So I recently painted a section of my basement wall with a couple coats of Kilz oil-based stain-blocker primer (Product Page here). The walls are a bright, clean white now.

However, there was a section of wall that I could not access at the time and I had to paint it later. I bought another can of the same Kilz paint, and I had the person at the paint counter spin the can in the spinner to mix it up.

I went straight home and started painting immediately. I figured that since I had just had the can spun at the store, I didn't need to mix it. However, after I finished two coats, I saw that the color was not the same bright white as the rest of the wall - it's more of a cream color.

I doubt that this is simple product variation, because the color difference is pretty obvious even to someone like me who can only name 10 colors or so. Also, the rest of the wall area was painted using several cans of the same Kilz product, but I see no variation there. Also, the underlying wall color is not any different in the new section than the rest of the wall (it was a light blue color).

So my question is - why would this can of paint have different color? Is it because I didn't stir the paint with a stick, even though the paint can had just been put in the spinner at the store not 30 minutes prior?


ok, so this is a case of "user error: replace user". I didn't actually buy the same product. I had used the low-odor oil-based killz primer (green label on the can) initially, and this time I bought the regular oil-based (red label). although the variation is still more than I would have thought, I repainted with the same product and the match is much better.

sorry for wasting everyone's time. I nonetheless learned something from all of the answers.

  • 1
    Spinner or shaker? Most stores I know shake the cans in a vibrating machine to mix them. Spinning the can would just separate the different densities in the paint mixture.
    – BMitch
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 17:49
  • I wasn't aware that there are two kinds. It's whatever is typically behind the home depot paint counter. I can ask next time I'm there and I'll post the answer.
    – rothloup
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 22:35
  • 2
    Compare UPC code numbers and make sure it's really the same product. If so, I would try stirring it with a stick. If the stick drags along the bottom, those are solids that didn't get mixed in. If you get the white you want, just paint a second coat. If the can froze, that would cause it, frozen latex is a goner. Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 23:44
  • @WolfHarper: ok, I'll try stirring it. It hasn't frozen, and it's oil base, not latex. thanks.
    – rothloup
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 0:12
  • @WolfHarper: you were right - they aren't the same product! My bad completely. see update in OP.
    – rothloup
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


Normally the paint store has a shaker not a spinner. But this may be a difference in terminology.

The paint shaker usually thoroughly stakes the paint to mix it up. They always recommend you buy plenty of paint and mix it all together in 5 gallon buckets so the color is uniform.

Construction job spec's require painting break to break so floor to ceiling corner to corner to reduce color variations. So, you may have to paint an entire wall to get uniform color.

  • So what does one do if they want to do some touch up work? How do I match the color? Thanks.
    – rothloup
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 22:37
  • 1
    Well with touch up if your paint isn't too old it may match the existing and not be noticeable. If you can feather out the edges of the area you are painting it will help to prevent a line where you touched up.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 0:13
  • It's worth mentioning the sheen of your paint will also affect how easy it is to touch-up. With high-gloss paints it becomes nearly impossible to touch up without noticeably differences. Matte paints can be touched up much more easily, but aren't always as durable.
    – ench
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 20:45

In my paint store the term spinning and shaking are used to mean the same thing.

We don't use vibrating shakers anymore, not in the last 15 years at least. Both our gallon and five gallon shaker spin but in a gyroscopic fashion. They are way more efficient than vibrating.

The spinners are a lot quieter as well.

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