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We rent out a flat and wish to be able to touch up the walls between tenants. I have used paint from the same tin to do the touch-ups but it is lighter then the paint that has been on the walls for 3 years. (The paint in the tin still looked OK after that time and had not gone off.)

So what paint system can I use the next time I decorate so the paint will be easy to touch up without showing?

(We are in the UK if it makes a difference)

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4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Short answer flat.

The unfortunate thing is flat tend to require more touch up as you can't wipe things off like you can with paints that have a sheen.

3 years I would just repaint the walls but if you are really against it here's what I would do. Use flat paint or an eggshell at the most and re-roll the walls with a thin quick coat. You can get away without cutting in the outlets, baseboards and ceiling. If you use flat you can probably touch it up with a small nap roller pretty good just feather it out really well.

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In addition to using the same tin, make sure you're feathering the new paint into the old. This will make any color changes harder to see. If the paint has faded significantly, I'd just repaint the entire wall.

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I've read that the more glossy a paint finish is, the worse it is to disguise touch-ups. The issue is the fact that the molecules that reflect light build up and make the touched up area more glossy than the rest of the wall.

So, flat paint is the best for touch-ups; higher gloss paint is best for scrubbing and cleaning. That's another flip-side: when you scrub, you dull the gloss. I do this at home with satin paint on all my walls: I touch up an area, then use a Mr. Clean Eraser to buff the area a little to make sure it is not more glossy than the rest of the wall.

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Paint takes quite a while to cure, during which the color typically darkens. Some brands might do this to varying degrees but it is common to all paints.

Whites tend to yellow which can make the difference more noticeable. As well, if you have smokers in your building, the paint will stain over time.

You are already on the right track by using paint from the original tin - every tin will be slightly different, even if its the same color from the same company.

Aside from repainting the entire wall, I don't think there is very much you can do.

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