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How to do interior paint touch-ups

Your home is meant to be lived in – which means that over time it’s going to start showing some wear and tear. We get it.

Just because someone got a little too zealous opening a door or maybe your toddler channeled their inner Picasso, doesn’t mean that you need to repaint the entire wall (at least in most cases!). Below are a few simple steps to doing a quick paint touch-up by yourself. But, if the project you’re facing is a bit outside the scope of DIY, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

  1. Before you make repairs, clean the area with a sponge, mild detergent and water. Dirt, grime and dust can build up on the wall’s surface, which can affect paint adhesion when you begin touching it up. Lightly wipe the work area with the soapy sponge and then dry it with a clean towel before proceeding.
  2. Dents, small holes (nail holes, etc.) and deeper scratches can be filled in with spackling compound. Use a piece of fine-grit sandpaper and lightly smooth the surface around the area to be repaired. This will help to remove any fragments or raised portions of the wall. Next, open a container of premixed spackling compound and scoop up a small amount of it with the edge of a putty knife. Use just enough to fill in the hole or crack. Put the compound-covered blade of the putty knife at a 45-degree angle to the wall and spread the compound over the hole or crack in a smooth, feathering motion. Do this until the hole is completely filled in. Scrape away excess compound from the wall with your putty knife with the blade at a 90-degree angle to the wall. Wipe any remaining excess with a damp cloth before it sets. It will take a few hours for the patch to properly set. If the patch is slightly raised from the rest of the surface, lightly sand it again with fine-grit sandpaper.  If you’re working on holes that are 2" or greater in diameter, you may need to purchase or make a wall-repair patch and apply it before using joint compound to seal it in place.
  3. You must now prime the repaired areas for optimal paint adhesion and color blending. Without primer, the touched-up spot will stand out from the rest of the painted surface. Choose a high-quality, interior latex primer. Use a small or medium-sized paintbrush (depending on the size of the repaired area) to apply a layer of primer over the spot. Try to keep the size of the primed area confined to the dimensions of the repair for best results. Let the primer dry completely, as recommended by the manufacturer’s directions.
  4. It can be difficult to match the color exactly if the touch-up paint is not from the same can. So whenever possible, always store leftover paint so that you can use it for touch ups when needed to get the best results. Apply the same paint used to paint the wall its current color. If you don’t have any of the original paint left, you can try to match it with the same brand, color and finish.
  5. For best results use the same applicator that was used to paint the last coat of paint on the wall that you’re touching up (i.e. roller if the wall was rolled, brush if it was brushed). This helps the touched-up area blend with the surrounding surface. This will help replicate the surface texture. Use as little paint as possible and apply small amounts at a time. When using a brush, “feather” the edges, beginning at the inside of the touch-up, moving out toward the edges. Feathering is a technique where you extend your brush strokes slightly beyond the repaired area to blend into the surrounding paint for a smooth transition.
  6. Let the paint dry completely for the time recommended by the paint manufacturer. Then check to see how visible the touch-ups are by looking at the wall at an angle. Check its appearance in both natural and artificial light at different times of the day. If you think too critically, you may always see the touched-up spots, but someone visiting your home may not be able to. So be liberal in your assessment.

Note – the above process is a standard process and should be viewed as a guideline only. This process may not be suitable for all surfaces. Results may differ based on initial damage to wall, age of wall paint and/or touch up paint and application.