Factory Built Housing Painters Handbook: Chapter 5

Touch-Up FAQs

Factory Built Housing Painters Handbook: Chapter 5

Best Practices for Factory Built Housing

Chapter 5: Touch Up FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about touch-up best practices.

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General Information

Touch-Up FAQs

General Information

Touch-up is not a perfect science. It requires skill and practice to become proficient in blending a painted surface with freshly-applied touch-up paint. Paint color, consistency, and film thickness need to match the original coat. To ensure color and consistency match, touch-up paint should be applied in the same conditions that existed when the paint was first applied to the substrate.

Several variables can affect the quality of touch-up uniformity, such as the product used, color selection, environmental conditions, application tools, and application techniques/processes.

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Q: What type of product is best for touch-ups?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: What type of product is best for touch-ups?

A: Generally, the “flatter” the product, the better its touch-up ability. Flatter finishes minimize the appearance of surface irregularities/variations, which can affect the perceived uniformity of the finish and/or color. 

It is important to note that some designated flat wall finishes can have a slight angular sheen based upon the product formulation. These products are especially challenging to match. From certain angles, a slight color variation is often noticeable.

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Q: Can color selection affect touch-up ability?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: Can color selection affect touch-up ability?

A: Darker colors are generally more sensitive to touch-up and application issues. Because darker colors are typically formulated with less TiO2 (titanium dioxide) to allow for the additional colorant, their hiding power is reduced, especially within certain pigment color ranges. Therefore, a higher film build is required to achieve a uniform hide. If the initial application film build is not adequate, touched-up areas will show more complete hide (perceived as color variation) than the area surrounding the touch-up.

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Q: Can temperature affect touch-up?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: Can temperature affect touch-up?

A: Temperature can greatly affect your ability to match touch-up paint with the painted surface. If there is too great a variance of temperature of the touch-up paint and the painted surface, the color and texture may vary greatly. The temperature of the ambient air, the temperature of the painted surface, and the temperature of the stored paint must be within a reasonable range to ensure a quality touch-up.

  • It is advisable to reduce or eliminate the need to touch-up cold homes in the yard during winter months.

  • Salamander heaters may not be sufficient to uniformly raise the temperature of a painted surface. In addition, exhaust fumes from the heater are likely to cause application issues.

  • Material should be stored in climate-controlled environments as indicated on product labeling.


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Q: Why does the original finish appearance look “shadowy?”

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: Why does the original finish appearance look “shadowy?”

A: Shadowy walls or shading variations may be a result of texture/surface variations or insufficient film build on the initial application. Texture or surface variations can typically be confirmed if the application of a full coat over the affected area fails to change the variation’s appearance. Continued touch up or repainting of these areas is unlikely to correct the condition.

Even the best painter cannot touch up a wall that isn’t coated with enough material. If the existing film build is insufficient to create uniform hide, the touch-up (an area showing better hide) is often perceived as a color variation. Look for shading variations indicating that the background/substrate color is showing through. These situations typically will require a full additional coat to achieve sufficient uniformity and hide of the finish.

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Q: What is “burnishing” and how can it affect the finish appearance?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: What is “burnishing” and how can it affect the finish appearance?

A: A “burnish mark” is a shiny spot that shows on a painted surface. Typically, a burnish mark is the result of contact by rubbing against the surface or washing of the surface. 

  • Flat paints are more susceptible to burnishing because of the higher ratio of pigment to resin in the product.

  • This occurs in flat products because pigment is slightly exposed in the film. Pigment is soft and, when it is rubbed, it “polishes up,” revealing a shiny area. 

  • Rubbing an area with a cloth, hand, or even a “dry” paintbrush can create a burnish mark. 

  • Although burnishing may occur with any color, it is more evident on darker colors.


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Q: Do I need to use paint from the same source used on the initial coat(s)?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: Do I need to use paint from the same source used on the initial coat(s)?

A: Using the actual material that was applied initially on the production line improves touch-up ability. Batch variances and variances in field-tinted materials can cause touch-up issues, even though manufacturers go to great lengths to minimize potential variations.

  • In most cases, large batch factory colors are less sensitive to potential issues.

  • For the best outcomes, whenever possible, use material from the same containers for touch-ups.

  • If the initial coat was spray applied, for touch-up use paint that has passed through the spray tip. Color may be affected by particle sheer during the atomization process.

  • To ensure consistency in the containers, ensure that the material was properly mixed prior to the original application and prior to touch-up.

  • Containers should be sealed tightly, to reduce the possibility of contamination.


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Q: How much paint should be applied when touching up?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: How much paint should be applied when touching up?

A: Less is better than more. When paint is applied with a “loaded-up” roller, or when the touch-up area is “squared off,” the touch-up area is unlikely to blend with the original coat.

  • To avoid overloading the touch-up surface with paint, sponge rollers are commonly used. Sponge rollers have the ability to apply a thing coat that blends well into surrounding smooth or stipple finishes.

  • Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to the surface and feather (brush in all directions) the touch-up to blend with surrounding areas.

  • As a preferred alternative to laying on a heavy paint coat to hide darker marks, touch up the area with multiple light, quick-drying coats that can be more easily feathered.


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Q: What tools should I use for touch-ups?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: What tools should I use for touch-ups?

A: For best results, work with the same tools used in the last step of the original paint application. If the material was spray-and-backrolled, your touch-up should be rolled. Various tools leave different texture signatures in the film, which will cause the touch-up to stand out.

  • High quality brushes and rollers produce a uniform coating because they apply material more evenly and they produce less splatter than economy-grade brushes and rollers. Economy-grade rollers have a looser, low-density pile, which crates more variation between the highs and lows of stipple, and poor coating uniformity.

  • To avoid inconsistencies in the painted surface, follow the same “down-stroke” lay-off direction that was used during the application of the original backroll.

  • Limit brush touch-ups to lighter colors not susceptible to burnishing. When touching up small areas in the center of the wall, apply a small amount of paint to the central spot, then spread the material in a random, circular pattern, gradually increasing the circle size until the edges are feathered in.

  • When re-coating an entire wall, including cut-in work, start with the cut-in and roll into the brushed areas.

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Q: Why doesn’t the color look the same when I first apply it?

Touch-Up FAQs

Q: Why doesn’t the color look the same when I first apply it?

A: As the paint film cures, some products will dry lighter and some darker, depending upon their formulation. Cooler temperatures, poor ventilation, thick film builds, and/or high humidity levels will extend dry times, causing material to take longer to cure to its final color.

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