In general, the easiest paint finish to touch up is flat, and the greater the paint sheen (the glossier the paint), the more difficult (if not impossible) it is to touch up without leaving a noticeable area. Flat paints require very little or no touching up.
Paints with high sheens can be touched up with a variety of techniques, depending on your project needs. The key is to choose a method that will not diminish the appearance of your painting.
The best way to touch up a small area is with a fine-point brush and a small amount of the same paint as was used on the wall. If the original color was fairly dark, then lighten its intensity by adding a few drops of white paint to a slightly darker shade of the original color. You can also add a few dashes of black paint for depth.
Larger areas may need to be re-painted, but because flat paints are so easy to touch up, there's no reason to spend hours scraping away at old paint with a knife or scraper. Instead, simply refresh the room with a new coat of paint.
Touch-up paint comes in three varieties: aerosol, brush-in-cap bottles, and paint pens. When applying brush-on touch-up paint, use smooth strokes and very low pressure when pressing the brush to the surface. Avoid using too much force or your paint will drag on your paper instead of flowing from the tip of the brush.
When painting with a pen, use light pressure as you draw it across the surface. Don't press hard against the paper or you may smear it. Pen touch-ups can be any color, but they usually match the original paint job well enough that you don't need more than one coat. They're designed to be quickly applied so there's no need for long drying times like oil paints.
Aerosol cans contain a mixture of pigment and solvent that can be sprayed onto surfaces to restore damage or hide defects. The spray pattern is relatively wide compared to other types of touch-up paints, which allows for large areas to be covered quickly. It is important not to overfill an aerosol can though, as this can cause the propellant gas to expand into voids in the can, causing the can to bulge outwards.
Brush-In-Cap and Paint Pen brands of touch-up paint are available in a range of colors that match or contrast with the original paint job.
Paints with a satin or high-gloss finish are the most durable. Flat paint, such as chalk paint, should not be used on a high-traffic object, such as a kitchen table or stair railings, unless a protective top coat, such as polyurethane, is used. The reason for this is that flat paints chip and peel away from the wood over time.
You can also use semi-gloss or gloss paint to give your railing a new look without changing its function too much. Just make sure that you choose a color that won't clash with the rest of your house! You can also use paint to change the color of your railing without replacing it entirely. Just make sure that you only use water-based paints on outdoor materials because oil-based paints will damage aluminum, plastic, and other materials that you might want to keep functional even after the paint wears off.
Yes, you should clean your railing before painting it. Use a scrub brush and soapy water to get rid of any dirt or grime that may have accumulated over time. Be sure to rinse the brush thoroughly after cleaning each section of railing.
After cleaning, allow the railing to dry completely before proceeding with your project. This may take several hours depending on the temperature outside.