Think that if you take a paint chip into your big box or hardware store they'll always match it correctly? Wrong. I found this out the hard way last week when I handed over a paint strip containing Benjamin Moore's lovely Silver Fox to the paint mixer dude at my local big box store, indicating the color I wanted. While she was doing the deed, I ran a few aisles over for spackle. When I returned, the mixed paint was ready. The paint-mixer person put a smudge of the newly-mixed Pittsburgh (Grand Distinction) paint on the Silver Fox portion of my paint strip and dried it with a blow drier. Under the ghastly lights overhead, it looked fine.
When I returned home and started painting, things went from 'fine' to what the 'f&%#?'. Since paint dries darker, I waited, cheering it on. Ultimately, I realized this was not the color I picked. It was much lighter; it had no depth. Did I indicate the wrong color? Since there was no such color represented on the strip, the answer to that question was 'no'.
I took the offending can of paint back to the retailer. What up? they asked. That's what I'd like to know, I answered. This is what I found out: Apparently, some paint manufacturers supply color mix ratios for the colors of other paint manufacturers. The paint mixer dude simply enters the brand and name of the color--in this case Benjamin Moore & Silver Fox--into their computer and out pops the secret formula. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh had the mix wrong and I wound up with too light paint. The retailer graciously offered to re-mix the paint for free. Of course, they entered the brand and name again, which produced the same mix ratios. I declined that recipe and asked that they color match the old optical way. This time the interpretation added much more black and a smidgen of red. Already, I felt better. They mixed with the new, non-Pittsburgh formula, and voila, a perfect match.
So, the moral of the story for me is never trust the supplied color formulas when it comes to color matching. The optical decipher-er deal has never let me down yet. And it didn’t this time either.
P.S. A note about Benjamin Moore versus Pittsburgh's Grand Distinction paints. The latter is about 10 bucks cheaper than the former and rivals it in quality.