The interior walls of your home can face a lot of wear and tear, traffic, and abuse over the years. While we like to look at these little blemishes, scrapes, scuffs, and stains as memories made in a home full of love, we also value the look and feel of a freshly touched-up wall that can hold space for new memories! Your interior walls, just like us as people, can always use a little TLC every once in a while. If you’re looking to get your walls back in tip-top shape and freshen them up, touching up the interior walls with paint can be a much simpler, more cost-effective way to do so, rather than repainting the entire wall.
We’ll be honest, paint touch-ups can be a little bit finicky. If you don’t approach this process with the proper paint, tools, or technique, your touch-up job might stand out more than the original blemish on your wall.
In this blog post, we’re sharing everything you need to know about how to touch up walls with paint on the interior of your home, from the preparation and paint product to the technique needed to give your walls the love they deserve with the quality you desire.
4 Things to Consider When Touching Up Interior Walls with Paint
When touching up your interior walls with paint, in order to get the best result, you’ll want to consider a few things before you begin:
- Match the color.
- Match the sheen.
- Match the texture.
Of course, depending on how long it’s been since you last painted or touched up your walls, matching any or all of these elements may be impossible.
Match the Paint Color
Using the same paint color is only half the battle when it comes to touching up your interior walls. Using the original paint from the original paint job is the absolute best way to have the greatest chance of getting a good touch-up. That’s why we always recommend saving your extra paint, even if there’s just a little bit left. You never know when you’ll need just a little bit to make some touch-ups, so seal those paint cans back up and store them in a safe place out of your way.
Just make sure the paint is stored in a place where it won’t freeze. When paint freezes, it more often than not goes bad. This damage is irreversible and you cannot use the paint again. Under the basement stairs or in an interior storage room are great places to store your leftover paint.
If using the original paint is not feasible, the next best option is to use the same paint product in the same sheen. While this is not fool-proof, it will definitely work better than using a totally different product and sheen level.
It’s important to keep in mind that different paints tint slightly differently because of their different physical make-ups. This is usually not noticeable when painting different areas of your wall or around corners. However, when overlaying paint on top of a different product, the difference is just noticeable enough to make it stick out.
Another factor that can throw off your paint color is the paint store tinter. Let’s say you bought paint a year ago and the tinter was .01 off on Maroon (a very potent color). Since then, the store has done its yearly calibration and it’s right on the money now. Therefore, your original paint vs your new paint will actually have a slight variance of tint amounts in the paints. Once again, this is not noticeable for separate rooms or around corners, but when overlaying paint for touch ups, it really sticks out.
The bottom line when matching the paint color for touch-ups is that the best option is always going to be to use your original paint from the original paint job. This eliminates many “what-ifs” regarding color and tint when touching up your interior walls.
Match the Paint Sheen
After matching the paint color, matching the paint sheen is next on the scale of importance when touching up your interior walls. It is really important to match the sheen, which is another reason why using the original paint is best! Flat, Matte, Eg-Shell, Satin, and Semi-Gloss sheens all have slight differences in appearance on walls. Paints in different product lines may have different sheen levels for the same sheen as well.
Sounds a bit confusing, right? Let us explain!
For instance, one paint product in a Satin may have 10-20 units of sheen whereas the next product has a Satin with a range of 15-25 units of sheen. This variance can happen between companies as well. Not all Flat, Matte, Satin, Eg-Shell, or Semi-Gloss sheens are the same.
On another note, a certain paint product from the years 2000-2015 may have 0-5 units of sheen for a flat finish. That same product may have undergone a revision in 2015, and in order to make it slightly more washable, they shifted to 5-10 units of sheen for the flat finish. Even though it’s the same company, the same product, and the “same” sheen, the two paints will actually be different. To sum this “sticky” sheen explanation up, using the original product from the original job is (again!) the best way to ensure a proper paint sheen match.
Match the Paint Texture
Another thing that is crucial to consider when touching up interior walls is to match the texture of the walls. Even some professional painters fail to do this. In order to get a quality paint touch–up, you must match the existing paint texture, whether it be brushed, rolled, or sprayed. It will be very noticeable if you overlay a different texture on top of an existing paint texture on a wall.
Put simply, if you want to touch up areas that have been brushed, use a brush. If you want to touch up areas that have been rolled, use a roller. This will give you matching texturing and a much better blend on your wall.
Duration is the final key factor to consider when touching up your interior walls with paint. Interior paint colors fade over time in the sun. Even if you use the original paint product that you used on your paint job, over time, that paint may not even match. It most likely will still match in a closet or hallway with no light, but in open foyers, living rooms, kitchens, etc, that get a ton of light, that color will somewhat fade, and it doesn’t fade evenly.
In our experience, we’ve seen where someone will take a faded part of the wall, cut it out, and bring it to the paint store to match it. The new paint will match decently where they cut it, but, horribly around the next corner, because around the next corner, the same room gets 50% of the sunlight that the other wall gets. Since your current walls are experiencing an ombré effect undetectable by your eyes once the touch up is complete you’re left with interior walls that end up looking more like leopard print.
If you cannot get these 4 things to line up you may end up having to repaint the entire wall from one breakpoint to another. We usually try to start and stop in the corners of the wall. If any of these things above are a bit off, it’s very hard to notice while turning a corner due to shadows and angles.
The Professional Technique for How to Touch Up Interior Walls with Paint
Touching up your interior walls does require a specific technique and knowledge. There are different people who have different nuances to their touch-up technique. However, after 12 years of watching the best painters do touch ups, learning, fixing, and teaching professional painters myself, this is the best technique I’ve found to do this.
Step 1: First, I start with (hopefully) the original paint.
Step 2: Next, I make sure the paint is nice and mixed properly, as paint does settle over time.
Step 3: I gather the necessary tools. I use a brush and a small mini roller either from a touch-up kit or a 1/4” purdy white dove 4’ roller.
Step 4: I dip my brush into the paint, apply it where I want to touch up the wall, and then use the dry roller to thinly spread it out and create a stipple effect. I leave the middle of the touch up a little thicker, but really work to blend in the edges into the original wall.
Step 5: I repeat this process until all touch ups are complete. For areas that need to be touched up around the trim, I’ll put a little bit of painter’s tape on, run my brush over it, and then do a little bit of blending with my roller an inch or two off the trim, depending on where the original walls shifts from brush marks to roller stipple.
After reading about the important elements to consider when touching up your interior walls and the technique required, you may be ready to hand it over to a professional painter to get the job done right.
If that’s the case and you’re in the Raleigh area, we’d love to partner with you! You can click here to book a free estimate with our team.