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We painted our cabinets about 2.5 years ago when we moved into this house. Over time some of our cabinets have gotten a few paint chips and we wanted to patch those up.

We cleaned the surface, lightly sanded, and painted using the same paint can we used 2.5 years ago. For some reason, the paint is not blending in (see photo). Will this blend better if I add another coat? Did I need to use primer?

enter image description here

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    Even using the same paint, old and new seldom matches. Colour usually fades over time and cleaning usually needs to be much better than a simple wipe down. Painting in small patches/sections always shows up.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 12:31
  • It shouldn't fade after 2.5 years on interior cabinets unless they are in direct sunlight from a window. Also, If the cabinets faded the new paint would be darker. I have never in 21 years in the business seen paint fade (get lighter) in the can. They do yellow (oil base) in the can.
    – Rob West
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 15:39

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  1. After the application is it fully dry/cured? Is it oil-based or water-based? Oil base will take considerably more time to dry and cure. Most all paints are 40-50% lighter wet and darken as they dry/cure.

  2. Did you properly stir the paint? The pigments will settle over time and need a vigorous stir or shake. A drill can do it with the proper bit. I'd take it back to where you bought it and ask them to re-shake it for you. That's the best way to get it back to its original consistency. Even Wal-Mart has a paint shaker.

  3. I agree with @JACK on the feathering technique when touching up.

P.S. Are you sure you grabbed the correct can of paint? Painters often switch lids and even cans in the course of their workday. I can't count the number of times I've seen this over the course of 21 years in the biz.

If all else fails, you can remove a door or drawer from the cabinets and take it to a paint store and have them color match it. If they are experienced they can match it perfectly. We do this 20x a day at my store.

I have been a paint store general manager for 21 years.

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  • Thank you for your comments. I’ll take it back to have it mixed again and try the feathering technique. I am 100% sure it’s the same can of paint. I bought it 2.5y ago and placed it in a specific spot for this exact purpose.
    – David
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 17:14
  • You've made some great points. I have cans of paint that are older than 21 years.. :-) +1 There was a time when people/painters mixed their own colors from different cans of paint... not the fancy machines we have now.
    – JACK
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 19:36
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That looks like resin to me.

Heavy on resin, light on pigment.

Did you thoroughly and completely stir the paint first? When I'm dealing with paint that has sat 2 years, it can take me 15 minutes to get it throughly stirred back - most of it is a very heavy lump of "clay" at the bottom of the can.

That "clay" is primarily the pigment -- the part that gives color to paint. What's more, as it settles, it tends to settles in layers -- my gray marine primer comes up pure black as I start to stir it, but grays up as I get deeper into the "clay" and stir up the white parts of the pigment.

As you can see, someone who does not know about stirring paint, or stirs for a few seconds and abandons any effort to dig into the "clay", will find themselves with very much the wrong color, and far less pigment in their paint than they were expecting.

Also note that with the newer low-VOC latex paints, they do not have enough nasty toxic VOCs to suppress growth of mold. As such, old paint can bloom with mold. You'll know it when you open the can - the paint will stink! And most people think "well, it's normal for paint to stink" - true generally, but these low-VOC paints should not smell like that. And then they apply it to walls, and they have a nightmare on their hands because the smell Never Goes Away. They have no choice but total removal of the bad paint - the hard way. All that to say, you should be frightened of old latex paint.

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You've learned a valuable lesson in home improvement. Paint changes color. Sometimes you can get better results by trying to feather in the repaired painting or even doing the entire strip or section instead of a spot since lighting and shadows can hide a slight change in color. As noted in the other answers, it's very important to thoroughly mix paint.

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