Paint Conditioners – A Full Guide

Updated Jan 17, 2024 | Posted Dec 31, 2023 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

Paint conditioners are designed to enhance the performance of paint, but you need to use them correctly. If you get it wrong, then you run the risk of your paint failing. For that reason, I thought I’d sit down and write a very quick guide.

Each paint product has been developed to work in a certain way, so most of the time, in normal conditions, paint conditioners are not needed. However, providing you know what you’re doing, you can use them to speed up the drying process of paint, make it flow more smoothly, and even aid adhesion.

I’ll work my way through each of the problems you might use a paint conditioner to fix. Never use more than one paint conditioner in a single paint or you WILL have issues, and never use more than the recommended amount.


A Paint Conditioner to Speed up the Drying Time of Oil-Based Paint


Terebine driers is a paint conditioner used to speed the drying process of oil-based paint such as gloss, eggshell and satinwood. It works by speeding up the polymerisation of the oil film by oxidising the paint layer from the inside out.

Oil-based paint does already contain driers, and adding more when it isn’t needed can cut the ‘open time’ of the paint, meaning it is more difficult to apply.

However, you might use it when painting outside in less-than-perfect weather conditions, or in cold rooms, where the normal drying time would be extended.

This is one of the paint conditioners that you need to go easy with. Do not add more than a few drops to a kettle of paint, particularly with paint in strong colours (there’s something about the amount of tint in paint that seems to stop driers from working). If you add too much then it will have the opposite effect.

Terebine Driers paint conditioner to speed up the drying process of oil-based paint

A Paint Conditioner to Help with the Flow of Oil-Based Paint


Owatrol Oil has the opposite effect to Terebine Driers in that it extends the drying time of oil-based paint. This leads to better ‘open time’, better flow, easier application, less brush marks and less roller marks. It also helps paint adhesion, and even acts as a rust inhibitor.

It does all this without effecting the opacity of the paint. There are probably instructions on the tin about how much to use, but I tend to add around 3 tablespoons of conditioner to half a litre of paint, then give it a good mix.

It really does make a huge difference to the performance of the paint, particularly when used in oil-based gloss on hot days. Just be aware of the extended drying time. You wouldn’t use it on cold days. You also need to be conscious when using it on doors and windows as they will need to be left open.

Owatrol Oil paint conditioner to help the performance of oil-based paint

A Paint Conditioner That Helps the Flow and Adhesion of Water-Based Paint


The paint conditioner I’m going to recommend to help the flow of water-based paint is called Smith and Rodger Flow and Bond. For years we used a product called Flowtrol, but I think Flow and Bond is better.

Smith and Rodger Flow and Bond is a godsend when using some of the modern water-based gloss and satinwood paint products, as it helps ‘open time’, making it easier to apply. It also helps to avoid brush and roller marks.

Plus, it improves adhesion (which is always a bonus when using water-based) and doesn’t alter the opacity of the paint.

This conditioner should be mixed with paint on a 10:1 ratio.

Smith and Rodger Flow and Bond conditioner for water-based paint

A Guide to Paint Conditioners – by Mike Gregory

Updated Jan 17, 2024 | Posted Dec 31, 2023 | 0 comments

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