Johnstone’s Trade Paint Review

Updated Jul 17, 2024 | Posted Sep 4, 2019 | Product Reviews, Paints | 32 comments

Johnstone’s Trade Paint is owned by PPG, who are the worlds largest coatings company. They also own Leyland Paint and Tikkurila, as well as manufacturing white label brands such as Homebase, Wicks, and many more. It’s worth noting that Johnstone’s Trade do a lot of variations of some of their products, meaning things can get confusing at times.

I’m going to use this blog to give you an honest Johnstone’s Trade Paint review, by working my way through the most popular trade products. I will base everything on my own experience of using the products in my role as a Professional Decorator.

The products on this blog are available from a lot of trade paint outlets, including Johnstone’s Decorating Centre. But unless you qualify for a trade discount, it will almost certainly be cheaper to buy these products online. I’ll link each product as we go along, but the two best websites I have found are Decorating Centre Online, which you can visit by clicking here, and The Paint Shed, which you can visit by clicking here.


Johnstone’s Trade Covaplus Review

Covaplus is a vinyl matt, and it’s the perfect place to start my Johnstone’s Trade Paint review. You can get it tinted into any colour from Johnstone’s vast range. Price wise, it sits somewhere in between its Crown and Dulux counterparts, although it sits above both of them in terms of quality.

You can achieve a nice flat finish with this paint, and opacity is bang on. A really good product all round. Johnstone’s Trade Covaplus is a favourite amongst Decorators, including myself. I think it’s probably the best standard vinyl matt emulsion on the market. I’d give this paint 8/10.

the best emulsion for walls in a rental house

Johnstone’s Trade Perfect Matt Review

Johnstone’s Perfect Matt is a premium matt emulsion, developed and manufactured to perform as well as it possibly can. It is expensive, but it leaves a luxurious flat matt finish with a lovely depth of colour. Johnstone’s designed this paint to compete on quality with the designer brands like COAT and Little Greene.

If you’re going to buy a matt emulsion and budget isn’t an issue, then this is well worth a look. It is genuinely one of the best you can buy. 10/10

the best vinyl matt emulsion paint

Johnstone’s Trade Acrylic Durable Matt Review


Johnstone’s manufacture a few versions of durable matt, including Cleanable and Endura. However, Acrylic Durable Matt is the one most Decorators use.

It is used to coat interior walls and ceilings, and as it’s durable, it’s perfect for a kitchen and most bathrooms. I don’t have any major issues with Johnstone’s Trade Durable Matt, but I don’t think it’s as good as Crown clean Extreme or Dulux Diamond.

Johnstone’s can have a slightly cheap look to it, and you can notice brush marks. It doesn’t level off as nicely as the others.


Johnstone’s Trade Acrylic Eggshell Review


There isn’t much I can say about Johnstone’s Trade acrylic eggshell really, as it is basically the same as any other trade eggshell. Opacity is good, as is durability, it has a sheen level of around 20% and ease of use is fantastic. This is the type of paint you would use in a bathroom, or perhaps a kitchen. I have no issues using it at all, and always achieve good results when I do. Johnstone’s Trade acrylic eggshell is just a good quality emulsion. Click here to see online prices.


Johnstone’s Trade Jonmat Review


Jonmat is Johnstone’s Trade premium contract matt. It used to be terrible, but they changed the formula a while back and it’s ok now. Strange stuff though! The opacity of it is fantastic, but it dries ridiculously fast. Great for spraying onto new plaster as you can apply your two coats one after another. It’s also good if you want to get away with applying one coat over an already white ceiling. You can’t touch Johnstone’s Trade Jonmat up at all, or it flashes like crazy! Other than that, it’s a great contract matt. It smells lovely as well. It’s quite expensive too. Johnstone’s Trade Jonmat gets an 6/10. Full review here.


Johnstone’s Trade Satinwood Review


Johnstone’s Trade Satinwood is an oil-based satin that does everything it’s supposed to. It is self-undercoating over primed, or pre-painted surfaces and fine for interior wood or metal. It has plenty of body, good opacity, easy to apply and leaves a nice finish. The only downside (and it’s a big one), is Johnstone’s Trade satinwood seems to turn yellow quite soon after you’ve applied it. Because of the issue with discolouring, I’ll give Johnstone’s Trade Satinwood 6/10. Full review here.

Johnstone’s Aqua Review


The Johnstone’s Trade Aqua system is a water-based (well hybrid) gloss and satin system designed for interior and exterior woodwork. It was voted the best water-based gloss on the Decorators Forum UK a few years ago, so it was a favourite amongst decorators. However, other water-based gloss products have possibly stolen the limelight since then. It takes a bit of getting used to, you need keep your brushes wet and sponge your woodwork with a damp rag just before you paint it. I’ve got to admit, I do like the Johnstone’s Aqua. It will yellow slightly over time, but you’ll get a good few years out of it. I’ll Give the Johnstone’s trade Aqua an easy 6.5/10.

Johnstone’s Trade Aqua Guard Satin Review

Johnstone’s Aqua Guard is the evolution of Johnstone’s Aqua (another example of Johnstone’s having variations of the same product). Aqua Guard is a fully water-based satin with a sheen level around 30% and can be tinted into just about any colour. You will need to use Johnstone’s Aqua Undercoat to prime any surfaces, but that is also a great product.

This is easily one of the best water-based satinwood products on the market. It’s easy to use, leaves a fantastic finish, is durable and will never discolour. I use Johnstone’s Aqua guard on a regular basis and love it, as do a lot of other decorators. Some even compare it to Scuff X, which is a lot more expensive. 9/10 for me, a fantastic product!

Johnstone's Aqua Guard Satinwood

Johnstone’s StainAway Review


Johnstone’s StainAway is quite a special product, as it acts as a stain block and finish coat in one (white or coloured emulsion). An absolutely fantastic product for dealing with a nicotine stained ceiling, however it does struggle a bit with tougher stains. I wouldn’t bother with it on water marks or anything like that. You can also have problems with the finish unless you’re careful. Roller marks can remain visible on a light sensitive ceiling. That said, I still rate Johnstone’s StainAway and use it regularly. I’ll go 7/10. It does have it’s drawbacks. Full review here.


Johnstone’s Stormshield Flexi Primer, Satin and Gloss Review


These are exterior products designed to stand up to the Great British weather. It is important to use the appropriate flexi primer with your finish, because as the name suggests, both primer and topcoat can flex and move with exterior timber. The paint is thick and hard to use, but the opacity is absolutely bang on! I painted over dark green with white satin and it looked solid after one coat of primer and one topcoat. The only thing you need to watch out for is brush marks. You can add a little white spirit to make application easier. One thing I love about this product is the longevity. I have been back to houses I have painted with it years after to find everything looking like new.

Johnstone’s Stormshield Flexi Primer, Satin and Gloss easily gets 8/10. Good products!


Johnstone’s Stormshield masonry Paint Review


You expect a masonry paint to feel very elasticy and flexible. Johnstone’s Stormshield masonry paint doesn’t, it is more like a thin emulsion. I don’t like that to be honest. You need a paint to bridge every indentation on stonework for it to look good and this just doesn’t. I don’t know, maybe its down to my personal preference, but I don’t get on with it. Johnstone’s Stormshield Masonry Paint is showerproof in 20 minutes which is a major plus point, it is easy to use and opacity are fine. 5/10 for me. Full review here.


Leyland Trade Paint Review


Leyland Trade Paints are also made by PPG and are often sold side by side. They have an alternative product for every one of the Johnstone’s products I have just spoken about. Think of Johnstone’s as PPG’s premium brand and Leyland as their budget. Still trade quality and some awesome products, but they’re manufactured to a tighter budget.


Where to buy


If you want to go into a physical store, then you can’t go far wrong with Johnstone’s Decorating Centres which are located all over the place. Their staff mostly deal with trade customers, but retail customers are made to feel welcome, and you will get fantastic advice. However, as mentioned in the opening section, it is cheaper to buy these products online. Plus, by buying online, it is easy to get colours from other brands mixed into Johnstone’s products. Click here to see online prices at Decorating Centre Online.

Or click here to see online prices at The Paint Shed.


Final Thoughts


I’ve given you my Johnstone’s Trade paint review. I just wanted to finish off by giving my opinion on Johnstone’s as a whole, including their decorating centres.

PPG (Johnstone’s) constantly redevelop their paint, releasing 4 new, or vastly improved products every year. Where I think they fall short is their marketing. People simply do not know about their paint. This may explain why Johnstone’s are a favourite amongst Decorators, but not so much with homeowners. The key products in Johnstone Trade’s arsenal for me are the Aqua Guard, which really is way ahead of anything Dulux and Crown have to offer, and Johnstone’s StainAway, which is like nothing else on the market.

I like the JDCs too (Johnstone’s Decorating Centres). Don’t get me wrong, if you do not qualify for a trade discount then it is almost certainly cheaper to buy Johnstone’s Trade paint online, but the physical stores are an industry gem. Johnstone’s is a good, old-fashioned brand, and JDCs reflect that. They don’t try to be uber modern, but they have everything you could possibly need, and the dedicated staff will guide you through your choices for any given decorating project.




What is the best Johnstone paint for walls?

Johnstone’s Trade Covaplus is a fantastic standard emulsion for walls and ceilings. However, if you want the very best paint Johnstone’s make, then it must be perfect Matt. This is a high-end luxury emulsion that just screams quality.


Can Johnstone’s match Farrow and Ball colours?

Johnstone’s Decorating Centre is very good at matching colours from any brand, including Farrow and Ball. You don’t need to take a colour swatch in like you do with some of the other decorating centres. Just go in and tell them what colour you want, and they’ll mix it into any Johnstone’s paint you like. Alternatively, you can get colour matches online by clicking here.


Is Johnstone’s paint as good as Farrow and Ball?

This is a bit of a controversial question. I think just about any Professional Decorator would tell you that Johnstone’s is better than Farrow and Ball. However, Farrow and Ball does have a cult following.

Johnstone’s Trade paint is better though. You just need to know which products to go for.

Updated Jul 17, 2024 | Posted Sep 4, 2019 | 32 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.
Fleetwood Metal Shield Review

Fleetwood Metal Shield Review

Professional Decorator Robin Gofton writes a full and honest Fleetwood Metal Shield review based on his own experience.

Wagner FC5500 XVLP Sprayer Review

Wagner FC5500 XVLP Sprayer Review

Professional Decorator Robin Gofton writes a full and honest Wagner FC5500 XVLP Sprayer review after using the machine on a recent job.


  1. Richard

    Agreed re the Jonmatt flashing problems, this has put me right off this product and back to MacPherson eclipse if cost concerns or Tikkurlia anti reflex 2, which is actually a cheap pure Matt wipeable semi durable Matt unlike all contract paints.
    Vinyl Matt a nice drop of paint do like this more and more l find, durable Matt ok lighter ones a problem sometimes.
    The aqua undercoat and gloss both super products, however recently l have used the tikkurlia helmi 80 over the great aqua undercoat, goes on a dream and since it’s an water based enamel paint it’s a lot tougher than the aqua gloss.

  2. Alison fitt

    Just opened a tin of johnsons toasted beige quick dry satin one coat-only to find black paint inside. On stirring vigorously a very small swirl of beige appeared but no more than that. The paint is definitely black.. Will be returning it the range Dundee where I purchased it. Disappointing.

  3. Frank Golebiowski

    I’ve used the Johnstone’s Aqua satin over the Johnstone’s Joncryl water based primer undercoat, not good. The satin worked up the undercoat and the brush snatches. Am I using the wrong undercoat. Great finish with the Aqua when applied to a pre finished and prepped surface.

    • Trevor Henson

      You need too use Aqua undercoat for undercoat and one satin normally okay sometimes I use two satin.

      • David Smith

        I have been a Decorating for 35+ years, just decorated a hole house use Johnstones soft sheen and air bubbles have appeared in the walls ? Any ideas why?

    • James P

      You need to use the Aqua undercoat with the Aqua Satin or Aqua Gloss topcoat. That’s the system and it works great. The Joncryl primer undercoat is fine as just a primer. Another thing to add is that the Aqua undercoat can be used as a primer as well. Wish they would print this on the front of the tin and not in the small print on the back. The Aqua paint system is brilliant.

    • richard

      Yes sadly wrong undercoat.
      Aqua undercoat any top coats slide on far better.

  4. Kenny Webster


    I’m finding it difficult to find Johnstones Weatherguard Masonry paint in Sandstone.
    Is the Stormsheid masonry paint the same has the Weatherguard ?


    • Mike Cupit

      Hi Kenny

      Sandstone is a Dulux colour, (or Dulux name anyway, I believe it has a RAL number). You will be able to find it if you either look up the RAL number and get that mixed into Johnstone’s, or you chose Dulux Weathershield masonry paint.

      Weathergaurd is Johnstone’s retail range, meaning the quality of the paint is less than the Stormshield which is Johnstone’s trade range.

      I hope that helps

    • Mary Condon

      Can I paint over dulux satin finish exterior paint with johnston maistery paint do I need a undercoat I wanted good coverage as house is a couple of 100 years old

    • Lorraine


      Can I paint radiators with the Johnstone’s Trade oil based satin ?
      Many thanks

      • Mike Cupit

        You can and you won’t have any issues with it. The only snag is Johnstone’s satin won’t conduct heat as well as radiator paint will. Because of this your radiators will be slightly less efficient

      • Darren

        I mate a noob mistake and underestimated the amount of paint I needed. I thought I’d only need one tin of Johnstone’s Interior Wood and Metal, Quick Dry, Satin in Urban Skies.

        Turns out I need a second tin and now everywhere near me has sold out :’-(.

        Is there an alternative brand that has the same colour near enough?

        I stirred this tin and it’s much darker than it appears on the tin, but I actually love the darker colour.

        I might end up having to drive to the nearest B&Q with one of those pain machines .

  5. Elaine

    Can I make moonlite sky grey emulsion paint lighter if I add white emulsion

    • Mike Cupit

      you can yes

  6. Audra Sheffield

    I have a new build which will shortly be plastered. I was thinking of the Jonmat range based on the above 9/10 ten review but the first comment about touching up is concerning. I’m obviously hoping not to have to touch up but does this mean a whole wall would require repainting ?

    • Jennifer Wilby

      Used Johnstone’s Manhattan grey kitchen paint never been so disappointed never again

  7. Jennifer Wilby

    Used Johnstone’s Manhattan grey kitchen paint never been so disappointed never again

    • Mike Cupit

      That is the retail version. Next time try the trade and you won’t be disapointed

  8. Stuart Holleran

    i want to spray my oak internal doors, what would you recommend

  9. Olive Cooke to

    Painted a ceiling twice still very patchy and very disappointed. Will never purchase again.

  10. Darren

    I made a noob mistake and underestimated the amount of paint I needed. I thought I’d only need one tin of Johnstone’s Interior Wood and Metal, Quick Dry, Satin in Urban Skies.

    Turns out I need a second tin and now everywhere near me has sold out :’-(.

    Is there an alternative brand that has the same colour near enough?

    I stirred this tin and it’s much darker than it appears on the tin, but I actually love the darker colour.

    I might end up having to drive to the nearest B&Q with one of those pain machines.

  11. Matty

    Please could you tell me if you would recommend Johnstones Air Pure in Matt Brillaint White? We are looking for a contemporary white for ta new build. We would like the same colour throughout but we have north and south facing rooms. We tried to match Johnstones Air Pure Base to Farrow and Ball’s ‘All White’ but it didn’t look the same.
    We also would like to paint the skirting boards and doors in white so wonderered if you would recommend Johnstones Endure in Brilliant Matt White? Thanks.

  12. Bryan

    I want to use a large section of my lounge wall as a projector screen. What white paint should I use for best results?

  13. Maureen Westwood

    Is the Johnston’s paint from B & M the same as PPG. My daughter seems to thin PPG is better paint even though it has the same details on the tin.

    • Mike Cupit

      Your daughter is correct in that trade paint (the type sold from a trade centre) is much better than retail (The type sold from DIY outlets), even though it’s all bundeled up as “johnstones”

  14. Jane Dunphy

    Mike (reviewer), why didn’t you give the acrylic eggshell a rating? – I was thinking of using it for painting kitchen cupboards. but am now doubtful! Any advice gratefully accepted.


    The Americans have destroyed this once quality product. its just Garbage

    • Mike Cupit

      hi, which product? There’s a vast range, all maufactured in the UK


        all of it….emulsion and undercoat especially…

        • Chris Green and Son

          PPG have vastly improved the quality of all the products and continue to do. We have the best water based satin on the market in Aqua Guard and the best emulsion in Perfect Matt and they’re continually improving the products

  16. Paul

    Johnstones Professional Trade Gloss (tinted)
    This product run like ‘Mo Farah’ and when does it dry?
    I used a mid blue on an old panel door, I was still going back to it 3 hours later picking up the runs, luckily it didn’t flash but that was probably due to the fact that it stayed in a liquid state for about 24 hours. I am a normally a Dulux user but thought I’d try Johnstones, I loved the thickness and the opacity etc but it’s unusable especially in the winter months when customers want to close their doors.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *