tips and tricks4 min read

Paint touch-ups: the do’s and dont’s

WordsMegan Lambert


Those little marks in your hallway, a few nicks on the staircase, that time the builder propped his ladder up directly against your wall. Life brings with it a few knocks and bumps along the way and few places bear the brunt of this more than your walls. So it stands to reason that we might want to give our walls, masonry, or woodwork a little touch up now and again. How hard can it be, right? The truth is, it isn’t, but there are some factors that you need to consider before you begin your touch up to ensure that you get the perfect result, every time. Find out the dos and don’ts of paint touch-ups so you don’t get caught out.

What is a paint touch up?

We’re sure you’re familiar with the idea of touch ups, but just so we’re all on the same page, a paint ‘touch up’ refers to the re-coating of a small area rather than the entire wall or surface, in order to conceal minor scuffs or marks. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But there are some problems that can arise.

What problems arise from touching up?

Surface texture

Firstly, the texture of a bare wall is different to that of a painted wall. So, if in the first instance you were painting onto a bare wall, whereas you’re touching up on a painted wall, you might notice some slight differences in the surface texture.

Colour difference

Once you've painted on a wall it will start oxidising and curing. This will affect how much light is reflected on it as well as the paint finishing. It essentially means the paint has ‘set’ on your walls. Unfortunately, if you paint on a surface that is already cured, even if you’re using exactly the same paint (from the same tin no less!) the colour may be slightly different.

Why does it happen?

Despite your best intentions, in reality, it’s just not feasible to achieve a perfect match when fresh paint is applied to old paint that has been affected by conditions like weathering and wear and tear.


Proper preparation is the best form of prevention. Ensure that your walls are prepped before painting to guarantee the best finishing. This includes making sure that your walls are as smooth as a baby’s bottom before you begin. Always make sure to use the same paint (if possible the same tin) as you did to begin with. And remember, a workman is only as good as his tools, so take care of your gear by cleaning and caring for your paintbrush and roller.


Unfortunately, as with most things worth having, there’s no quick-fix solution when it comes to perfectly painted walls. The best solution is to paint the entire area. Fortunately, areas like our skirting boards (which usually bear the brunt of the heaving lifting) can be painted relatively quickly and easily as an entire area. If you’re looking to touch up your walls, this requires a little more work. Lighter colours tend to be a bit more forgiving because when you’re painting with darker colours, more pigment, any difference in colour or texture, will be more obvious. 

We know it’s not the easiest, but the best solution is to paint the entire wall. Don’t shoot the messenger!

Colour differences between paint batches

While we do test each new batch for colour consistency, minute variations between batches are experienced by all paint manufacturers.

While they are minute, when applied onto the same wall, the human eye is extremely good at noticing the difference, so it becomes more obvious.

We check both our samples and every batch of paint with a spectrophotometer, and then by eye, as the human eye is actually far more sensitive to subtle differences based on specific lights.

As a result, in order to achieve a flawless finish, the most straightforward resolution is, again, to repaint the surface as a whole.

For more painting tips and tricks from our experts, find out how to prevent picture framing on a painted wall.