Lowe's mixing BM samples - I don't get it

binsdApril 15, 2012

I've read a few posts here & elsewhere that getting Lowe's Valspar to mix Benjamin Moore samples is a cost-effective way to get a look at the BM colors before buying gallons at the BM store.

Did I miss something about what I was supposed to say when asking them to color match the samples for me? I gave them the names of the BM colors I wanted (Abalone & Lacey Pearl); they found them on their system and told me they could do it. After 3 coats of each color, neither looks anything like the BM color swatches I have.

Every time I've used BM, what I get on the wall is exactly like the color swatch.

I will continue to buy the BM samples again but had been hopeful I could save a few pennies in samples at Lowe's. Looks like it's not meant to be. :(


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If you're planning to get your paint mixed at Lowe's, it might make sense to get your samples there. However, if you're planning to use actual BM paint, it only makes sense to sample actual BM paint. My Ace sells ready mixed samples of BM Affinity colors or pints in any BM shade. Lowes has different base ingredients and different colorants, so it's not going to be an exact match to BM paint. For some people it may be close enough, but the purpose of sampling is to see the actual paint you'd use, not "close enough."

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Did you specify that these were BM colors? Some companies have the same name for different colors (ie: Dried Hydrangea by Martha Stewart is blue and Dried Hydrangea by Ace paints is beige).

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:25PM
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For some people it may be close enough, but the purpose of sampling is to see the actual paint you'd use, not "close enough".

Bingo. Thanks for the affirmation.

After I surveyed the samples I painted on, even after 1 coat, I knew it wasn't going to work for me. I buy samples to know what I'm going to be painting.

My understanding from reading some of the posts advocating buying the samples at Lowe's was that they saved money doing it that way, but in my mind, it's not the same color as what you'd get when you buy the BM paint so it's a waste of money.

A friend had a BM color matched with Valspar and he thinks it's an awful color. I couldn't imagine why (I happen to love it!) but now I know - it's probably nothing like the BM color I suggested in the first place that I thought he'd love.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:31PM
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Jessica - yes - I definitely specified that they were BM colors. He even pulled them up on screen for me and they looked like what I've seen on-line. But the samples themselves were nothing like the BM color. I shouldn't say "nothing like" - they just weren't close enough for me to make a decision based on the Lowe's samples.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I hear ya. Colors are crazy, especially for those of us who are detailed-oriented and want it to be perfect!

I have about a dozen colors on my bedroom walls right now (and after the living room, I said I wasn't going to do that...). A particular BM green next to an Ace green looks very close at one time of day, and not even remotely close the rest of the day! Likewise, color matches may work in one lighting, but not others.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:47PM
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depending how the paint formulas were created they could be totally different, i.e. if they just scanned the color chart.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:05AM
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I learned a lesson. Do not color match. I got a BM color matched and it turned out completely different. What I found is that they may use a different base which could give the paint a different undertone. I will never color match again. I will pick a color from the brand of paint that I am going to use. I tried to get BM Upper West Side color match and when I came home my house looked purple.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:14AM
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'Color Matched' and having paint mixed at a different dealer using the same color formulation as another brand are 2 different things. Unfortunately I think that the term 'Color Matched' is used too loosely.

Let me just say this about having having samples mixed. Not all formulations can be 'cut down' exactly enough to appropriately give the accurate color. 2 SW dealers mentioned this to me when I've asked for BM Simply White to be mixed in a CTG Sample.

As far as Lowes: One time I needed more paint of a great color match that they did for me. Sent DH w/ the lid that had the paint formula on it that THEY matched and mixed themselves. He brought it home, I started painting and was immediately horrified. The color was darker than what they'd they originally mixed for me in the 1st gallon. I compared formulas - exactly the same. I compared cans: 2 different bases. They mixed the 2nd gallon in a different base color.

I've also had them mix the same Valspar color that I'd used a few years prior. Got it home and it was much more yellow on the wall than the original. Took it back and almost got thrown out of Lowes. Turns out they'd 'updated' their pigments to make them clearer and brighter.

Actually, come to think of it, that's happened TWICE w/ them. The 2nd time was when we remodeled the upstairs and I had to paint a new wall in our boys bedroom. Their room was painted Valspar Silverware. I didn't have enough from the when I'd originally painted so I went back to get more. It turned out to be a 'hair' lighter. I sucked it up only because there was going to be a huge piece of trim covering where the 2 colors met.

Both of those examples go right back to exactly what jessicaml noted in her response.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:50AM
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Don't rely on Lowes' formulas, or anyone elses, for that matter. I wanted a Sherwin Williams color, so I went to SW, picked up the chip and took it to HD. They matched the color perfectly.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 8:20AM
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in Fall 2011, I had Lowe's match BM Palladian Blue and Guilford Green into the Valspar premium paint and when I put the BM paint chip on the wall it matches exactly.

Could it be that some colors are easier than others? I've been planning to use the Lowe's paint again because I had such good luck with my two previous colors.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:20AM
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I have never had good luck with a "computer read" color match from any company with any type of paint. The surface the paint is on determines the reflectivity to such an extent that the colors can be off by several values. The closest you can do is get to the right family of colors, then with the right person who has a good eye, you can come pretty close. We have a wonderful woman in town who has been mixing paint for more than thirty years. She worked in the Porter store before it closed and now works in a large independent hardware store in the paint department. Her eye is better than any computer match I've ever seen.

I would only trust samples from the same company as the paint chip---unless you just want something "like" that color. Of course, this doesn't apply to the general population, which is obviously less crazy about paint colors than most of us here!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:25AM
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I'm sure that some colors are easier to match than other's however there is just so much that actually comes into play that 'color matching' isn't something that I request anymore.

Some employees are great at getting the color almost dead on (there will never be an exact 'match' of a color unless using the exact formula and same base) and other's not so great. It's not all totally relevant upon the computer.

I've had some really great matches that I've happily used to paint rooms and obviously some really crappy ones at which point I almost get tossed from Lowes.

Admittedly I notice every teeny, tiny thing about color that a fair amount of people would not notice and have been told drives them crazy about me (I've since learned to nod for our own good). I know that applies to some folks here too.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Some colors are harder to match then others, and some brands work better together than others. Reds and greens are notoriously tricky for the computer to get exact, as are off-whites. Some colors may work just fine, and others only in certain lighting. You can't expect two paints with different ingredients to change the same way in light. As Faron has noted many times on the paint forum, it's generally easier to match a brand with fewer colorants into a brand with more colorants (although going the opposite direction I've run into problems as well).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Part of the problem is that the color-matching scanner needs to be calibrated periodically.

If that isn't done, or if the lamps in it start to go bad, all bets are off with any sort of chip-scanning.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Some really good info! Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:37PM
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I could go on for 3 pages here of color-matching "foibles & follies"!!!!
Jessicaml has good info.
* I've been at it for a decade now...and we've got a damn good scanner! And the "color-library competitor-fandeck" matches. All these are....are scans of fandecks adapted to each companies colorant & tintbase versions.
* There's NO WAY to know how good a "match" is until it's literally made.
* I usually compare MY scan to the "Library" scans, and adjust by backing-off some on the stronger colorants.
* They do have to be recalibrated yearly by the Mfr. of the machine. Good scanners nowadays are from several $$Hundred, to a few $$thousand, plus yearly maintenance contracts.
* I'm pretty damn good at it by now, but not perfect...OPTICALLY-there is no such thing as perfect.
* Have I ever had a color be exact after a scan??? Maybe 10% of the time...and I'm FUSSY!! Everyones' "Good enough" threshold is wildly different.
* If I know a color is AURA, the only line I'll match it into is C2. More colorants available to build some of their more COMPLEX colors.
* I don't even ATTEMPT real vivid colors! It NEVER works. These kinda tones have to made into the native brand.
* Sometimes ya gotta "Know when to fold-'em"...;-)


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:27AM
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