Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Can I Use Base Paint Without Tint? [Need To Know]

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

A common misconception is that you must tint base paint.  As with many things in life, “it depends” applies.  Are you talking about ultra-white base paint?  Did you find some paint that is labeled “paint must be tinted”?  Paint without pigments or tints can vary wildly, so read on and we’ll explain the differences and when it’s OK to use tint base paint on its own.

What is Base Paint?

The base paint is what is manufactured to be specifically used for mixing colors. There are four different bases, each for a different type of color. The tint is the hue that has some white added to it to make the color lighter. The tint is a lighter version of the color.

Now that you know what tint and base paint are, can I use base paint without tint? The answer is yes, you can but most will choose to add a tint to it to give the base paint some color. There may also be issues if you used base paint without tint.

In this informative article, you will learn more about base paint and tint. You will learn about the different paint bases and how you can tint base paint. You will also learn what to do if you accidentally tint a paint base.

Can I use Base Paint Without Tint?

Yes, you can use base paint without tint but there can be issues doing this. Depending on the base you choose, it is an un-tinted deep base to an un-tinted light base paint. Most of these paint bases do not have additional pigments that are needed to create tones and tints. They do have some basic neutral pigments. You can use base paint as regular paint whenever you want.

Can I Use Base Paint Without Tint

If you feel that the color does not seem right, then that is when you can decide to use tint on their base paint. One thing to note is that even without using tint, you are not going to have any color, even a white look. If the paint does not have the colorant, it is not considered a complete paint that will give you the right coverage.

Although you can use base paint without tint, you need to first look at what base paint you have and what are you painting over. You are essentially just refreshing the current color if you are using base 1 or a white base and painting over a white surface. Sometimes going this route will require more than a couple of coats.

In most other instances just using a base paint without the tint, it is not going to work. The base paint is clear so they will not give you complete coverage. The result may be patchy or streaky if you are covering a white wall and using any base paint but white.

Many times, base paint without tint will not cover the old paint because they are not rich in pigments. They do not offer strong coverage. You will still be able to see the old color.

Related Reading:Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Metal?

Paint Bases Explained: the Different Kinds of Paint Bases

A painted base will determine how resistant the paint will be to stains and dirt. It will also determine what the durability of the paint will be if you have to do intense scrubbing. When looking at base paint, you will see a number. The higher the number the darker the tint paint color will be. There are several types of paint bases, which include:

Different Kinds Of Paint Bases

  • Light: this tint will give you a light color
  • Medium: this will give you a little darker color
  • Deep: this will give you the darkest color
  • Pastel: this has a lot of white pigments. There is very little room inside the can to add any colorant. These are the ones that most will be used on surfaces that you want to protect from water.
  • White: these make the lightest color
  • Clear: these are often used when you want to create a darker color than you would get with a dark base.
  • Accent base: this is an enriched formula that will give you the maximum color richness. It will also give you shades that are darker than other paints cannot compare to.

They also number base paints.

  • Base 1: this base contains mostly white pigments and is best for pastels or whites
  • Base 2: this has a slightly darker hue with some white pigments
  • Base 3: this is the best base for paint that is mid-toned and does not have as much white pigment, allowing this base to accept more of the tint color.
  • Base 4: this base is for dark paint and has the smallest amount of white pigment. It can take in more of the color.

The base paint is not a primer. Primer can be used as a base coat before you put a new color on the wall, but the base paint is not used as a base coat. The base paint is just used by itself or to create colored paints.

What to do if Base Pant is Mistakenly Used Without Tint?

If you accidentally started to paint with base paint that has not been treated, it is easy to correct. The first thing to do is let the base paint completely. Once it has dried, you can apply the new paint that has been tinted over un-tinted base paint. Being dry, the two paints will not mix together. The new tinted coat will just cover the base paint.

Sometimes, if you have just used a little of the base paint that is not tinted, you may be able to return it to the home improvement store and ask them add the tint to it. Then you would just paint as you normally would.

If you have used too much of the base paint and there is not enough to be tinted, then you will probably just have to buy more paint that has been tinted and redo the entire painting project.

How to Tint Paint (4 Steps)

When you want to have your paint tinted, you can have the professionals at the hardware store do it for you or you can do it yourself. There are several steps that you need to follow

How To Tint Paint

1. Match your color choice

To do this, you need to get some of the color palates from your home improvement store or where you are going to purchase the paint. You are looking for the closest match to the color paint you want. You can choose a shade that is a little darker than the one that you want. The reason is that the dark tints, have a higher pigment, making them easier to be lightened.

2. Match the colors

Once you have made your color choice, you will have to figure out which base color you need to use with the tint to get the desired color. You will need the base with the white paint if you need to tint it a lighter color. Just make sure that before you purchase the paint that the colors match what you want or are as close as they can be.

3. Get enough base paint

To be sure you get enough of the base paint, you want to make sure that you get enough to cover your project. You will need about one-fifth of the volume of your base color to tine.

4. Process base paint

Take the lids off the cans one by one and stir them completely. Pour a few drops of the tint into the can and stir together until you get the desired shade. If the professional, does it, they will add the tint, shake it, and shake it until it is mixed. They will show you the finished product and get your approval.

Once you have the paint to the color that you desire, you are ready to paint.


Can I use base paint without tint and the answer is yes, but there can be issues doing so? These issues have been explained in this article so you can decide if you want to use the base paint or add a tint. We have also covered the different base paints and how to tint them yourself.

Related Read: Water-based vs oil based enamel paints

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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