How to Touch Up Eggshell Paint

Eggshell paint is one of the most popular paint finishes in home improvement and construction projects. However, as time passes, one may have to touch up the the finish on the surfaces it was used on. Eggshell paint is notorious for being difficult to touch up. This article covers a process for spot painting your walls, whether you need to touch up a ding created by moving furniture around the house, a smudge made by kids playing with markers on the walls, or just ordinary wear and tear.

Paint flashing is common when using rollers or brushes

Why is eggshell Paint difficult to touch up?

When you’re painting a wall for the first time, there are a few things you think about before you begin. You consider the color and how it might blend in with the rest of your home, the type of gloss you should choose, your painting skills if you choose to handle the project yourself, and the tools you will use (brushes, rollers, rags etc).

When the need for spot painting occurs, the decisions you made when you chose your original paint finish have an impact on how easy it will be to restore the surface to its original state.

Eggshell paint is tough to touch up because, like most paints, the color fades over time when the paint cures due to exposure to the weather. To the naked eye, there is a difference between the paint on the wall and the paint in the can.

Eggshell paint can also be difficult to spot paint because of paint flashing.  Paint flashing is the unevenness in shine or gloss that is visible after a paint job is completed. Flashing is caused by uneven paint application, particularly when utilizing manual application methods such as a brush or a roller.

Can eggshell paint be touched up?

At this point, you may be wondering why you ever chose to use eggshell paint on your walls and if you it can be touched up.

To touch up eggshell paint, you will need to clean the area, apply two coats of all purpose primer, mix the paint thoroughly  and then spot paint the area using a 4 inch roller. Wait for 3 to 7 days to allow the paint to cure to evaluate the the job  

How to touch up eggshell paint 

In order to proceed with spot painting, we first need to assemble the tools and materials needed. 

Step 0: Tools Needed 

  1. Cleaning Materials: Rags and detergent. Any household detergent will do. 
  2. Eggshell Paint – It is usually better to use the same brand and line of products that was used on your initial paint job. Paint formulas vary from one manufacture to the next. Even better is if you kept some leftover paint from the initial job.
  3. Four Inch Paint roller and Paint Roller Sleeve Covers – It is best to use a small roller for paint touch ups to reduce the chances of paint flashing and color matching problems. If the paint area for the touch up is less than 4 inches you can try using foam or a brush. I still prefer using a roller to get even application even it if means I have to paint a little more
  4. Primer – Primer is not always needed. You may be able to achieve the same effect by applying 2-3 coats of eggshell paint 
Use 4 inch paint roller sleeves for touch ups

Step 1: Clean the Area

One of the most important reasons to clean the area is that you may discover that the touch up you thought you needed was just a scuff mark or smudge. Over time, walls get dirty. Cleaning ensures that the spot painting job you thought you needed is actually needed.

To begin cleaning, mix the detergent and water. Make sure it does not feel too soapy. If your mixture is filled with bubbles, add more water. Take your sponge or rag, dip it in the water, squeeze until damp and then clean the area in a circular motion.

Cleaning may reveal small repairs that require attention. Nail holes can usually be filled with sparkling compound. Clean any excess material and move on to the next step.

Step 2: Prime the area

Priming is just great practice when painting whether its a touch up or not. You can use a simple all purpose paint primer with eggshell paint. Use your paint roller to apply a thin layer of primer to the surface that needs to be touched up. Two coats of primer will do the trick here.

Note: If you do not have any primer on hand, you can apply one or two additional coats of paint instead. 

Step 3: Spot Paint the Area 

Applying the paint sounds straight forward. And it is. But what complicates matters is that the color of the eggshell paint in the can is unlikely to match what you have on the wall. Paint dries darker than it looks in the can and over time it fades as it is exposed to the elements.

You can try to color match at your local hardware store or by using color matching apps. But in my experience, you still have color variances between the touched up area and existing wall.

A simpler approach here is to lightly apply two coats of your eggshell paint to the spot that needs it, accelerate the drying process using a fan to get a sense of how it looks. Keep in mind that paint always dries darker.

If the paint you applied is too dark you can thin it a bit with water and reapply it. It is important to note that paint takes days to fully cure. So because it doesn’t look perfect today does not mean it never will.

I normally recommend waiting 4 to 7 days following a spot painting job to assess how well it turned out.

Can I paint eggshell on top of eggshell paint?

Eggshell paint can be applied to a surface that was painted with eggshell. First you must prime the surface with two coats of an all purpose primer so that the new paint application stick to the surface. 

You can then apply two coats of eggshell paint onto your surface using a brush, roller or sprayer. 

How do I get a good finish with eggshell paint?

Getting a great finish with eggshell paint is primarily about tools and technique. Paint sprayers when used correctly will give you the most consistent finish. Paint sprayers depending on how they are powered use electricity or air to provide a consistent flow of paint onto your surface. 

Using rollers for eggshell paint can also provide a great finish. It is important to use the correct sleeve cover size. If I am painting a whole wall, I prefer to use larger sleeve covers. 

When applying the paint to the rollers, I always make sure that the edges also get dipped in paint. Avoiding dried sleeve edges eliminates paint streaking issues. 

Make sure the Roller Sleeve is dipped completely in the paint to avoid streaking

Getting a great finish with eggshell paint is primarily all tools and technique. When used correctly, paint sprayers will give you the most consistent finish. Paint sprayers depending on how they are powered use electricity or air to provide a steady flow of paint onto your surface.

Using rollers for eggshell paint can also provide a great finish. It is important to use the correct sleeve cover size. If I am painting a whole wall, I prefer to use larger sleeve covers (six inches or higher). For smaller areas 4 inch sleeve covers will do.

When applying the paint to the rollers, I always make sure that the edges of the roller also get dipped in paint. Avoiding dry sleeve edges eliminates paint streaking issues.

Final Thoughts

Touching up eggshell paint can be done with the right tools and technique. Preparing the area properly may reveal that the spot paint job isn’t needed at all. But if you end up needed to proceed with the touch up, applying an all purpose primer and then spot painting with a 4 inch roller will give you the best results.

Be sure to evaluate your work after 4 to 7 days to give the paint time to dry and begin to blend in with your surface. 

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