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Thread: Who does the best job of matching paint colors?

  1. #1
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    Who does the best job of matching paint colors?

    Sherwin Williams, Benj. Moore, PPG?

    I have new kitchen cabinets that are painted gray. My wife wants me to make one for over the frige. It will butt right up against another of the factory cabinets.
    I'd like to avoid having to take the door of the factory cabinet and painting it so they blend.
    20 some years of doing paint matching tells me I'm probably going to hav to do just that though.

    I hope things have gotten better in the 30 years since I did that though.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  2. #2
    I'd be calling the cabinet factory and asking to purchase a quart. You can feign "touch up" as the reason, in case you feel they'll begrudge you for building the last cab yourself. Certainly cannot hurt, and is the closest thing to a match you'll ever find.

    As for best color match, comes down to who's the most talented paint guru in your locale more than the brand, IMHO.

    jeff

  3. #3
    Rich, I agree - call the factory., first.

    But if you take one of the factory doors to Sherwin Williams they should be able to do a good match using their machine. At least, I've had good luck with them. If they are honest with you, they will admit you will get a better match if buying a gallon than a quart. (Any variation in tolerance for the mix will show up more in a smaller quantity.)

    Good luck!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    “If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

  4. #4
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    I've had good luck with both SW's and BM. They both use a camera/computer to determine the match from whatever sample you bring them.

    That said, you might want to consider using an intentionally lighter or darker shade of the color. Getting a perfect match is nearly impossible. A shade or two lighter or darker looks intentional, not like a mismatch, and also provides visual interest. The passage door and the toe kick plate under the cabinets are a darker shade than the cabinet doors/drawers, intentionally.





    John

  5. #5
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    Here, Sherwin Williams is guesswork. Our best paint matcher, believe it or not, is Home Depot. They have a spectrometer (just guessing that's what it is) they put the sample under and it tells them how much of what to put in. Only once have I had to go back and add a little of something. HD paint is not used otherwise, unless I'm in too big of a hurry since it's in another town in the opposite direction than my SW store.

  6. #6
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    It's not the brand or the machine, it's the guy behind the counter. The machines can get close (assuming the base paint color allows for that), but it takes someone with experience to do the last little bit.

    Some colors are impossible to match with universal pigments, for example the old Rustoleum oil-based bright red enamel. Can't get there with a white pigmented base and universal tints.

  7. #7
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    The color match is honestly the easiest part of the process and as has been noted, there are folks who are really good at it. The big challenge is actually matching sheen. This is where John's suggestion about intentionally contrasting often pays off because a color difference can mask a sheen difference.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    I'm fine with buying a gallon since I have a bunch of stuff I plan on making for the mud room that's right off the kitchen. I planned on carrying the same cabinets into there from the get-go.
    I had thought of contacting the company that provided the cabinets to the builder to see if I could buy some material from them - but - we butted heads over the original install and they had to remake the counter tops three times before they got them close enough for us to accept.
    We could have ordered a cabinet for over the fridge from them in the first place - but - they wanted $1200 for a 30" wide by 20" deep upper cabinet - which I thought was just a bit "excessive".

    It sounds like technology hasn't progressed all that much since the days 40 years ago when I was "the guy behind the counter people came to for a color match".
    I was really hoping you could just take a sample to the store & they coould stick it under a machine and get a perfect match. Oh well, I guess I'll find out how good SW's new color match app is.

    I can't really get by with a lighter or darker shade since the cabinet literally butts up next to an existing cabinet. There's a 15 inch upper and a 15 inch lower with a counter top on it - then on one side is the wall and on the other side is the fridge.
    I'm going to make a cabinet that goes above the fridge and butts up to the upper next to it.
    Push comes to shove - I can probably get away with making a new door for the existing cabinet and painting that door, along with the new cabinet & doors. That way the color, sheen and the profile on the rails & stiles will all match.
    I bought a set of Yonico rail & style bits - #12247 that come pretty close to the same profile, but, they aren't exact.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  9. #9
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    The matching machines are very accurate...in most cases...but it's the "tweak" to perfect that is dependent upon the experience of the operator at the store. Matching things that don't touch is pretty darn easy. It's when you need to butt directly up against existing where things can get dicy. This is no different than when a body shop has to match existing on a vehicle. There is ALWAYS some small level of variation, especially with pearls and flakes (or both) and that's where the skilled operator who can see the ever so slight differences earn their money.

    I think you will be safe getting the match done at the store for color. Again, matching the sheen is a little harder and it is what it is. Getting finish from the original cabinet manufacturer likely wouldn't be helpful because the products used in production quite often are not things that are conducive to DIY.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    I agree with Jim. The color matching is really, really good, at least at my two local stores. I think they have been 3 out of 4 for a match that looked perfect to my eyes. Jim's also correct about the sheen being hard to match. All they have is matte, maybe eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss. There's no real standard for them, and your existing cabinets could have something in between anyway. But all is not lost. You can buy flatters and adjust the sheen to anything you need. There are flatters for both solvent based and waterborne. I bought a gallon (a life time supply, or more) of waterborne flatters from Hood and used them a year or so ago to adjust the sheen of a clear coat I needed to match. You buy the next higher gloss from what you need and add flatters until the sheen matches. Here's a photo of some test pieces I made showing the effect of various additions of flatters.



    John

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    It's not the brand or the machine, it's the guy behind the counter. The machines can get close (assuming the base paint color allows for that), but it takes someone with experience to do the last little bit.
    This. The guys who were good at matching at my local S-W would scan the sample, mix the paint, then scan a dry-down of the match attempt. The computer would then indicate how good the match was—and there was a threshold in the numbers, that if the difference was below that threshold, it was not discernible to the human eye for that color. Get all the colors below that threshold, and you have an excellent match.

    As others have said, sheen is another story. I guess I never thought to ask if they had flatting agent they could add to dull a too-shiny paint.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Roehl View Post
    This. The guys who were good at matching at my local S-W would scan the sample, mix the paint, then scan a dry-down of the match attempt. The computer would then indicate how good the match was—and there was a threshold in the numbers, that if the difference was below that threshold, it was not discernible to the human eye for that color. Get all the colors below that threshold, and you have an excellent match.

    As others have said, sheen is another story. I guess I never thought to ask if they had flatting agent they could add to dull a too-shiny paint.

    I asked that question at my local SW's. They do not. That's what prompted me to buy a waterborne one, from Hood Finishing, now part of Albi. They still offer it for sale: https://albi.com/product/hydrocote-flatting-compound/

    John

  13. #13
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    This thread should be a sticky. Some great information here.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    This thread should be a sticky. Some great information here.
    Agree, and Cap'n Picard said "Make it so". And it was so.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    I should be ok if I remake the door of the cabinet that's there and put the cabinet I make above the refrigerator.
    That small hallway to the side of the fridge leads to a pocket door on the side opposite the door shown in the picture.
    That's where the laundry/mud room is where I plan on making more storage cabinets and shelves that I want to paint the same color as the kitchen cabinets.

    I think I have enough distance also from the other cabinets that I can get away with the sheen difference w/out having to resort to using a flatting agent. That side of the kitchen is in a shadow & even though it's in open sight from the counter - where I'm slitting and taking the picture, being up high like that & I think I can get away with a slight difference. If not, then I'll pick up some flatting.
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    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

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