Best Trade Paint to use

By Mike Gregory


I’ve been a decorator most of my working life and I’m a little bit of a paint geek. I don’t just stick to one brand, I use several and cherry pick the best products from each. I’m going to take you through what I know to be the best trade paint for each particular purpose. I’ll dive into products from Tikkurila, Johnstone’s, Dulux and Crown. Hope you enjoy it.



Best White Emulsion for Ceilings and Walls


White emulsion isn’t just white emulsion. If you choose a low quality white emulsion, you will get problems such as picture framing, flashing and poor opacity. The very best white emulsion to use is Tikkurila Anti-Reflex. It is literally all I use now. Dead flat finish, which is luxuriously rich, easy to apply, hides a multitude of sins and it’s even durable. I use it all over the place and it’s great whether you’re spraying, or applying by brush and roller. No question in my mind, you’ll never find a better one.


Best Coloured Vinyl Matt Emulsion


The best normal trade vinyl matt is Johnstone’s covaplus. It is a reasonable price, easy to apply, great opacity and very few problems with picture framing. If you’re shopping at Johnstone’s Decorating Centre they’ll easily match any colour from a different brand. Many decorators will get Farrow and Ball colours mixed into covaplus to avoid stupidly high F&B prices. There are better emulsions out there, but you will have to spend big for them.



Durable Matt Emulsion


The best durable matt emulsion is Crown Clean Extreme. It is great value for money, very easy to apply and extremely durable. Not just that, but the finish is awesome!! You can have issues with flashing or high sheen levels when using some durable matt emulsions. Clean Extreme avoids both.


A close second is Tikkurila Optiva 5 for many of the same reasons.



The Best “High End” Matt Emulsion


Ok, so the last paragraph was for the best standard durable matt emulsion and we’ve done one for the best standard vinyl matt emulsion. I’d use one of these on about 90% of my jobs, but if price isn’t an issue, there are plenty of premium emulsion paints out there. So which is the very best? Another easy one for me, Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is amazing and knocks the spots off any of the designer brands I’ve used!!


A dead flat finish, opacity is spot on, easy to use, durable and you’ll never have any problems with picture framing or flashing. Honestly, the best finish you’ll ever see in your life!! It is expensive, but you get what you pay for.



Best Oil-Based Satinwood


This is a toss up between Dulux Trade and Crown.


The Dulux leaves a nice rich flat finish (flat for a satinwood anyway) and comes in brilliant white and it goes on nicely too. The only gripe I have is the opacity isn’t quite as good as Crown’s and it’s quite pricey. Oh, and if you get it tinted into a dark colour it takes a lifetime to dry.


Crown comes in white, but not brilliant white. I don’t mind that to be honest as satinwood isn’t supposed to be “in your face” anyway. Ease of use and opacity are bang on. It is 25% cheaper that the Dulux alternative too.


I’d happily use either product, but I’d say Crown probably edges it. Stay away from Johnstone’s because it goes yellow very quickly.



The Best Oil-Based Gloss


It’s got to be Crown Trade Next Generation Gloss for me!! Easy to apply, great opacity and doesn’t go yellow as quickly as it’s rivals. Again, stay away from Johnstone’s.



Water-based Gloss and Satinwood


The most popular water-based gloss and satinwood is Johnstone’s Aqua, however I strongly disagree with the masses on this one!! If you want “high end” satinwood and you’re not bothered about the price tag, then you need to go with Benjamin Moore Scuff x. It is scuff resistant, very easy to apply, will adhere to previously oil-coated surfaces without the need for a separate primer and the finish is to die for. It is expensive though.


The second best, for me, would be Caparol PU satin or Gloss. You will need the Haft Primer to go with it, but it is amazing gear. You’ll find it flows out lovely, brush marks seem to vanish and the finish is awesome.


The best Stain Block


This has got to be either Zinsser Cover stain or Zinsser BIN, depending on the task in hand. Both have awesome stain blocking capabilities. Cover Stain is a lot easier to use but takes longer to dry.


Metal Paint


The best metal paint is another easy one, good old fashioned Hammerite every time!! You can use it directly on rust or bare metal without the need of an additional primer. It is thick and creamy so you can apply big coats. Not just all that, but it dries pretty quickly so you can get two coats on in a day. Definitely the best option for a task such as painting metal railings.



If I was Going to Stick to one Brand?


The best overall brand of trade paint is Johnstone’s. I know that seems a bit funny after only mentioning them once or twice, but they provide everything a decorator needs. Good prices, quality products and a vast range.



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