This content was republished with permission from Dunn Edwards Paint.
Touch-up refers to the application of paint to a recently (less than 1 year) painted surface. These may be missed areas (holidays) or areas of repair. No touch-up is perfect, but if done correctly, it should blend in acceptably with the surrounding painted area.
There are several variables that can affect the appearance of touched-up areas
- The application technique used by the painting contractor will affect the appearance.
- Temperature and humidity differences from the time of the original painting.
- Darker colors are usually harder to touch-up.
- Paints with a sheen (non-flats) are harder to touch-up.
- Excessive film build can make a touch-up more noticeable.
- Surface porosity and texture differences, especially when there is a critical light source, make touch-up more difficult.
- Dirt or other surface contaminants can negatively affect the touch-up.
- If the original coat of paint was not applied at full film build, then it may not show the true color or sheen.
What are the best practices when performing a touch-up?
- Use the same batch of paint and apply the touch-up in the same manner in which the original paint was applied. In most cases, if the original coat was sprayed, it is not possible or practical to perform the touch-up using the same application procedure. However, it may be possible to set aside a small amount of the originally sprayed material for touch-up use. If there is no original paint available, make sure the touch-up paint used has been tinted properly (correct base, correct color formula and product).
- If given a choice between a brush and roller, always use a roller to perform the touch-up. The preferred roller is a "weenie" roller with a good quality synthetic cover. Choose a nap thickness of ¼ to ½ inch.
- Make sure the surface area is clean and free from any dirt, dust, grease or oils.
- The surface must be dry and free from all loose or peeling paint.
- When loading the roller, use the least amount of paint necessary. This will help to limit excessive film build in the touched-up area.
- When performing a touch-up on a smooth wall with a brush avoid feathering into the originally painted areas. Feathering with a brush will produce a flat “halo” (outline) around the touch-up. Feathering with a synthetic roller cover will aid in blending slight differences in color and sheen without producing a noticeable halo.
- When performing a touch-up on a smooth wall with a waterbased non-flat paint, the paint should be thinned (about 5-10% clean water) in order to help minimize the sheen difference from the original application.
- If a given surface requires an excessive number of touch-up applications, it may be best to repaint the entire wall from corner to corner.
Dunn-Edwards® or any other paint manufacturer cannot guarantee that all paints in all colors will provide adequate touchup. It is extremely important that we educate our customers on how to properly perform a touch-up and the variables that can affect how well a touch-up blends into the original paint.