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Why color match isn’t really a thing for your home’s exterior paint


There are many exterior painting companies that note their ability to ‘match’ your home’s current exterior paint color. Using software or their expertise, they promise a color match for your new paint.

This is really appealing to many homeowners who like their home’s current color or what they remember it was like before fading. Plus, they know that the color is already HOA-approved. Color match promises to be the equivalent of keeping the status quo. It’s an attractive option for many homeowners.

However, it’s actually far more complicated than that. There are a number of factors that make exact color matching nearly impossible.


Your memory works against you

Human memory is notoriously unreliable, particularly when it comes to remembering specific details about familiar sights, like the exterior color of your home. Over time, your perception of the color may shift significantly, often without you even realizing it. For example, you may recall the initial delight in the hue when your home was freshly painted. However, with each passing year, the paint undergoes subtle changes due to constant exposure to sunlight and environmental factors. This gradual fading can alter the appearance of your home’s exterior, making the original color a distant, and possibly inaccurate, memory.

Additionally, the context in which you view colors can dramatically affect your perception of them. Lighting conditions, surrounding colors, and even weather changes can all influence how a color appears at any given moment. This means that a color that looked perfect ten or twenty years ago might not evoke the same feelings when reapplied today. Many homeowners have experienced this firsthand. They request the same exact color they originally used, expecting to recapture that initial perfect shade. However, after the new paint is applied, they are often surprised or even disappointed by the intensity and vibrancy of the “same” color, which looks strikingly different from the faded, muted tone they had grown accustomed to. This mismatch between memory and reality underscores why true color matching, especially over long periods, can be more complex and less accurate than many might anticipate.

That exact color may not be available

With the right preparation and professional application, the exterior paint of your home is designed to withstand the elements for many years. This durability is advantageous, but it also means that significant time may elapse between paint jobs. During these intervals, the paint industry continues to evolve. Paint manufacturers often update their product lines, discontinuing some paints and introducing new ones. This can pose a challenge when you wish to repaint your home using the same product as before, only to find that it’s no longer available on the market.

This scenario is particularly common with homes that are transitioning from their initial construction paint to their first major repaint. It’s worth noting that many homebuilders opt for more cost-effective, lower-grade paints to keep initial construction costs down. These paints may not have the longevity or quality of premium brands like Dunn-Edwards paint, which are formulated to last longer and resist fading. Consequently, even if you were inclined to use the same paint, finding an exact match can be difficult—not only because the paint itself might be discontinued but also because the original paint may not have been documented or noted by your homebuilder. This lack of documentation further complicates the task of matching the original color, highlighting the importance of selecting high-quality, durable paints for long-term satisfaction.


Same color, different results

Even if you manage to locate the exact same color from the same manufacturer—and they haven’t altered the formula in any way—there’s still a likelihood that your new exterior paint will appear different from what you remember. This variation can largely be attributed to the application process, which plays a critical role in the final appearance and durability of the paint.

At Crash of Rhinos, we place a significant emphasis on prep work for stucco that require specific treatment to ensure optimal paint adhesion and finish. Our painting process includes a meticulous preparation stage where we clean, repair, and prime the surfaces to ensure that they are ready for painting. Following this, we apply paint using a comprehensive two-coat method. This technique not only enhances the vibrancy of the color but also contributes to its longevity, protecting your home against the elements more effectively.

In contrast, some painting services might opt for a quicker, less thorough approach, such as applying a single coat of paint without adequate surface preparation. This method can result in a less vibrant color and a finish that may degrade more quickly over time. The difference in application techniques underscores why the same paint color can look surprisingly different when applied under different conditions. This demonstrates the importance of choosing a painting contractor who understands the value of process and preparation in achieving the best and most lasting results.

Our advice: love your new paint

Even if you are particularly fond of your home’s current paint color, it’s beneficial to approach the repainting process with the understanding that achieving an exact replica of that color is unlikely. Instead, focus on selecting a new color that appeals to you for its own merits—choose a color that enhances the aesthetics of your home and makes you happy, rather than striving for a perfect match.

Throughout our discussions, we’ve emphasized that color matching is more about getting close to the original shade rather than replicating it precisely. Paint colors can vary due to factors like fading, the paint’s original formulation changes, or differences in application techniques. These variables mean that even the best “match” will only approximate the existing color on your walls.

By setting realistic expectations from the start, you can avoid the disappointment that often accompanies the pursuit of a perfect color match. Embrace the opportunity to refresh your home’s appearance with a new shade that complements its style and your personal taste. This mindset will not only broaden your color options but also enhance your satisfaction with the final results, ensuring that the new paint job feels like a true update rather than an imperfect copy of the past.



In conclusion, when considering repainting the exterior of your home, it’s important to recognize the limitations of color matching and the influence of various factors like memory perception, paint formulation changes, and application techniques. Embracing the idea of selecting a new color that resonates with your current aesthetic preferences, rather than attempting an exact replication of the old paint, can lead to a more satisfying and visually appealing outcome. To ensure the best selection, consider utilizing the in-house color consultation services available at your local Dunn-Edwards store. Their professionals can provide expert guidance, helping you navigate the myriad of color choices and find a shade that complements your home beautifully. At Crash of Rhinos, our focus on meticulous preparation and quality application ensures that your new exterior paint not only looks vibrant but also endures the test of time. By setting realistic expectations and choosing a color that genuinely appeals to you, you’re more likely to be delighted with your home’s fresh and updated look.

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