How to Touch up Flat Wall Paint Like a Pro

Painting the interior of your home is like a master artist painting on a canvas. After performing the bulk of the work, you have to sit back and admire the artistic flare. Over time though, as your walls get dings and scuffs, a pro tip is to touch up your paint frequently to keep it fresh and neat.  Just like a master artist, you need to touch up a few spots to complete the original painting project or restore the original painting project to mint condition. As 25 year veterans in the rental property management industry, Utopia Management understand the ins and outs of a professional touch-up job, and share these tips with us.

Touch up painting can also occur years after the original paint job, and can save you from having to paint the entire room or house again. The important thing is not revisiting a home painting job, but knowing how to touch up paint like a pro.
How to Touch up Flat Wall Paint


An Overview of the Touch Up Process

Do you simply buy a can of paint, open it up, and start slopping a few brush loads of paint onto the surface? The answer is no, as touching up a paint job requires thorough planning and immaculate execution.

Follow this process to get the job done right:

  • Planning: save extra paint
  • Tools: use the right tools for professional results
  • Technique: small areas and matching textures

How to Store Extra Paint

Although you made sure not to purchase too much paint, you can expect to have some paint left over after a touch up project. The first step to being able to touch up like a pro is to have the exact same paint on hand. The key is to understand how to store paint, as putting it in the wrong storage condition can diminish the quality of the paint.

  • Store excess paint in an airtight container, which can be the original can, but preferably in a glass jar that an airtight lid closes. Air is the enemy of paint, and a fully loaded paint storage jar eliminates most of the issues surrounding air exposure. Outside of preventing air from diminishing the quality of leftover paint, you also need to factor in the temperature of the room where you store the paint. A room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit represents the optimal paint storage temperature.
  • Label the extra paint by date and color to keep your paint inventory organized for the next touch up project.

What If I Don’t Have the Old Paint?

  • Although you have the type of paint used for the original job seared into your memory, the fact remains that it has probably been a few years since you completed the project. If the paint is too old, or if you don’t have it, you’ll need to buy new paint. Hopefully you know the exact name, brand, and texture of the original paint. Ideally, you need to buy touch up paint that is identical to the color used for the original job. Using the same colored paint from the same manufacturer is essential because the same paint color created by other manufacturers can have easy to detect differences. If you saved one of the barcode labels from the original batch of paint cans, you should be able to buy touch up paint that matches the color and finish of the original paint.
  • It’s important that you repaint flat with flat, high gloss with high gloss, and eggshell with eggshell, otherwise the spots will be highly noticeable. If you don’t have the original description of your paint, peel off or cut out a section of the wall and take it to the hardware store for professional matching.

What Touch Up Tool Should You Use?

The tools used to touch up a paint job differ somewhat from the tools used to finish the original project. Although precision matters for painting an entire room, it is even more important for someone that conducts a touch up a paint job.

Make sure you have access to the following tools of the touch up trade:

  • Paint tray
  • Nail filler
  • Small, angled paint brush
  • Medium size foam paint roller
  • Sanding block

A small, angled paint brush allows you to cover the tiniest spots that need to be repainted.

Touch Up Painting 101

Touch up painting does not differ much from competing a paint job for an entire room. You still have to stir the touch up paint thoroughly before applying it on a wall. Discard any watery or discolored paint, and then take it back to the store for an exchange. Any new paint made in store must match the finish of the original paint. Experienced painters understand that wet paint does not present an accurate appearance. Wait until the paint you used dries before deciding whether the touch up color and finish matches the original paint. Although you probably do not need to use a large roller brush, any type of roller brush used should match the texture left behind by the original roller brush.

You can expect to use a small, angled brush for most of the touch up work. This means you need to maintain steady control over the brush to address small areas of a wall.

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