I am in the process of painting new level 5 walls. I am applying one layer of primer and 2 layers of paint. I have different finish - flat for ceiling, satin and eggshell for walls.

As I am doing touch ups on the paint because of defects on the walls/ceiling I want to fix, I am wondering if I reapplying primer and then 2 layers of paint create a noticeable mark between the previsously area painted and the freshly area painted.


Does touch ups painting (adding paint on a previously painted wall with the exact same paint) create noticeable marks between old and new?

  • 3
    A) what is a "level 5 wall"? B) If you've already primed & painted and need to just touch up, why are you priming again?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 16:37
  • Level 5 drywall finish. In the case I need to touchup the dry wall to cover a ding, a small "non-flat area", or remove a scratch with mud, I would re-prime and then paint again. Based on feedback I may not prime. if not needed
    – Max
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 16:39
  • One office I worked in had SOME level 5 walls and there was a special painter who came in after any wall damage to those particular walls and he had a kit to mix and tune paints on the spot and various feathering tools and it cost a million dollars per square foot, or maybe I've got that wrong IDK, but based on my observations, patching a wall like that invisibly is more than a matter of slapping on 3 layers and feathering with a brush.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 14:14
  • A brush? "Don't use a brush." "Light coats, applied in a zig-zag pattern until it disappears." How can I fix this very noticeable brush mark? "zig-zag" because your eyes have an easy time seeing 0 or 90. at a 45 "it disappears". Touch up painting creates noticeable marks between old and new? It does if you don't know how to feather or don't keep the sides of the roller in order.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 3:02

5 Answers 5


If you've got leftover paint and it is still all liquid, you've got a good chance of being able to cover up dings and repair jobs. Paint on walls will change over time but the important things is to use the same type of applicator. If you rolled on the original paint, then use a roller, a small one for any primer and paint repairs. Don't overload the roller with primer/paint, use it sparingly completely covering the repair area and slightly feather it out from the repair area to blend in with the wall. I have done this numerous times over the years with great results. If your old paint has partially hardened on the top or bottom of the can, you won't get a good match so don't waste your time.


Water down your paint with some bottled water and make sure to feather out your edges.

The new paint will be noticeable in certain light angles for up to 4 weeks due to curing.

No matter how good your painting skills are, you can't mask a bad repair job so make sure your repairs are "level 5" or else it will be an eyesore.


I've had good results with touchup using the original leftover paint several years after the original painting. This was for both covering up high traffic areas (after first cleaning the area) and for fixing holes with mud, priming and then painting.

The original paint was rolled. For touchups I brushed on the paint, then rolled with a dry roller (i.e. no paint on roller), extending the roller outside of the freshly painted area (i.e. feathering). This worked very well for smaller areas as the rolling with a dry roller made feathering very effective.

In another case where I had a lot of wall to fix I just rolled the primer and paint, and that left noticeable edges - much harder to feather with a roller full of paint. That was in a garage, so I didn't mind it as much.

Finally, if there is a lot of area to repaint (like removing a built-in unit and painting the bare section behind it), you can paint an entire wall section. Color/sheen difference between walls are much harder to notice than on the same wall.


If you have small nicks or holes, the patches it shouldn't be too noticeable. If you have larger areas like an inch or more across, you should consider adding a texture such as with an orange-peel spray. If you don't, the difference in texture may be noticeable and can even make the color appear to be different even if it matches exactly.

The other issue is that if the paint has been on a wall for a long time, it may be faded and won't match a fresh application of the original paint.


I have done touch ups before (matte paint) with no noticeable marks. And I‘ve had to do a few touch ups which are visible. A few things I would bear in mind:

  • The hardest part is to recreate the color. Save some of the original paint, as well as the recipe for mixing the same color again if you run out or the original paint dries out. Getting the same color remixed without a recipe is very difficult, to say the least.
  • Even with the exact same color, bear in mind that the color of the paint may change after a few years on the wall. Colors may fade due to sunlight, in other places the paint may gradually turn gray from dust (areas just above a radiator or vent are particularly prone to this), which will only become noticeable after you apply fresh paint to a portion.
  • Use the same kind of tool for the touch-up that you used for the original job. That is, do not use brush to touch up a roller-painted area and vice versa.
  • Use new tools, or at least tools that have only been used for this particular color. Even a carefully washed roller will still retain some of the pigments of the old paint – a lesson I learned when touching up a white ceiling with a roller that I had previously used on a yellow wall.
  • Feathering may help conceal minor differences in color, though I have little practical experience with that.
  • To be on the safe side, paint an entire section of wall – that is, up to the next corner. Color differences between two sides of a corner are much more difficult to spot than in the middle of a flat (or gently curved) surface. This is the same technique car repair shops use.

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