Paint matching (am I expecting too much...?)

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A while back I had to demo a kitchen cabinet to allow a new fridge to be moved in... I was in a time crunch and didn't have time to go to a real paint store that day so I went to That Orange-Colored Store and had them mix me a quart of paint. I took with me a vent grille that had been painted over to color match. The guy tried, and even wasted a quart on his first try when it came out too dark (color is a flat white tinted slightly blue) second try looked good in the store but when I painted the wall it ended up slightly more brownish-grey than the rest of the wall. (I also used almost the whole quart just to cover the area that was behind one large kitchen cabinet...)
Unfortunately this @#$@#$% color is on about half the walls in my house, and I have a couple other little areas that I'd like to address (changing light fixtures in living room and removing mirror over mantel; repainting ceiling at top of stair landing where it was badly prepped; painting kitchen ceiling where I demo'd an ugly fluorescent fixture and never patched/painted the ceiling) but we're not quite ready to repaint any whole rooms yet. So I would really like to have a couple more quarts of paint matched to the existing so I can keep doing spot repairs as I get motivated and not have the house look all ghetto and have primer spots all over the darn place until whatever room gets a full repaint.
Today I had a dentist's appt. in the AM so I left early and hit the closest "real" paint store and brought the same vent grille with me. They "matched" it while I was visiting with Dr. Hook and I picked up two quarts (they used Benjamin Moore base.) I just opened one and spread a little paint on the corner of said vent, it looks like a pure white in comparison. Not even anywhere near as close as the paint I got from HD.
The few areas I've used the HD paint don't look awful, but it's obvious that there's a paint mismatch. Is that about the best I can hope for (in which case I should go back to HD and get a couple more quarts of the same thing I got last time,) or should I take everything back to the real paint store and let them try again? I realize you can't see what I'm working with so you can't really say "that's about as good as it gets, you're being too picky, just deal until you repaint" or "you can do better than that, you've just had bad luck with paint guys" (but I guess that's kind of the feedback I really need)
Not sure if posting pics would help, but if it would, I can take a pic of the last little spot I did, around the thermostat on the kitchen wall...
nate
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color is on about half the walls in my house,

Paint is a bitch. Even if you do save those things they put on the top of paint cans stating exactly how many parts of which color they put in it, you can have another gallon made down the road, and it comes out looking different.
This can be for several reasons:
The substrate. Putting it on different things. Different brands of drywall. Kilz or no Kilz? Primer or no primer? Which primer? How long has it been there, and how much UV rays from the sun has lightened it? If it is in a kitchen or bath area, how much oil or steam has changed the color? Paint looks different after it has soaked into a wall for five years than that which is a week old.
I have kept those little color things, and gone back later and gotten EXACTLY the same mix, and painted it on, and it looks different than the paint on there. Even clothes fade. Car paint jobs fade.
NEVER EVER EVER EVER LOOK AT PAINT UNTIL IT HAS DRIED A WEEK. It takes that long to get even close to the color it's going to be.
It's not so much a mismatch, as you can get exactly the same paint mixed and it won't match, it has to do with fading and lots of other factors.
Solutions: Do areas where the mismatching won't be obvious. Repaint the whole thing from the get go. Change the color scheme so it don't matter. If you are doing remodeling, prime properly, or Kilz, and then, it may take two or three coats to get it exactly right. Lower expectations - what you think is an obvious mismatch won't be noticed by others.
And lastly, consider the ambient light. Lots of paints and colors look different when viewed at 9 AM versus 2 PM. On a sunny day, or a cloudy day.
HTH, just some things to ponder.
Steve, who knows paint will drive you batty, but only if you let it.
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color is on about half the walls in my

Like to add, when touching up even from an original can, blend/fog by running the brush/roller virtually dry way past the area being done. Differences are harder to notice.
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Red Green wrote:

IME and IMO this is the best solution for the OP assuming that the new paint color is pretty close. One can also feather out by diluting the paint.
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wall. The color difference will be less noticeable where painted wall meets unpainted wall due to light hitting each differently and you'll still avoid repainting the whole room. I'll also second the opinion of dry roller feathering.
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It's not an option *yet* as most walls to which I'm doing this still have areas that need to be addressed. I'd like to be able to take a couple days and attack the whole mess but I'm picking away at this for a couple hours each evening etc. and am just trying to find a stopgap so whatever I'm working on doesn't look too objectionable.
nate
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It's not at all, that's the problem. I've had three different batches of paint mixed and only one was close enough to even try putting it on the wall, and it is clearly different - patches look like shadows.
nate
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What sheen paint? Sheen differences can look like shadows or different colors when it is the reflectance that is the difference. Flat paint is the easiest to match on walls.
R
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It's flat. (ugh. Who uses flat paint in a kitchen?)
nate
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wrote:

I guess I just don't repaint often enough-- or maybe too often-- but in 50 years of home-owning and doing my own painting, I don't recall a single time that I tried to paint part of a wall-- and only a handful of times that I painted less than the entire room.
Jim
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We bought a very old house a couple years ago, and the PO's repainted before the sale - and they apparently were big fans of mounting stuff on the wall (e.g. mirrors etc.) and were NOT big fans of removing things like light fixtures, mirrors, switch plates, etc. when repainting. So for an example, when we had air conditioning installed and had the old round thermostat replaced with a new programmable one, there was an ugly exposed area of old paint, mounting holes, etc. left behind with a big ridge of brush marks showing the outline of the old thermostat. Likewise, they'd glued pieces of mirror on the wall in the living room to conceal the old electrical boxes for wall sconces; when I ripped those down to install new sconces I've got more ugliness. (but I still have to take the big mirror - mounted like a bathroom mirror, with clips - down over the mantel, which will cause another big mess-o-ugliness) In each case there's enough brush marks, holes, etc. that most of these areas get a skim coat of drywall mud, primer, etc.
Once I've got enough of these really egregious trouble spots done, then we'll likely go ahead and repaint whole walls or rooms, but I'm just trying to keep the house from looking like a perpetual construction site while this is going on.
nate
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In that case just pull paint patches all over the wall and tell people it's Venetian Plaster. They'll go, "Ooooh!" and you'll wink at the wife. ;)
R
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Hah. The funny thing is I think we might just do venetian plaster in the living room :)
nate
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You're expecting way too much. If you had the original can of paint, it would probably not be dead on out in the middle of a wall. Any touch up painting will always require painting corner to corner, top to bottom.
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At last, a reasonable man.
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I saved a quart of kitchen wall satin finish paint from when we painted 8 years ago and when we had to change the mount for our cordless telephone answering system last month, I mixed a little paint with the drywall mud and filled in the appropriate areas. Then I sanded down the entire area and painted it with a 2" roller, doing it twice. I can't find the edge marks because it blended in so well. But, the paint is a very mild off-white/yellow color. I washed the whole wall before starting the patching, and even the sheen matches so closely that it is difficult where the transition is. But, it was the exact same apint.
Where I go, to the local big orange box, they smear a heavy coat of the newly mixed paint on a white paper and then dry it thoroughly with a hair dryer and check that against the sample you provide. They prefer an actual chip of the paint to be matched, from some inconspicuous point on the wall. If they are esperienced, and the color is a little off, they can add a little of one of the colorants to the original mix, put it in the shaker and try a second time. Then they have to change the formula on the paper that they print out to stick on the can.
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I saved a quart of kitchen wall satin finish paint from when we painted 8 years ago and when we had to change the mount for our cordless telephone answering system last month, I mixed a little paint with the drywall mud and filled in the appropriate areas. Then I sanded down the entire area and painted it with a 2" roller, doing it twice. I can't find the edge marks because it blended in so well. But, the paint is a very mild off-white/yellow color. I washed the whole wall before starting the patching, and even the sheen matches so closely that it is difficult where the transition is. But, it was the exact same apint.
Where I go, to the local big orange box, they smear a heavy coat of the newly mixed paint on a white paper and then dry it thoroughly with a hair dryer and check that against the sample you provide. They prefer an actual chip of the paint to be matched, from some inconspicuous point on the wall. If they are esperienced, and the color is a little off, they can add a little of one of the colorants to the original mix, put it in the shaker and try a second time. Then they have to change the formula on the paper that they print out to stick on the can.
reply:
I've had good luck with the big box store, too. And if you can peel a big enough chip off to put in their computer, it will match pretty good, even if it has aged or faded. It's all up to the individual, as slight differences may not be a big deal to some people, yet others have to have it just so.
Steve
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But if the paint is textured it can toss the reader into tilt mode I hear. Any sample surface not perpendicular to the reader will be interpreted as a slightly different shade. Not saying it always will but the probability is a lot higher.

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N8N wrote:

Follow up:
apparently I wasn't being too picky.
Somehow, miracle of miracles, I actually managed to get free from work twice in one week so I went back to the Real Paint Store and told the guy I wasn't happy with the match. He tuned it up and it's MUCH better. Haven't rolled any on the walls yet but it looks like it is a better match than I got from the Orange Colored Store. I'll be happy even if it isn't perfect, just so long as the patches aren't real obvious until such time as we can repaint. Guess I just got the b-teamer on the first attempt. And the guy did take notes on his touchup so I can get more if I need it, but I hope I won't.
So now I get to patch the ceiling in the kitchen, 'cause I can paint it. Yay! (I think yay?)
Now another paint matching question - I have another area that needs some spot repairs that's a slightly different color. In that room however the vent grilles are on the baseboards so I don't have any easily removable pieces painted the wall color that I can take to the paint store. How do I get that matched? or do I just take a whole buttload of color chips home with me and start holding them up to the wall? (my eye really isn't quite good enough to narrow it down enough that I can just grab two or three chips...) Or is there an easy way to peel a sheet of paint off of a wall?
nate
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Another good tip is too *wash* the entire wall. A lot of the mismatch is due more to accumulate dust/dirt/grime than to actual fading - especially indoor areas not exposed to lots of direct sunlight.
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