I’ve been a decorator for the best part of 20 years, 10 of which I have spent self-employed. So, I know better than most that the range of paint available in the UK can be quite overwhelming.
Not only are there hundreds of different brands, but the price range between two comparable products can be vast. So, the question on everyone’s lips; is it worth paying more money for better paint? Is good quality paint important when decorating, or is it all pretty much the same? This blog will clear things up for you.
The Different Paint Products for Different Markets
There are three paint markets in the UK; You have retail paint, trade paint and designer paint. They’re all manufactured to different budgets and have been developed for different types of consumer. It’s important to understand the difference.
Retail paint is made to a tight budget and compromises massively on quality. You’ll find retail paint in DIY stores like B&Q and is mostly bought by homeowners and people who do not understand what they’re buying. A manufacturer will look at what price a retail paint needs be for it to sell large quantities, then stick to that budget when making the paint.
Trade paint is a step up from retail. You’ll find it in Trade Paint shops, and it is predominantly used by painters and decorators. This type of paint is more expensive than retail but will perform much better.
Designer paint is a step up from trade in terms of price, but not always quality. It is available from a variety of different stores and predominantly sold to clientele a decorator might call “high-end retail”.
Is Good Quality Paint Important When Decorating?
Sorry, only just getting down to the original question; The quality of your paint is VERY important when you’re decorating. Cheap paints will not perform as well as good paint. You may need to spend a bit more cash on the materials when decorating a room, but your finish will be much better and it is likely to last longer.
Trade Paint Vs Retail Paint
I thought it might be an idea to pitch each type of paint against each other to make it simpler. The trade Vs retail argument is a great place to start. Valspar, Dulux, Crown and Johnstone’s all make both retail and trade versions of their products. The way to tell them apart is the word “trade” on the tin.
Let’s use emulsion as the comparison. More specifically, a tin of retail matt emulsion Vs a trade vinyl matt emulsion.
The tin of retail matt will…
Contain less polymer binders, so your painted walls will be prone to scuffing.
Contain less pigments, so you may need to apply an extra coat to get it to cover.
Contain cheaper solids, so your painted walls may show defects such as flashing or picture framing.
Cost maybe £30 a tin cheaper. So, is it worth it? You can save yourself £30 on a tin of paint, but you’ll be left with a substandard finish which won’t last as long.
One more comparison? Let’s go retail Vs trade masonry paint.
The tin of retail masonry paint will…
Contain a cheaper polymer, which won’t allow your substrate to breath, so may well start to peel.
Contain cheaper pigments, so will discolour quicker.
Will break down sooner, so you will need to paint your exterior stonework again sooner.
Trade Vs Designer Paint
So, we know trade paint is much better than retail, and will lead to a better finish. But is designer paint better quality than trade? This isn’t a very easy question to answer. You see trade paint may be more expensive than retail, but it’s still a competitive part of the market. Decorators weigh up quality Vs price and buy accordingly. So, manufacturers need to produce the best trade paint they can for that price bracket.
Designer paint is a lot more brand focused. There’s a lot of money spent on clever marketing tactics, rather than a manufacturer developing the best paint they possibly can. The upshot of this is some trade paints outperform their designer counterparts.
That isn’t to say that assessment works across the board. There are a few designer paints which are fantastic quality and perform brilliantly. Coat and Earthborn Clay Paint are perfect examples. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’ll leave you with an amazing finish every time!
What Paint do I Use?
It’s a no-brainer for me. I’m lucky because I get to play around with a wide range of paints, but 90% of the time, I stick to trade. Believe me when I say that using a good quality paint is important. Trade paint is the perfect balance between performance and price.
I do not see any plausible reason for someone to go for the cheaper option. For the sake of a few quid, go for materials that will last.
What are the Best Paints?
I thought I’d take a little bit of time to explain some of the paint products I think are the best quality. This part of the blog is based on my own experience and preference, but if you follow my advice, you won’t go far wrong.
Teknos Pro5 is a durable matt emulsion with a great depth of colour. You’ll find it cheaper than designer brands, but gives a finish as good, or better than anything else on the market. Plus, if you order it online by clicking here, you’ll be able to get it matched into any other brand’s colour (thank me later).
The best quality satinwood is probably Benjamin Moore Scuff X, but it is expensive. This is a water-based products which you can use directly on top of old oil-based paint. Available online by clicking here.
If you want a satinwood that’s still good quality, but is cheaper, then you should look at WRX satin. Only available in “Brilliant White”, but it gives you a great finish and it’s very durable. Available online by clicking here.
The importance of good quality paint when decorating – by Mike Gregory