasco unless:

  • We’re there doing another project for you, and…we’ve checked and verified that your touch up paint is available and that it is “good”
  • You agree that some walls will require repainting completely to achieve a good result.  This may mean that some walls will need a corner-to-corner / floor-to-ceiling repaint to get it to look right.  This is about the only way that most touch ups “work”.