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  • Joe Hulett

How to Successfully Match Interior Paint

I've read many different articles that explain how to match existing paint after patchwork has been done. I've also had the pleasure of learning with a hands on approach on matching paint color. In this article, I'll be diving into the different suggestions on paint matching as well as my personal opinion on what has worked for me. Do you know how many colors actually exist? I'm sure you guessed about 18 decillion, in which you are right. However, the human eye can only see about 10 million out of those. All of those colors stem from the main colors, red, blue, yellow, orange, pink, green, purple, brown, grey, black, and white. This means that everything we see is actually a combination of these colors. 1. Visual Matching Many articles suggest that simply taking a photo or taking a side by side comparison of paint swatches will achieve the results they seek -- This is far from the right way to do it if you want to achieve a color match that is barely noticeable by the naked eye. There are also other considerations you need to make, like the sheen of paint. Sheen is how reflective the paint finish will be, which will drastically change the final look of the paint. There are 6 sheens of paint - Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, and High Gloss. While visual matching on color is not suggested, visual determination will be needed to find the sheen of the paint. Unfortunately, there are no devices (that I know of) that can tell you the sheen of paint. 2. Color Tools Sherwin Williams sells a device called a COLORSNAP™ which is a small, battery powered device that connects to your Android or iPhone via bluetooth. Once your phone is synced to the device, you simply remove the lens cap, hold it to the wall, push a button, and voila! close matches of paint will show up right on your phone. In my opinion, this is a good device but could use some improvement. While colors do come visually close, it's still visible to the naked eye especially depending on the angle of view. 3. Spectrophotometer This has been my go-to for matching paint because it provides the closest match possible. This way, all I need to do is determine the sheen of paint. With a spectrophotometer, all you need is a dime sized sample of the paint you are trying to match. When I do paint match jobs in my area, before any drywall repair or patching is done, I take a small clean sample from the wall FIRST and set it aside. When I have the patch almost ready for paint, I'll bring the sample to my nearest Lowes, Home Depot, Sherwin Williams, or local hardware store which typically have a spectrophotometer at the paint desk. Always call first to save yourself a trip! They will ask you what type of paint, what sheen, and how much you need. If you are unsure of the sheen, simply ask for a recommendation from the associate so they can attempt to determine it. Knowing where the paint match is to be applied is also some good information, since certain types of sheen are typically used in certain areas of the home. Once you get the area painted, give it 6-8 hours to dry before you make any judgements. This has been my most successful option for paint matching! If you or someone you know is in need of drywall repair and paint matching, Patch Pros provides services for both small and large jobs. Our services are budget friendly and affordable so you don't have to break the bank for small eye sores!

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