Dulux, Crown or Johnstone’s Trade Paint Centre

by Mike Gregory

 

I’ve been a decorator for the past 19 years, and I’ve been writing for the Decorators Forum UK for the past 3 years. In this article, I want to give you a little bit of insight into what I think about the BIG 3 trade paint centers, Dulux, Johnstone’s and Crown. This is all opinion based, so you can either take it or leave it.

Dulux Decorating Centre

 

When I think of Dulux Decorating Centre, or DDC, I think of a high-tech paint technician, stood there in a lab coat and test tubes. The branding is sleek and modern, as is the paint factory in Slough if you ever get chance to visit. This is also the main training centre for the Dulux Academy, which is an extremely prestigious set-up!

 

At Dulux Decorating Centre, you will benefit from free delivery and nectar points on every purchase. They have a wide range of paints and sundries and Dulux will always be the most popular choice amongst homeowners. My advice would be to look at their value brand, which is Armstead, and is sold side by side with Dulux. A lot of the time, not only is Armstead a lot cheaper than Dulux, but it is of better quality.

 

I’ll be honest, there are a lot of great products at Dulux, but there are a few poor quality products as well. Another downside is Dulux is probably the most expensive out of the three, especially if you do not have a trade account.

 

Johnstone’s Decorating Centre

 

Johnstone’s Decorating Center is your old grandad, pottering around in the shed with his flat cap on. Very traditional branding, cheap sundries and paint that you can always depend on. The trade pricing structure for JDC is dead easy as well, you get given a percentage of discount depending on how much you spend and how hard you haggle.

 

There are a lot of variations of the same products at Johnstone’s, meaning unless you spend a lot of time in there, it can get quite confusing. To give you an example, let’s talk durable matt. You could go for Johnstone’s Durable Matt, Endura or Cleanable. Three separate versions!

 

There are a few great products as well! I don’t know how they get away with it, but you can go into a Johnstone’s Decorating Center with a colour from a different brand and they’ll mix it for you there and then, no scanning involved. This is a massive advantage over the others.

 

Crown Decorating Centre

 

If Dulux is a technician in a lab coat and Johnstone’s is your old reliable grandad, Crown is your bezzy mate. You need to go into a CDC and have a proper chat with a manager to get the best out of them. If you know what you are willing to spend on a product, be upfront about it. The managers at Crown have a lot more power over prices than the managers at Johnstone’s and Dulux.

 

The only downside to that is you seem to pay a different price every time you go in. Some great products as well, not just from crown buy great problem-solving paints from Coo-Var and Tor-Coatings. Crown isn’t about being big, bold and flashy. Crown is a lot more personal. CDC is like an Aladdin’s cave of brands too. You have a lot of choice, whether you’re looking for masking tape, or shellac-based primer.

 

You’ll find Crown a lot better than the others if you’re a retail customer (if you do not have an account). You will be treated fairer.

 

Tikkurila Pro

 

I know this is outside the big 3, but I had to mention the exotic lover who everyone loves to gossip about!! Tikkurila is the new brand on the block which is taking the industry by storm. You may get free bacon sandwiches, nice coffee, a Festool sander display, Tri Tech spray equipment off and floor-to-ceiling products with funny names. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the place, but the staff are helpful and some of the products are unbelievably good!!

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