I’m a self-employed decorator with 14 years’ experience, so you won’t be surprised to hear that I’d used Superdec many times before, but sometimes actually having to sit down and write a proper review helps you to crystalise in your own mind exactly what you think about a product, its good and bad points, and so on. I hope you find my review helpful.
For those who don’t know, Sadolin Superdec is a water-borne opaque finish for exterior wood. It comes in a satin finish (although you can also get black and white in a gloss finish), with a huge choice of different colours (some bespoke Sadolin shades, plus a selection of BS and RAL colours), and is very flexible when dry, meaning it is much less prone to cracking and flaking, so it should last a long time; on the tin they claim “10 year protection”.
It’s self-priming and undercoating, which means in many situations you can crack straight on with it once you’ve finished your prep. On very resinous timber, you should probably seal it with a suitable primer first though. Because it’s opaque, it’s the ideal product to use if you want to make a significant change of colour, and Sadolin say it’s suitable for all exterior woodwork except decking. You can buy in in 5L, 2.5L, 1L and sample tins; I usually get mine online from the Decorating Centre, but I know Crown also stock it.
I’ll start off by saying that I’ve used Superdec many times before, and I’m a bit of a fan, although there are one or two things I don’t like; not problems per se, more things to be aware of. But my overall feeling towards this product is very positive. Sadolin recommend applying with a synthetic brush; on the tin it does also say you can spray or use a roller, but their website says brush is best, and that’s what I tend to do.
I recently had to paint a small shed for one of my older customers, and he was happy to go with my recommendation on what product to use. Choosing the colour was where we ran into the first of my minor gripes with Superdec.
They have a huge range of colours available (about 300 if my maths is right), but in my experience they never match the colour chart! They ALWAYS come out a shade or two lighter than you expect, and don’t even try getting a really dark colour, because I don’t think you can!
So it took us four sample pots before we found the colour my customer was looking for; at roughly £5 a pop, that makes a dent in the budget, which surely could be avoided with a more accurate colour chart? Anyway, we eventually found our colour (the somewhat unimaginatively named “Light Green”, but then again it’s nice to know what you’re getting, rather than trying to guess what colour “Armadillo’s Gizzard” is going to be!), so off I trotted to my local CDC to pick up a tin.
Here’s the next issue – how big a tin do you need? This one isn’t entirely Sadolin’s fault. On the tin and their website it states that 1L will cover “up to 10 sq m”, although the Brewers website says up to 15. Reading the small print, this is based on smooth planed timber; Mr R’s shed was certainly not smooth! So I bought a 2.5L tin, and almost all of it went on the first coat. Bought a second tin, and more than half of it is left after the second coat!
In my experience, on wood that hasn’t been painted before, the wood really soaks up the first coat, so you get through more than you might expect. Much less of an issue on the second coat. It’s also fair to say that the wood in question on this job was pretty rough, so the surface area is actually much greater than smooth wood. And finally, I do tend to put on a really thick, thorough first coat, and more of a “normal” second coat. Sadolin do say that up to three coats are needed on untreated wood, but I’ve always found that two are fine, as long as you’re really thorough with your first coat. So estimating how much you need is my second minor gripe, but I’m not sure how to get round that one when you could be faced with so many different surfaces to paint. Experience, I guess….
Anyway, I’ve been to Crown, I’ve got my Superdec, and I’m ready to rock. The sun is out, and Mr R is keen to see his shed get a makeover! And as you can see from the photo (right), because the opacity is so great on this product, it didn’t take long before he could see the transformation beginning to happen.
As I said before, I like to put on really “thorough” first coat; plenty of paint on, working it into all the little problem areas in the wood grain, to make sure that everything is really well covered on the first coat.
Superdec is really easy to work with, it’s a nice consistency I find; thick enough that it doesn’t run and drip all over the place, but thin enough to be able to work with it. It was 23° with a light breeze when I started, perfect drying weather! Sadolin say it will be touch-dry in 1-2 hours, but because of the absorbency of the wood and the weather conditions, it was touch dry in well under an hour. If you’re working outside in the sun all day, it is going to dry on your brush, so make sure you either have spare brushes or the facility to rinse your brushes out after a couple of hours. But the first coat went on like a dream, great opacity, and although you could still see the texture of the wood grain, the original wood colour was completely obliterated after one coat.
I went back two days later to do the second coat – partly because that’s the way it fitted in with other jobs I was doing at the time, and partly because Sadolin recommend at least 16 hours between coats.
I’m not sure how necessary this really is, given it felt bone dry after a couple of hours, but they’re the experts (just be aware of this when planning your job). The second coat went on really easily, probably because my thorough first coat had sealed the surface, so the next coat glided on easily and used much less paint (and time!). The second coat does make a difference (see photo, right); opacity is great after one, but even better after two!
Bottom line – my customer is really chuffed with his newly-painted shed, and I’d had a few hours out in the sun on a relatively stress-free job – win-win!
In conclusion, I really like Superdec – I’ve used it on sheds, pergolas, summer houses, log stores… I even know of one person who painted his whole garden fence with it. Not sure I’d do that for cost reasons (it’s a lot more expensive than the more traditional fence products), but you get the idea – if it’s exterior woodwork and you want an opaque colour in a satin finish, this stuff is worth checking out. It’s not cheap (I pay about £50 for 2.5L), but it’s good stuff. You really can get a complete colour transformation in just two coats, whether your wood has been previously painted or not.
It’s easy to use, nice consistency, dries quickly and looks great! Just remember to double check your colour choice, think about how much you might need, and be prepared to rinse your brush out a few times if you’re on it all day in the sun! But overall, Sadolin Superdec (and the ever-helpful team at Reading CDC) get a big thumbs up from me!
Best Tools to Apply Sadolin Superdec
As already mentioned, Sadolin Superdec is a water-based product, so you may struggle to apply it unless you use the right tools for the job. You should use a mini-roller on the larger flat areas, and a brush to cut-in and paint smaller surfaces.
The roller needs to hold plenty of paint, distribute it evenly, not shed, and leave no orange peel. The roller I’d recommend for applying Sadolin Superdec is Two Fussy Blokes. You’ll find them perfect for this type of material. Click here to see online prices.
As for the brush, you need something that will hold its shape and not splay with water-based paint. Purdy Monarch Elite XL is probably the best. Click here to see online prices.
Robin Gofton – Review of Sadolin Superdec for Decorators Forum UK