Best Durable Matt Emulsion Paint

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 4 comments

I have been a Professional Decorator for the past 21 years. In that time, I have used a lot of different paint brands. This is my unbiased guide to the best durable matt emulsion paint products on the British market. I hope you find it useful when deciding on paint for your project.

It may seem obvious, but trade paint is much better quality than retail. You can buy these products from many trade counters, but unless you qualify for a pro account, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy online. Another advantage of shopping online is you can get one brand’s colour mixed into another brand’s product. So you can get a Farrow and Ball colour in Johnstone’s Durable Matt, or a Johnstone’s colour mixed in Dulux. For those reasons, I’ll link each product so you can see current prices.


What is Durable Matt Emulsion and Where Would You Use it?


Before we get into talking about the best durable matt emulsion paints, I thought it might be an idea to briefly explain what it is and where you’d use it.

Vinyl matt is the most used emulsion for interior walls and ceilings. The difference between vinyl matt and durable matt is the polymer binder in the two paints. Vinyl is the polymer in vinyl matt (obvious really). Whereas acrylic is the polymer in durable matt emulsion.

Acrylic makes the paint waterproof and durable, meaning it copes with the conditions in kitchens, bathrooms, and high traffic areas. You might opt for durable matt on your walls if you have young children or pets.


Dulux Trade Diamond Matt Review

I used to hate Dulux Diamond Matt. Until they reformulated it recently, you’d always encounter problems with roller marks and picture framing.

It’s completely different now, and it’s easily one of the best durable matt emulsion paint products available. It has a luxurious low sheen ‘chalky’ finish with a fantastic depth. Brush and roller marks blend as it dries and ‘settles down’.

There are a couple of drawbacks; it isn’t quite as durable as most of the other paint products on this list, and the opacity in white isn’t very good. This just means you may need to apply an extra coat when using it in white.

That said, it still gives you the best finish you can achieve from a durable matt. I even use it in my own kitchen. 9/10 for me

best durable matt emulsion for a kitchen

Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt Review


Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt is roughly the same price as the Dulux Diamond, however people with a trade account will get a nice discount. You can have it mixed into any Johnstone’s or Leyland colour and JJC is pretty good at matching other brands too.

The opacity in light colours is poor, however the stronger colours tend to cover well in two coats. The sheen level is probably a little bit higher than you’d want, however the overall finish of this durable matt is relatively good. It will clog your brushes on a hot day but that’s only a minor gripe.

I have used this durable matt as a professional decorator, but it isn’t as good as the Dulux or Crown alternatives. It can look quite cheap.  All in all, I’d give it 6/10. It’s worth mentioning that Johnstone’s also do variations of this product which are more durable. Click here to see online prices


Johnstone’s Perfect Matt Review

Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is well worth talking about. The finish is a dead flat rich matt, which any interior designer would love. This is a premium product with a premium price tag and although it claims “durable”, it may well be the least durable paint on this list.

However, it does produce one of the nicest finishes you’ll ever achieve. No roller marks or picture framing. Even a child could get the perfect finish with this emulsion. If price is not an issue, this is the paint for you. I would go for this over any of the designer brands I have ever used.

A lot of decorators I know use Perfect Matt to paint ceilings in light critical rooms. The opacity is good in white, and because it’s an ultra-low sheen paint, you won’t see a single defect. 9/10

the best vinyl matt emulsion paint

Crown Clean Extreme Review

Crown Clean Extreme is cheaper than Dulux and Johnstone’s. It’s also the most durable emulsion on this page, and one of my favourites!

You can have it mixed into any colour from Crown’s range (or get a colour match to a different brand).

The sheen level is slightly high for a ‘matt’, but the finish is still lovely and rich. It flows so well from a brush or paint roller. It really is lovely to use. They also offer an antibacterial and anti-mould versions of this paint.

Crown Trade Clean Extreme is one of the best hardwearing paints on the market.

Teknos Pro5 Review


Teknos is quite an exciting brand, and one I have been using a lot over the past year. The Teknos Pro5 is a very impressive product. The finish is like Johnstone’s Perfect Matt, but maybe even better. It has a very low sheen to it and a gorgeous depth of colour. It is very durable too, and reasonably priced. If I had to recommend one durable matt emulsion over all others, Teknos Pro5 would be it. What’s more, if you order online from Promain, they will match any colour from any brand, making the buying process nice and easy. 10/10, you will not find a better product.

Tikkurila Optiva 5 Review


Tikkurila only have around 3% of the market share when it comes to paint in the UK, if that. But it is growing in popularity. Optiva 5 is Tikkurila’s durable matt emulsion. We’re talking about a durable emulsion with a 5% sheen level, which is brilliant. It can clog up on your brush, but flow is generally good, as are opacity and finish. It is fairly cheap if you have a trade account, but will cost you a bomb if you don’t as it is only really available from trade counters. The only little gripe is the durability, which I don’t think is quite as good as the others.

8/10 for me. A good durable matt emulsion. Click here to see online prices.


WRX Wall Paint Review


WRX wall paint is only available in white and will cost you the grand total of £50 when purchased online at TopDec Decorating Supplies. This is quite an interesting paint. It goes on lovely, however can pull on itself. To compensate you must cut and roll one wall at a time. It is a very durable product and contains fungicide to prevent mould growth. This makes it the ideal paint for a kitchen or bathroom where condensation can be an issue. The opacity and finish of this paint are absolutely second to none and if you’re looking for white, I’d recommend you try this paint.


Retail Kitchen and Bathroom Paint Review


Kitchen and bathroom emulsion which are sold from DIY shops or B&Q does have its place on the market. Made buy all the big three manufacturers, Dulux, Crown and Johnstone’s, retail paint is made to a tighter budget. Because the manufacturers cut costs to keep the price of retail emulsion down, the quality and standard of the paint is much lower. Retail emulsion will not be as durable as it’s trade counterpart, nor will the finish be as good. No professional decorator will buy this paint. If it doesn’t say “trade” on the tin, leave the tin on the shelf. 3/10 from me. Don’t bother


Best Brush and Roller to Apply Durable Matt Emulsion to Walls


I thought I’d include a little section on the best brush and roller for durable matt emulsion. This type of paint doesn’t tend to drag, so a medium pile roller and a brush with plenty of space between the bristles is ideal.

The Hamilton Perfection takes some beating with regards to a roller. It is quite expensive by the time you’ve got yourself a scuttle and the cage, but it’s a professional bit of kit that will last a lifetime. Plus, you’ll get a great finish every time. Click here to see online prices.

The ProDec Ice Fusion brush is brilliant in durable matt emulsion. The bristles are tapered from base to tip, which helps it hold more paint. Cutting in is a dream. Available online by clicking here.

Blog written by Mike Gregory– Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated May 18, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Juene

    I wish I found your article before I purchased Dulux Trade Diamond Matt, plus Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt. Both were absolute nightmare to work with!

    At first, I thought it was down to my, and my partner’s, lack of painting skills. But we had decorated and used other paint brands before that was much much cheaper and never gave us so much aggro; we both hated painting so much that we swore that we would never paint any wall ever again after this project!

    But I have now read reviews that stated the same problem we had for these paint types and we were not the only one. And honestly, with these much problems, these two paints should not be sold at all!

    They both could give a very chalky finish and brush strokes were definitely visible that we had to be extremely careful. However, as both paint dried too quickly to be able to blend nicely, that it has become impossible task to do.

    We were lucky that it wasn’t that noticeable for the white wall but well unfortunately I did go for half white half off black colour scheme. And my god, if we thought the white was nightmare… try off-black! All the imperfections were so obvious: the chalky finish, roller marks and the hideous picture framing.

    Forget about doing some patch work, you have to do the whole wall just to cover small imperfection due to all of the problems! (We did try which only resulted in much greater frustration)

    I will complain to Dulux. It’s really unacceptable for the well-known brand that charge a fortune for products with such a poor performance like this. I am surprised for many good reviews for these paint types. These people must have done the painting in a poor light condition!

    I have decided that I will try the Crown as suggested so wish me luck! On the bright side now I already have the correct undercoat, heh…

    You may want to add on your Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt review of visible finger marks, which is impossible to clean properly as, not it will just smear everywhere, the paint does come off as well. This type was advertised as washable and suitable for high traffic area. Clearly it isn’t.

    • Greg Mason

      Dulux changed the recipe for a lot of their paint and now it is a nightmare to work with.

  2. g wilson

    is dulux valintine any good

  3. Craig Williams

    Armstead durable Matt every time for me


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