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Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim

In December of 2012 we hired an interior painter for a large job (walls, ceiling and trim of first floor, stairs and 2nd floor hallway). We were very happy with the work but a few months ago we noticed some issues with the trim. It looks as if they skipped or missed many spots. I'm not sure why the missed spots became more noticeable - maybe the longer days and more natural light allowed us to see the color variations or maybe the paint changed/discolored over time. But the color variation is quite apparent now (2 different shades of white). My kids notice it all the time.

In any case, the painter believes that we interfered in the job somehow - they believe that either we, or someone we hired, painted over their work. This is absolutely not true. They claim that the creamier/darker of the two whites is not the white we requested (BM White Dove). They painted with a sample from a new can and it does in fact look a bit less creamy, more of a stark white. They also claim that the current work is not theirs as they are professionals and would never do such a sloppy job. We're very puzzled and also angry that we've been accused of interfering with the work and/or lying about it.

Does anyone have experience with this? I wonder - could it be they didn't properly stir the trim paint? My theory is this - they didn't properly stir and as the progressed through the house the paint got darker as the more pigmented paint was at the bottom of the can. The spots missed are often where the wall and the trim meet (or in crevices of the trim and paneling), which leads me to believe that they were using the 'darker' paint from the bottom of the can on the 2nd coat.

I should note that we're using oil-based paint on the trim. We're trying to correct some extensive issues on with trim - the contractor who flipped our house on '07 painted latex over the old, oil-based trim (probably without primer) causing widespread chipping and peeling. I understand oil-based paint can yellow over long periods of time - but it's only been 8 months.

A. Spruce
Re: Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim

My suspicion is that you have a combination of poor paint application and yellowing oil based paint.

It is unlikely that it comes from an unmixed can of paint, though it's certainly possible. The only way I can see this happening is if the paint you chose was a basic stock color (premixed) and the cans were never mixed at the dealer. Any painter or dealer worth their salt would be sure to mechanically shake the cans before they left the store. If this was a custom mixed color, as 99% of them are, then they would have been mixed and shaken at the store, thus not the issue you describe.

It is hard to say whether you'll get any satisfaction from your painter. The job is done and paid, they have no reason to work with you on the problem.

Re: Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim

I think you are looking at a re-do, if you can't live with the present situation and if your painter won't do anything for you.

If the painter gave you no warranty, you're on your own. From what you describe, he insists that this is not his problem, but yours. Legally, he's off the hook.

Re: Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim

What he said plus;


The job is done and paid, they have no reason to work with you on the problem.

aside from caring about their craft, which is another story.

Re: Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim


Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Oil Enamel was my main woodwork paint for decades. Unfortunately, I can tell you that it will show yellowing in only a few months, especially in kitchens where it is exposed to gas cooking flames and cooking.

I have been away from contracting now for several years and have not used Satin Impervo since then. Paint manufacturers are constantly tinkering with their formulas to keep the government and the customers happy. Moore would take out the VOC's to keep the government happy, and we would put them right back in on the job site - just a little Penetrol and or mineral spirits :)

I'm not really sure what is going on in your home, but I highly suspect it is complicated by having painted directly over a cheap latex paint without a good oil primer first. At this point, another coat of oil Satin Impervo (there is a water based version too, but stick with the oil) would probably solve your complaints. I often used a heavy bodied oil enamel undercoater in an attempt ot lessen the "ropey" texture left by a bad latex job.

Re: Oil-based paint - different shades of white on trim

I agree with other posters that a good high-quality primer would probably help this. I recently painted latex over oil and used a deglosser and stain-blocking primer in between. If you decide to try repainting, I would recommend this route.

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