Best Vinyl Matt Emulsion for walls

Updated May 7, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 9 comments

I’ve been a decorator for the past 18 years and I’m a little bit of a geek when it comes to paint products. I thought I’d sit down and write a quick (and honest) guide to vinyl matt.  To state the obvious, trade paint is of better quality than retail, so you should always look for the word “trade” on the tin.

There are many different brands of trade vinyl matt, I’m going to give you a brief review of the mainstream options, so you can decide for yourself the best vinyl matt emulsion for your walls. If you are decorating a high traffic area, or you have pets or children then you may be better off this a durable matt emulsion.

You can buy trade paint by going directly to a trade counter, where you’ll receive expert advice and guidance. However, unless you qualify for a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy this type of paint online. Plus, by buying online, you can have any colour from one brand mixed into the product of another brand. For example, you could get a Farrow & Ball colour in Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt. Or a Dulux colour in Johnstone’s Covaplus. To that end, I’ll link each of the vinyl matt products to an appropriate website as we go along.



Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt Review


Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt Emulsion is probably the most expensive trade paint on this list. The sheen level is a little bit high for a matt, meaning you can have issues with flashing on light sensitive rooms.

Opacity is great though, especially in strong colours, and it’s fairly durable for a vinyl matt. I don’t rate this paint if I’m honest. I don’t mind paying a primium price if I’m getting a primium product, but this just isn’t. 4/10 Click here to see online prices.


Macphersons Vinyl Matt Review


Made by the same company who own Crown, this is the value brand. Macphersons is just that, a cheaper alternative but not quite as good. Still a lot better than retail paint and it definitely has its place. You can’t touch this stuff up and it marks easily. 6/10


Johnstone’s Covaplus Review


PPG’s premium brand. Johnstone’s Trade Covaplus vinyl matt is mid-price range, opacity is good and does everything you’d expect. More durable than Crown but not as durable as Dulux. You don’t really have any issues with flashing or picture framing like you can with the others. The finish is nice and flat too! Easy 9/10, Johnstone’s Covaplus is the best standard trade vinyl matt on the market in my opinion. Click here to see online prices.


Leyland Trade Vinyl Matt Review


PPG’s value brand. Leyland trade vinyl matt does everything that Covaplus does, but sometimes needs an extra coat. For the sake of a few quid you may as well go with the Covaplus. 7/10


Johnstone’s Perfect Matt Review


This is by far the most premium product on the list. Perfect matt is Johnstone’s answer to designer emulsions such as Farrow and Ball or Little Greene and although it is expensive, Perfect Matt is something very special.

The finish is luxurious, deep and the flattest matt you’re ever going to come across. It’s actually durable too and you can touch it up without any visible flashing. No issues with roller marks, flashing or picture framing and the opacity is bang on. This is probably the best emulsion on the market, however it does come with a hefty price tag. If you don’t mind spending a little bit more to get the best finish possible, then Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is the one you want. 10/10 for me on this one but it depends on budget. Click here to see online prices.


Armstead Vinyl Matt Review


Owned by the same company as Dulux, Armstead is the value brand and Dulux is supposedly the premium. Armstead Trade Vinyl Matt is cheaper and has less of a sheen level, meaning you get less problems and a nicer finish.

The only downside is the opacity isn’t as good as Dulux, but you rarely need more than two coats so it’s all good. I prefer this brand over Dulux. It’s a great choice and one of my favourites as it represents great value for money. 7/10 from me. Click here to see online prices.


Crown Trade Vinyl Matt Review


The biggest positive I can say about Crown trade vinyl is its cheap and you get value for money. The paint isn’t very durable, in fact it’s more like a contract matt in that sense. You get a nice flat finish and opacity is good. Add a drop of water to help it flow. A good product at a great price and I do use it from time to time. I wouldn’t use it in my own house because of the lack of durability. Another 7/10, if it was as expensive as some of the others I’d mark it lower. Click here to see online prices. 


Farrow and Ball Estate and Modern Emulsion Review


Two separate and very different products, but we’ll talk about them together. The first thing to mention is Farrow and Ball emulsion lacks opacity, and you will need to use the specified primer before applying your topcoats of paint. Considering the cost of Farrow and Ball is extortionate, many begrudge having to buy the extra product or apply an extra coat.

Farrow and Ball Estate emulsion is a true flat matt and the finish is nice to be fair. Colours are rich and luxurious, but the paint itself dries very chalky. This means it is very easily marked so it is no good in high traffic areas.

The Modern Emulsion is more of a “durable emulsion” to be fair. The finish is ok, however the sheen level is a little on the high site for a “vinyl matt”. This, along with the opacity issues let down a bit. Still an ok paint.

If Farrow and Ball were the same price as a tin of Armstead then fair enough, I’d be “painting” it in a better light. For me, both Farrow and Ball emulsion products are below the standard they should be for the price bracket they place themselves. There are better products out there. I’ll give them a collective 4/10. Click here to see online prices.


What are the Best Tools to Apply Vinyl Matt Emulsion with?


You’re reading this blog because you want to find the best vinyl matt emulsion, which is brilliant. However, your choice of tools will also make a big difference when trying to achieve that perfect finish.

You should use a brush that holds plenty of paint, holds its shape, won’t drag, and is soft enough to ‘lay off’ without leaving brush marks. My favourite is ProDec Ice Fusion, which ticks all the boxes. Its bristles are tapered from base to tip, meaning there is more room within the brush to hold paint. Click here to see online prices.

You also need a good roller when applying vinyl matt. I like Hamilton Perfection Medium Pile (green). They hold plenty of paint, spread it evenly, and leave no orange peel. Click here to see online prices.

This blog was written by Mike Cupit, a Professional Decorator of over 20 years and owner of Decorators Forum UK.

Updated May 7, 2024 | Posted Aug 20, 2019 | 9 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. Dicky

    How does Tikkurlia vinyl matt stand up to the rest? It’s a lot cheaper than dulux and crown. I pretty impressed with the tikkurlia range.

    • David mark Pines

      I’ve been a professional decorater with 35 years experience, this is a fantastic product. And would highly recommend.

  2. Stuart Beausire

    Dulux, Crown and Johnstone’s are the worst emulsion paint to use when painting over Caulk, as it cracks, especially when using Flatmatt. Does everyone else have this problem? I have used Red Bin Primer to stop this from happening, but it only seems to work after you have painted over it with the emulation, which causes a lot more work. Dulux has really lost its touch with its emulation products.

    • Stuart Williams

      Any Vinyl based paint will crack over an acrylic caulk.
      Use an acrylic based paint and it won’t happen .Johnstone’s do excellent acrylic based emulsion!

      • Stewart Henton

        So what caulk should be used beneath a normal Vinyl Matt emulsion to avoid cracking?

  3. Poz

    Hi, I have used Leyland Trade hard-wearing Matt paint in the bedrooms but noticed on the tin it says for kitchens bathrooms and busy areas, do you know if this will be ok in the bedrooms, thank you

    • Mike Cupit

      It will be absolutely fine in a bedroom. Crack on

      • Poz

        Thank you ever so much, I’ve made a mess in the past so trying to do it correctly this time 🙂

  4. Julie Buckley

    I swear by Wickes, both their vinyl matt emulsion and the cheaper walls and ceilings have great coverage and finish and good durability. The worse ive used are Valspar trade and crown trade, both very watery and need more coats than Wickes. The more expensive Little Green is a lovely paint to use and Farrow and Ball dreadful.


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