Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Trust the Computers: How To Color Match Your Paint

Whoo, boy. Last night was a doozy here, my youngest has a fever and a cold and I was up all. night. long. with him. Yawn.

Today's post is just a quick tip for the next time you go to purchase paint. I think most us of have probably found paint colors that we love in one brand and had them matched at a different store for price or location reasons (the nearest Benjamin Moore retailer I'm aware of is 2 1/2 hours away from me... le sigh.)

Color matching sounds simple enough... but is it??

(dun, dun, dun!!)

Although some companies may claim that they cannot be color matched by other stores, I've had overall good experiences and you can be happy with your end result...but the one tip I have for you is always take the paint chip.

Every single time I've gone into a big box home store to color match a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore color, their computer's competitive formula system does not get it exactly right. But it's always close enough that unless you have the paint chip with you, you might not be able to tell until you get home and slap it on your wall -- and uh oh, it might look like a completely different color!


I'm sure this doesn't happen all the time, maybe I just keep picking the wrong colors... but I like to have the paint chip with me just in case.

I've had much better luck having the store employee use their special scanner tool on the paint chip. And then if it's still off a bit, you can compare the color to your paint chip and make any needed adjustments.

Another problem I've encountered with having a different brand's paint color matched is that there is a greater chance that the formula and resulting color will differ dramatically in the sample can vs. the gallon can.

For example, I lost my BM 'Camouflage' paint chip, had it color matched at a big box store in a sample size, loved it, took it back to get it in a gallon size, and they had completely different undertones. The funny thing was, the computers didn't think they were different colors; they both scanned as identical formulas -- so the employee had to use his magical paint skills to manually dispense the colorant and match the sample can color that I liked.

To summarize:
  • Take the paint chip with you
  • Try having the employee use the scanner instead of the computer's competitive formula
  • Find an experienced paint department employee and they can make any fine adjustments for you 

    Good luck with your color matching!

    38 comments:

    1. Hmm...do you prime everything first? I've done a ton of color matching and every one has turned out "perfect" - but I always prime first. Who knows, right?? Maybe I am luckier than I have been thinking!? I never seem to win prizes, but I can claim that my paint turns out every time-hahaha! Good luck! ;)

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    2. Yeah, I had the same problem trying to have Walmart match to Sherwin Williams colors. The quart can and the gallon can were completely different colors and it turned out they couldn't put enough tint in a gallon can to make it work. Then I had them mix that one at Home Depot in Behr paint and it was fine. But it had been the difference between a really pretty blue (Aleutian?) and a still-pretty-but-not-what-i-wanted purple. I definitely take the paint chips with me now.

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