Can I Use Base Paint without Tint?

When it comes to interior renovation, tint is highly recommended by experts before painting walls. But some may choose to skip this extra step and go straight to laying on their desired color – which may not be a great idea. 

Now, can I use base paint without tint?

There’s no right or wrong answer for this. Yes, you can ditch the tint and go straight for the base paint. Will it look good? We can’t promise you that.

Both base paint and tint are important for achieving vibrant color on walls. Leave either of the two out, and you’ll see a noticeable shift in quality.

So, we’re going to explore both sides of using base paint with and without tint to determine if sans tint is the way to go.

Can I Use Base Paint without Tint

What Is Tint Paint?

To put it simply, tint painting is when colorants are used to make the desired color of the walls livelier. Colorants are essentially highly concentrated paint pigments. These can make any shade of color either darker, brighter, softer, or lighter.

As colorants are basically paints that are much more pigmented, a little bit of it goes a long way. Renovators usually use colorants in small amounts to make minor adjustments to the color they have chosen.

A tint is very important if you want your wall paint to turn out well. Without tint, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the color you’ve chosen. Tint painting is a crucial step with any type of wall paint as it will bring out the selected color in its full form.

It does so by lessening the appearance of the material or paint that was originally on the untouched wall. Tint also minimizes the look of base paint streaks and prevents them from bleeding through the desired color.

Tint paint can be store-bought or homemade. In stores, an employee will take paint (not base paint) and punch a few codes into a machine using color theory to find the exact match to your selected color. This produces a pigmented hue or colorant.

While homemade tint is difficult to make, it’s still possible. You will have to take a neutral shade of paint and mix it with different colors until you come to the closest match.

What Is Base Paint?

By itself, base paint cannot do much. It is basically a substance that is meant to be mixed with another substance, most commonly tint. Even with “paint” in its name, base paint is actually a powdery substance that forms the bulk of the paint.

With the base, the outermost layer of paint becomes more opaque and solid. It also helps to prevent wrinkles or cracks. There is a wide range of bases you can choose from, including aluminum powder, titanium white, zinc white, white lead, red lead, and lithophone.

Each type of base is formulated for a specific surface type. For instance, red lead is mostly used to paint iron surfaces, while white lead is used for regular painting works (primarily on wooden surfaces).

The base paint is not to be confused with primer. This is a common mistake because both base paint and primer are used before applying a new color to a wall. But now you know that base paint is actually a medium for forming the body of the selected paint.

Can I Use Base Paint without Tint? Split Answer

By now, you can probably get that base and tint are both very important components of painting walls. But what happens when the tint is left out of the equation?

The tint itself is not as easily accessible as the base is. It requires a meticulous blending of colors over a period of time and is often done by professionals. So, painters usually contemplate skipping out on this step.

Here are two answers to this dilemma –

  1. Yes, You Can Use Base Paint without Tint

As we’ve mentioned before in our What is Tint Paint? section, tint is used for enhanced color vibrance, preventing colors from bleeding through and minimizing the appearance of streakiness. It’s basically used to make the color of the wall as good as possible.

But, if minor details such as paint streaks, parts of the wall showing, and uneven patches aren’t a big deal to your project, you can ditch the tint.

When retouching walls, tint is pointless to the process. Dull patches and scruffiness are common signs of aging walls, but they don’t mean you need to redo the entire wall. If you want to repaint the wall the same color it is, you can skip the tinting step and go ahead with the paint application.

But, if you’re starting a wall off from scratch, there’s still one way to pass on tinting – using a colored base.

A colored base will give you that extra hue of color that the tint usually would. Unlike a non-colored base, a colored one will make the result look more vibrant and fuller.

However, this isn’t a substitute for tinting, as the results will still look bland in comparison to a tinted wall.

  1. No, You Can’t Use Base Paint without Tint

A colorant or tint is vital for proper coverage. Without tint, a base imposes a decline in the quality of your selected paint, which increases the possibility of streakiness and faded spots. If a tint is not used, you will constantly find yourself retouching the walls because of the paint bleeding through.

When untinted base paint is added to light-colored walls, there’s a very high chance that the original color of the walls will bleed through. This will make it very difficult to layer on new paint without the existing color interfering.

Plus, you will never be able to achieve the color you actually selected without a tinted base paint. Your desired color will keep getting overpowered by the hue of your walls and need to be retouched constantly. This will not only cause badly painted walls but waste a huge amount of paint.

Will Goof off on Car Paint Affect the Use of Base Paint without Tint?

Using goof off car paint on your vehicle can potentially affect the use of base paint without tint. It’s important to be cautious when using any type of solvent or cleaning product on your car’s paint. Always test in a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.

How to Make Tint at Home

Making homemade tint is tough, but it’s not impossible. If you were debating on going sans tint but have changed your mind, here’s how you can make your own –

Step 1 – Swatch Different Shades

Take a quick trip to a hardware store or art supplies shop to test out color swatches. If you already have a color in mind for your wall, do a bit of searching on Pinterest to find the exact color code of your desired base color (color of the tint). This will make it much easier for the employees to help you find a close match.

Since you’re making a tint, it’s best to choose a paint that’s one shade darker than the one you’ve selected. This is because darker colors are more pigmented and can be adjusted easily.

Step 2 – Making the Tint

Gather your swatches and assess them to map out a plan of how to adjust your base color. For lighter colors, you will need to add your base color to white paint. Adding darker paints such as black, gray, or brown will deepen your base color.

You can also switch between the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to create new shades.

Step 3 – Use the Right Amount of Product

Make sure you have enough of your base color to accommodate your project. In order to achieve your chosen hue, you’ll need about one-fifth of the volume of the base color you’ve made. Some hues may require the use of multiple different tints, which will make the blending process more complicated.

Step 4 – Mix Tint with Base Paint

Open the paint can and start stirring the colors. Take your base paint and pour a small amount into an empty paint can. Now add drops of your tint into it and mix well. Remove your stirring stick once the paint is thoroughly mixed and hold it up to the light. If you think it is the right shade, proceed to the next step.

If not, keep adding drops of tint until you reach your desired hue. Keep track of how many drops per ounce of base paint you’ve added to get your shade. This will help you make more tinted base paint when you’ve run out of it.

Step 5 – Start Painting

Once your base paint is tinted, you can start painting your walls. Make sure to cover all parts of your walls and leave no untouched spots. If you have a little tint or tinted base paint left, store it away for later.


So, if someone asks you the question, can I use base paint without tint, the answer would be – yes, you can, but the results will not be satisfactory. There’s no perfect substitute for tint, and there will always be signs of patchiness and streaks if there’s no tinted base paint.

Tinting may seem like a pointless step, but it will significantly change the quality of your paint. To achieve full coverage, wrinkle-free, and vibrantly colored walls, we highly recommend using tint, even if it’s homemade.

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