Does touch up paint work?

We've all been there. Our once perfectly painted wall is now slightly scuffed by furniture, drawn on by kids, or scraped and peeled by pets. No matter how small the imperfections may be, we can't help but fixate on them until those flaws pretty much become the only thing we can see.

The wall is not in such bad shape that it needs a complete overhaul, but it's not in good enough shape for you to be happy about it. So what's the first option you think of? Touch-up paint. But you might be wondering—does touch-up paint really work?

The answer, in a nutshell, is YES—but only if you really know what you are doing.
There are trained experts who specialize in touch-up painting that do a fantastic job at making your damaged wall look brand new. But do you really want to hire an expert or would you rather take a gamble at doing it yourself? Well, if you've decided to do it yourself, then here is everything you need to know about touching up your walls paint job.

You have to evaluate the color

Do you still have any leftover paint from the original paint job? If not, the process of matching the paint shade on your own can be a bit of a nightmare. Usually, if a few years have passed since your original paint job, even if you go out and buy the same exact shade from the same exact brand, chances are that they will no longer be an exact match. So you might have to do a lengthy manual search, or even a mix and match to get the shade right for your touch-up painting project. That's a problem you'll have to deal with on your own if you don't have an expert on hand. 

Now, if you do have leftover matching paint, then your job becomes way easier—However—you will need to use the right tools and follow the correct techniques to successfully touch up the surface without it looking out of place. 

Get ready to take notes because here's a list of all the things you'll need to successfully pull this off:

  • 2 Sponges
  • A Mild Cleaning Liquid or Mild Detergent
  • A Clean Towel
  • Some Cloth 
  • Sandpaper
  • A Putty Knife
  • Spackling Compound
  • Joint Compound
  • Primer
  • A Small to Medium Sized Paintbrush
  • A Paint Roller (Optional)
  • The Correct Shade of Paint
  • Paint Reducer

We hope you wrote that down! Now that you're all set with your equipment, you're almost ready to start the work. Before beginning, here are some expert tips and tricks to implement which will definitely help make the entire process easier for you.

Tips to touch up the paint

  • 1. Open up your doors and windows. Remember, proper ventilation is key—otherwise you'll be distracted by fumes and feel stuffy and uncomfortable.
  • 2. Don't shake the paint can. If you're using leftover paint that's been sitting around for a while, it will likely have a thick film on top which you need to scrape off first.
  • 3. Cover all surfaces. This includes nearby furniture, fixtures, and the floor. One never knows how messy each job can really be.
  • 4. Lightly dip your brush in paint. Do not layer your brush with a thick coat. Start small and build with light layers.
  • 5. Do not ever dispose of liquid paint down a drain; It will clog up your pipes. Dry paint can be disposed of in the trash bin.

Now that we've got that out of the way, you're finally ready to begin. Here's how to go about touching up a worn-out paint job on the desired surface.

Properly clean the area you plan to work on.

Use the mild detergent or cleaning liquid to clean the desired area with a sponge. We mentioned in our list that you will need 2 sponges. Here's why: Sponge 1 should be nice and sudsy in order to clean away all the dirt and grime. Then, Sponge 2 should be clean and dry to wipe away the soapy cleaning liquid from the surface. Next, use a clean towel to properly dry the surface.

Examine the damage.

You need to plan ahead and take stock of all the repairs you need to do to even out the surface before you begin painting. Based on this, you'll need to scrape, fill, spackle, and more. For small holes, scratches, dents, and gouges, you will first need to smoothen the area with sandpaper. Once the area is smooth, you can use your putty knife to fill the holes with spackling compound. Be sure to wipe away any excess spackling compound with a cloth before it dries. The spackle usually takes a few hours to fully dry and if it seems uneven after drying, you can use the sandpaper to smooth it down match the surface.
NOTE: If the holes in your wall are larger than 2 inches in diameter, then you will need to use a wall repair patch before you can proceed to the next step.
Once you're satisfied with the surface, use a joint compound to seal it in place.

It's time to prime!

Use a small to medium-sized paintbrush to apply primer over the area you've just worked on. Try not to prime outside of the repaired area for best results later.

NOTE: Use the same tool for touch-ups that you used for the original paint job. If you previously used a roller to create the original paint job, use a roller for the touch-up as well. The same goes for a paintbrush—if a brush was used before, use it for the touch-up.

We sincerely hope you've managed to find the right shade that perfectly matches your original paint job. Now use your roller or brush to paint over the repaired area. If using a paintbrush then remember to use the "feather" technique. Feathering is a technique where you gently "feather" out or extend your brush strokes outward.

 Beginning at the inside of the touch-up, move your brush out toward the edges. Do so with your brush until you're slightly outside the repaired area in order to properly blend your masterpiece into the surrounding paint. 

Have a friend examine your work

Remember, you will not be able to objectively judge your own work. You may end up looking too closely at your touch-up job and only see tiny "flaws" which aren't really noticeable to anyone else. Ask a friend, roommate, or family member to take a look and let you know whether the touch-up job looks natural or not.

And you're done! We hope you found these instructions helpful.

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