There are lots of reasons for colour matching paint. When it needs to be done, here are Warline’s tips for getting the best match possible.
At the store:
Start with a decent sample. If possible start with a paint sample instead of a paint chip or a fan deck. Most fan decks and paint chips are printed in ink and this will affect the look of the colour, especially working in different sheens.
Order enough paint for the entire job all at once. This will allow you to get paint that was manufactured from the same batch. Two gallons of the same type of paint with same paint colour formula can look different if the paint came from different batches due to slight variations in the manufacturing formula. Ask the store to check this for you.
Work in gallons – not quarts. It is easier for a store to work out a formula in a gallon container. It will be more accurate.
Let the store know you want to approve the colour. Don’t order up all the paint and hand them a colour you want it matched to and hope for the best. Ask the person helping you to make up one gallon for you to approve before they mix the rest of the order.
Give the store enough time. They might need a few hours to get the formula down if they are busy. Colour matching is a bit of an art form so allow the staff enough time to get this right. Offer to come back at a bit later if you can.
Ask for a draw-down. There is just no way you can determine the accuracy based on a small spot on the top of a paint can lid. A draw-down is a larger sample that will help you determine the accuracy of the colour.
Sample on the sample. One of the best ways to check for accuracy is to apply the paint directly over the sample you have given the store. Remember what I said about sheen though so keep this in mind.
On the walls:
Box your paint. A tip from the pros when there is more than one gallon of paint being used in a room is to box the paint. This means combining multiple gallons of paint into a larger pail to blend the paint. It will eliminate any subtle changes between gallons of the same colour of paint.
Two coats – always. When it comes to the actual painting the base colour you are painting over needs to be properly covered with a minimum of two coats. Depending on the original wall colour, you might need to prime as well. So don’t prejudge your colour choice until you have done this.
When dealing with the paint store, don’t be afraid to ask who on their staff has the most experience with colour matching. It’s definitely not a rookie’s job.
Colour matching can be accurate. I find that the softer the colour the better the match usually is. We don’t colour match rich or deep colours unless absolutely necessary and when we do, we take extra time to also sample the colour on the wall. The more colourant in a paint, the more room there is for variation in the match.