I stupidly bought a 5-gallon bucket of untinted "deep" interior base paint thinking that I could paint walls white with it. Only after putting about two gallons on the walls and letting it dry did I realize that although the paint is white when wet, it is almost translucent when it dries, and I should have had the base tinted before applying. The old paint color bleeds through, even after multiple coats.

So I've learned my lesson about untinted bases. My question is whether I can now just paint over the walls with a properly tinted paint. Is there any reason why not?

Secondarily, is there anything I can do to salvage the ~3 gallons of untinted base that I have? It was expensive, high-quality paint and I'd hate to waste it. The paint store said they can't tint partially full buckets. Can I tint it in any other way? I'm not particular about the color as long as it is whitish.

  • They can tint partial buckets but they may choose not to. One reason is that their machine has a 1-gallon button and a 5-gallon button. It can tint but it won't match any color.
    – Matthew
    May 17, 2019 at 2:18
  • @Matthew And it's more than that. Deep base, medium base and white base all have different amounts of paint in the can. Deep base has less paint to make room for more pigment. So you would need to buy 1 gallon of same deep base and measure exactly how much paint is in it, transfer exactly that amount of your deep base into a gallon can, and have them tint it. May 17, 2019 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


Yeah, I'm afraid you blew it. Right idea, wrong base.

Paint is made in several levels of base. A white base which has lots and lots of white tint, and is intended to have small amounts of color added, to ultimately create an off-white. A medium base has less white tint and is intended to make more colorific colors like pastels (most architectural coatings are pastels or off-whites). And a deep base has no white tint at all, and is intended to be entirely colored by the squirts of color from the tinting machine. This is to allow deep and high-impact colors such as

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What's more, deep bases are expected to use a lot of squirts of pigment from the carousel. Those pigments aren't cheap, so they up the price on the assumption they'll be giving you a lot of pigment. Also, they leave extra room in the can for all that pigment, so to add insult to injury, you get less paint.

So what you have there is effectively varnish.

How do you fix it? Well, you may notice that the pigment carousel at the hardware store doesn't have any white pigment. The white pigment comes in the white or medium base cans. It is not possible for the paint shop to turn a deep base into white.

You might try buying some titanium dioxide pigment and seeing if you can pigment-load the base. It's not terribly expensive; it's worth some experimentation. Since you are only using one pigment, there's a fair chance the colors will match even with different ratios of base to pigment.

Your other option is to buy a gallon or quart of the same stuff, and measure exactly how much paint is actually in the can. Then meter out your 5-gal., putting exactly that much paint into new cans. They should be able to tint that, but it'll have to be a bold color.

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... And in the future, even out your surfaces with primer. It's designed to make unequal surfaces equal... and it's cheaper. Use primer to prevent bleed-through, not paint.

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