Johnstone’s Durable Matt Review

Updated Feb 20, 2024 | Posted Aug 21, 2019 | Product Advice, Professional insight | 22 comments

Johnstone’s Durable Matt review, I’m really not sure!!

So, I’ve been asking on  Decorators Forum UK about Johnston’s Durable Matt. To be honest I was a Valspar Trade fan, but heard Johnstone’s was far superior as a scrubbable Matt. So I thought I’d try it and give my full Johnstone’s Durable matt review.

I had a scout around before buying my Johnstone’s durable matt and found it a lot cheaper to buy online at Decorating Centre Online than buying directly from Johnstone’s. I don’t understand that really, possibly because I don’t use Johnstone’s Decorating Centre enough to warrant them giving me a good trade discount.

So, here are my pics of this week’s work using Johnstone’s over pre-existing light blue Matt (see images)

4 coats needed on each colour!

I never use more than 2 on Valspar?? It was hard work and took me a day longer than I wanted…

Click here to see online prices.


Best Brush and Roller to Apply Johnstone’s Durable Matt Emulsion to Walls


I thought I’d include a little section on the best brush and roller for durable matt emulsion. This type of paint doesn’t tend to drag, so a medium pile roller and a brush with plenty of space between the bristles is ideal.

The Rota Gold LoTex roller takes some beating. It’s reasonably priced, will fit the Ciret or Hamilton cages, holds loads of paint and leaves a fantastic finish. The roller sleeve is coated with extract from the Lotus plant, which helps it retain and distribute the paint. Available online by clicking here.

The ProDec Ice Fusion brush is brilliant in durable matt emulsion. The bristles are tapered from base to tip, which helps it hold more paint. Cutting in is a dream. Available online by clicking here.

Johnstone’s Durable Matt Emulsion Review – by Glenn Riddle


I mean firstly, blue is one of the hardest colours to go over so if you’ve slapped the Johnstone’s Durable Matt straight on then more fool you. A cheap miscoat of white would have helped a lot.

Also Acrylic Durable Matt is not any different to apply any different to any other Matt Emulsion, it’s just more durable against stains and marks. It wouldn’t have covered more just because its durable.

All in all Johnston’s Acrylic Durable Matt is exceptional against stains, moisture and yellowing. It’s not the cheapest but you get back what you pay for in the finish and the durability

Luke Joyce

I like Johnstone’s Trade Durable matt. It’s not quite as good as Crown Clean Extreme, but it’s a lot better than Dulux Diamond matt. The best thing about Johnstone’s is you can walk into any store and ask them to match a colour from a different brand. It’s good value for money too. Can’t go wrong!!

Mike Jones

I’ve had a couple of issues with Johnstone’s Durable Matt in the lighter colours, but on the whole it is OK. Have u tried Albany from brewers? That’s damn good!

Andrew Buckett

I struggle to get a 2-coat finish with the Johnston’s durable as well. Most of the time it takes me three. I use the Covaplus vinyl matt now, much better finish I think

Ryan Williams

For walls, I use nothing else these days apart from Johnston’s Acrylic Durable and it’s very rare to have to put on more than 2 coats. Orange is a hard colour to cover with though. I’m going to try their Cleanable matt also as I’m told its flat matt and has a better stain resistance.

Johnstone’s Durable Matt Review

Graham Simms

What a load of pish. Johnstone’s durable matt it one of the best durable matt emulsions on the market. It doesn’t matter what brand you use, for a bold colour you need to blank it out in vinyl matt first. No way you’d be able to get the same finish in Valspar as you do in Johnstone’s.

Luke Scott

Updated Feb 20, 2024 | Posted Aug 21, 2019 | 22 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.
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How to Paint Coving – A Complete Guide

In this blog, I’m going to explain everything you need to know about how to paint coving, including a few product recommendations. Coving is one of those decorative features which never really goes out of fashion.  I’ve completely lost count of how many rooms with...


  1. Richard

    Johnstone durable Matt far too shiny. It’s like soft sheen, shows imperfections.
    MacPherson durable Matt nice and flat and covers a dream.
    Tikkurlia optiva 5 durable matt not a bad drop nice flat finish other colours can be matched

  2. Andrew Gemmell

    Johnstones Durable Matt is shocking 😳 3 to 4 coats and then you get picture framing effect . Cost me 3 days extra labour to rectify the problem

    I will sticking to cover plus or a different Durable paint in the future

    • Peter Booth

      I always use Johnstones Durable Matt. Always beautiful paint to decorate with. Just ran short on the last room and annoyingly had to buy a full 2.5ltr tin.
      Whats odd is this last tin will not apply properly. It almost stringy and tiny dots/lumps and take an effort to smooth off.
      I’m wondering if they have use an oil based pigment when mixing the colour. Its so bad I’m going to return it.

      Anyone else had this issue?

    • richard

      Bill PPG for your time, they will huff and puff but you could get lucky, its not fit for purpose the law is on your side, push and go small claims £35 cost worst case its a bad debt on your accounts and you get tax relief on bad debts

  3. Ian Reynolds

    I’ve been using it for a few years – I buy also from The Paint Shed and use F & B colours. I am just a DIY’er and what I’ve learned is the following:

    – you’ve really got to stir it up thoroughly before use or else the colour will be patchy.

    – I learned to my cost the issue of attempting to do a second coat to early. Johnston’s say 3-4 hours but I think that’s wrong. If you try too early you can make a real mess as you can lift/drag the first coat off. I prefer to leave it 24 hours between coats – for a pro-decorator this delay could be costly.

    – I don’t think it keeps that well – I’ve revisited half used tins and never been happy with the result. I do keep paint in the house.

  4. Esther

    I wipe johnstones durable matt dark blue wall with clean damp cloth and strokes left on wall. It doesnt mater if I tried wipe again and dry, marks still there! What the hell is there? Anyone had similar experience?

    • Alison nicholls

      I’m having this same issue now it’s driving me insane with two small children I just can’t wipe the walls. What did you end up doing did Johnson’s take any responsibility?

      • richard

        Maybe contact Johnstones regrding this fbook twitter or call them. they should help even pay for a painter to repaint areas if product not performed as intended

  5. GTaylor

    I would never use this paint again. We have had our bungalow painted throughout by a reputable decorator with this paint .it shadows and I think my decorator said it was picture framing. If you try to wipe a mark off a wall it may get rid of the mark but it also. Leaves a water mark. I have one dark blue wall that you cannot touch. If you dusted it with the slightest touch it will mark. It has been a very costly error using this paint.

  6. Andrew

    We had no success,at all with the Paint. Dispute good presentation,the paint just falls to stick to the wall dispute PVA in the preparation and it marks so easily. We’ve finished the job now with Dulux , the only problem was where we didn’t get all the Johnstone’s durable off

    • Mike Cupit

      Emulsion struggles to adhere to PVA

    • michael davies

      Not the pva thing again. If you want it to adhere then use some decent sandpaper on the wall to provide a mechanical key prior to painting. Watered down pva is for high suction on walls prior to plastering to prevent the plaster drying too quickly. But if you prefer a create a messy mixture of glue and paint on your walls…

  7. Shaun

    I like the finish of this paint – I actually prefer it over “flat” looking matt.

    Like others above, I have noticed that it needs to be stirred regularly. Leave it a few hours and it has already started to separate in the tin.

    It seems to dry extremely quickly. I started cutting in and rolling one part of the wall at once but this still hasn’t been enough in some places. Roller started ripping the paint off. Will have to thin it and maybe cut and roll almost simultaneously. Temperature in the room is around 20c, and around 40% – 45% humidity.

    Covers well, good opacity from a light-ish colour. First coat looks a bit patchy, second coat amazing. I did use 3 coats of brilliiant white matt first, over a dark colour.

    Have not had any reason to test the durability yet.

  8. M Clifford

    Awful durable matt! To thick and four coats of brilliant white over white.

    Will never use use again.

    • Mike Cupit

      There’s something wrong there. Possibly a dodgy tin? Or application method?

  9. Rebecca A Madeley

    I have used Johnson durable matt in my kitchen. The newly plastered walls were mist coated about 4 weeks prior to painting with the durable matt however the paint is peeling off one wall which will need redecorating. If you touch the paint anywhere it just flakes off the walls. It’s a nightmare, brand new kitchen looks awful with peeling damaged paint. I have no idea how to fix the problem.

    • Jo in the Paint shop

      Rebecca – your new walls should have been mist coated with a contract matt not a vinyl, the vinyl will just peel off!

      • michael davies

        Read the tin or the spec sheet it can be used as a mist coat 1 water to 4 Matt. But personally i prefer a contact Matt as a mist coat.

  10. Sp

    I although I have had issues recently I will always use Johnstones as a professional decorator. Just when we are supposed to be phasing out plastic the plastic pots are back it really does affect the mixing and consistency of the paint – when the paint is acrylic and the pot is plastic the static messes with the actual mixing of the paint even if the paint isn’t tinted I can imagine it affects the longevity of the product and its purpose. That said I get them to triple shake it Bring back the paint tins the paint was awesome then

  11. Richard

    Durable Matt has been superb for customers demanding a high-wear paint. Never had a problem having to put on more than two coats either.
    I have noticed on occasions that there can be ‘picture framing’, this is where there’s a difference in application, (cutting-in with a brush, filling with a roller)! I now lay off all of my cutting-in with a 4″ roller — takes seconds — and this negates any picture-framing.
    As mentioned above, this paint DOES separate and needs to be stirred consistently and it’s not a full matt finish.
    Otherwise a superb durable wall finish.

  12. michael davies

    Johnstones durable, I have doubts also. It definitely doesn’t cover as well as coverplus but you obviously shouldn’t use covaplus in a bathroom with high moisture. So in terms of a bathroom paint, durable isn’t that great at resisting moisture. I’ve used it in my own and it’s cracking and bubbling in places. The previous paint was a basic dulux bathroom paint as you’d pick up from b&q and I had no such issues although I remember it’s a bugger to apply. I might turn to clean extreme, more hardwearing but problematic as a mist coat (yes you can mist coat it according to the specification) but it kills brushes and rollers if you don’t wash them out in the evening.

  13. Scott Agnew

    I’ve been using Johnstone’s durable matt a lot recently and I’ve encountered the same problems already mentioned. I’ve been painting over previously painted muraspec and it needs 3 coats. (3 just about does it.) Roller marks and framing are still visible after 2 coats.

    Interestingly, in one area I was working to a deadline as there were oversea visitors coming and I didn’t have enough durable matt to do it but I did have Covaplus in the same colour. Bang! One coat, solid! Going forward I’ll be looking to use an alternative durable matt.


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