Do Not Use Contract Matt as a Mist Coat Bare Plaster

By Mike Cupit


Too many decorators are still using cheap contract matt to prime bare plaster. It’s an old school approach and you shouldn’t do it in modern decorating. There’s no need.


I see it all the time on the Decorators Forum UK. People arguing that, “contract matt allows plaster to breathe”. Well yes, it does, until you coat over the top of it with something that doesn’t. So that argument is null and void.


Or another one I see is, “you don’t prime plaster with a paint full of vinyl because it creates a film”. A film? A vinyl or durable matt will adhere to bare plaster better than it will a contract matt. You’re literally giving the paint less chance of sticking.


The best one, “it’s cheaper than vinyl matt so you’re saving money”. Absolute poppycock!! If I’m using a vinyl matt and I’m faced with bare plaster, I give it 2 coats of vinyl matt. You give it a coat of contract matt and then 2 coats of vinyl matt. How is your way cheaper??


The Right Way to Mist Coat Bare Plaster


For the love of God, follow the manufacturers instructions!! They are there for a reason and no decorator is qualified enough to know better than the scientists who make the paint. Every vinyl matt I know of tells you to use a diluted vinyl matt to mist. With the exception of Tikkurila Optiva 5 and Farrow and Ball Modern emulsion, every durable matt I know of tells you to use durable matt as a mist coat. Even acrylic eggshells are the same!


The paint sticks better to bare plaster than it does a cheap chalky contract matt. The contract matt is your weak link. I don’t understand why decorators still want to use the stuff. The only time it is ok to use contract matt is when you’re house bashing.


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Do Not Use Contract Matt as a Mist Coat