WHEN DOES COLOR MATCHING WORK? Q&A
-Charles Graves Painting
Q: WHAT ARE THE TWO TYPES OF COLOR MATCHING? Color matching works in one of 3 ways: 1) A color code match, where a formula contains a set amount of PPG for the 3 color bases (cyan, magenta and yellow) as well as hue, value and chroma. 2) A site scan done using a spectrophotometer (which our company has, our project manager keeps one in case you need it). This method analyzes a surface to get the assessed amount of each color, hue, value and chroma. A third way is by breaking a paint chip off the surface, to be analyzed at the store by the store's spectrophotometer. This method is about as accurate as #2, as it's done using the same technology. However it takes longer and damages the surface- this isn't a big deal for patching drywall, but it can be more time-consuming to repair wood trim with a paint chip taken out of it. One example of a portable spectrophotometer, shown below. (Scroll down)
Generally speaking, #1 will give you an exact match for the paint that you want, provided that you are using the same brand, line and finish as originally done. (If you just want the color itself, matching the brand is generally sufficient.) #2 gives you a somewhat accurate color match, but choosing an exact color from a Fandeck is a better choice.(Fandeck shown below. All of our customers can receive and keep an entire fandeck upon request, once you have committed to doing business with us.
Q: DOES COLOR MATCHING ACROSS BRANDS WORK, OR WILL THE COLOR BE OFF?
Color matching across brands (using method #1, an exact color code from a competing paint brand) will usually provide a *VERY CLOSE* color match, to where the naked eye will generally not be able to tell the difference. The white color bases between brands are extremely close, but not quite exact. However, color matching usually gets a bad rap because of people who use the #2/#3 option, as these matches are not nearly as accurate/exact as color matching. Generally when painting a new surface with a new color, it's more important to get the correct product (brand/line/finish) and to color match. You definitely do not want to use a wrong/incompatible product just to get a color match.
The only reason color matching between brands using method #1 will not be exactly accurate, is because the white color base (which the paint comes in) will not be exactly the same (although the white base will be very close), and different pigments, binders (resins), solvents and additives are used in different paints.
However, with that said, although the color base is usually the same for all the similar-type paints of the same brand, the pigments, binders, solvents and additives are usually different between "lines" (qualities) of paint from that same brand. For example, Sherwin-Williams Duration in a certain color, will look slightly different from Sherwin-Williams Cashmere in the same color.
Color matching between different brands is almost always satisfactory to customers provided they use an exact color code using method #1. However, color matching from a spectrophotometer or pulled paint chip, is less reliable.
Q: WILL I BE ABLE TO COLOR MATCH A PRE-PAINTED SURFACE IN ORDER TO DO TOUCH UPS?
This is generally not a good idea, UNLESS all of the following conditions are met:
1) The paint job must have been done within the last 1-2 years;
2) The same brand, line, finish and color must be used;
3) You must have the original can of paint (complicated, but sometimes the exact same brand and line from different time periods may use different additives, binders, etc due to mining/shipping supply availability, which can throw color off.)
4) The surface must be clean and free of any dirt, dust, pollen, pet hair, or anything else. If a paint surface is even very slightly dirty, the new paint will stick out. For these reasons, our company respectfully declines to do any "touch up" projects unless they are part of a larger painting project being done the standard way (full repaint), because it is unfortunately generally a low-reward, high-risk, high-hassle project that usually leaves both parties frustrated.
We strongly recommend avoiding spot touch-ups if possible, or DIY-ing it, as it is impossible for a professional company to know going into it that they will make you completely satisfied when the chances of it matching are statistically very low, even if we do everything we are supposed to do. Thank you so much for understanding.