Home Improvements

The Do’s and Don’ts of Paint Touch-Ups

Paint touch-ups are what we call painting over a small area, usually covering some kind of blemish to the original paint. 

From scuff marks to children thinking the wall is a canvas, from chips in the paint to moving furniture and exposing older coats of paint, it’s rare for a house to never need touch-ups. 

But sometimes what you think is a small fix ends up making an even bigger mess. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re preparing properly for your paint touch-ups. 

Keep reading to learn about the do’s and don’ts of paint touch-ups. 

man on a stool, applying paint touch-ups to the corner of the wall

Do: Save Paint Specifically for Touch-Ups

When you paint a wall, it’s always best to keep some extra paint in case touch-ups are needed later. 

This saves you a lot of trouble down the road. You don’t need to worry about matching the paint exactly, or remembering what brand you used. You’ll also have the paint code in case you need more. 

Even if you didn’t do it last time, keep it in mind for the future. 

small round table with small tins of paint and paintbrushes strewn around them. Always keep some extra paint for future paint touch-ups

Don’t: Only Paint One Coat

It’s rare that the paint on your walls only needs one coat. Usually there’s a primer coat, at least two coats of colour, and a top coat. 

If you don’t match the number of coats, the touch-up is going to be thinner than the rest of the paint around it. This might not be as obvious, depending on the colour of the paint and the lighting in the room. 

Pastel colours are more forgiving than dark, deep colours. But even with the perfect colour match, if the paint thickness differs, direct light will usually show it. 

yellow triangle painted onto a black wall

Do: Match Paint Colours

If you didn’t keep extra last time you painted, it’s not the end of the world! Most paint distributors have good colour matching techniques. As long as you remember the brand of paint that you used, you should be okay. 

Go to the paint supplier and get a few swatches that are similar shades to what you’re looking for. This will help you narrow down what colour you’ve got on the walls. 

grid of painted rectangles, each one a different colour. These small squares would be easy to apply paint touch-ups to.

Don’t: Use Any Brand of Paint

It’s important to match the brand of paint. Even if you’ve found the identical colour, if it’s the wrong brand then the paint itself might be different. 

This means the paint might have a different surface texture. Or it might be glossier (or not as glossy) than what you’ve got at home. The opacity (how saturated the colour appears) might also be different once the paint dries. 

To avoid obvious differences between the touch-up and the rest of the paint, even if you’ve matched colours perfectly, be consistent with paint brands. 

roller in a tray of white paint

Do: Clean the Area

Another reason the touched-up area might look different is because of the painting conditions. When you painted the area originally, you probably made sure it was all clean and the area was prepared. 

If you don’t do this for the touch-up too, it’ll show. Dirt and dust can change how the paint sticks to the surface it’s being applied to. Make sure you clean the area, and let it fully dry, before painting the touch-up. 

hand wiping a big yellow sponge along a painted white window frame. cleaning the area is important before applying paint touch-ups

Don’t: Use Different Equipment

Ultimately, the touch-up will look better when the conditions are closest to how the original paint was applied. This means keeping the area clean, using the same number of coats of paint, keeping the paint the same. 

It also means using the same equipment. If you painted an area with a roller, don’t use a brush to do the touch-ups. While it seems wasteful to use a roller for a small area, the way the paint is applied will show. 

Paint brushes leave strokes in the paint, whereas rollers provide a smoother application. 

If you painted an area with a roller originally, use a roller for the touch-ups. If you painted with a brush originally, use a brush for touch-ups. 

roller dyed by blue paint resting on top of an open can of blue paint

Do: Get Creative

You don’t have to match the paint exactly. Sometimes a touch-up can actually be a creative prompt!

Instead of trying to match the paint exactly, you can do a colour block around the area, purposefully contrasting it to the rest of the wall. Or you could create small and intricate paintings around the blemishes. 

brick wall painted with one half blue and the other half white

The Art of Successful Paint Touch-Ups

If you want to avoid making an even bigger mess, it’s important to follow the proper steps. Paint touch-ups can draw even more attention when they’re not done correctly. Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind, and your walls will look good as new!

If you want to avoid dealing with touch-ups and just paint the wall entirely, that’s no problem! Hire one of our painters to help you out!

You’re in good company