Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond Review

Posted May 17, 2024 | Sundries | 0 comments

As a Professional Decorator, I’ve been using various paint conditioners all my working life. They’re useful for when you need your paint to perform a bit better than it would do normally. Flow & Bond is slightly different to the others I’ve tried, so I thought it was worthwhile writing a quick Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond review. I hope you find it useful.


Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond – What Is It?


Flow & Bond is a paint additive – you stir it into your paint at a ratio of one part Flow & Bond to ten parts paint.  Any water-based paint; interior or exterior, emulsion, masonry paint, woodwork paint, whatever.  It’s an off-white liquid that has no negative effect on the paint’s colour, opacity or general performance. You can spray with it or apply with brush and roller, exactly as you normally would, and it doesn’t alter the drying time of your paint.


Why You Should Add Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond to your paint


It Reduces Brush Marks in Paint

This is particularly handy when using water-based paint for woodwork. Sometimes it can be difficult to achieve a good finish with because they don’t flow out well, leaving brush marks.  Adding some Flow & Bond to the paint really makes a difference. Brush and roller marks settle down, leaving a much flatter finish.


It Helps Adhesion

This is another reason to add it to water-based woodwork paint. It helps your paint to bond to the surface. It’s not a short cut for doing your prep properly.  You still need to abrade a surface, and in most cases use a proper adhesion primer and/or the recommended undercoat.  But I have tried it in a few situations where I would usually use an adhesion primer to see if it would do the job, and it did.


It Helps Your Paint to go Further

Obviously if you start with 1 litre of paint and add 10% Flow & Bond, you end up with 1.1L.  But Smith & Rodger claim that, because of the improved flow, it helps your paint to go not just 10% further, but 20%, without any loss in opacity, colour, or quality of finish.  Dead handy on those jobs where you’re not sure if you’ve bought enough paint, but you don’t want to blow the budget by buying another tin.


It Reduces Flashing and Roller Marks in Emulsion

Flashing is where you roll a wall, and the upward movement of the roller leaves a slightly different texture of the downward movement. You can then see it as a defect once the emulsion is dry. Adding Flow & Bond gives your paint a better ‘open time’ and allows it to settle down. This leads to a much nicer finish when painting walls and ceilings.


Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond Review


This product couldn’t be easier to use. All you need to do is add roughly the right amount to your paint, give it a little mix, and you’re good to go. I can confirm that it doesn’t alter the colour or opacity of the paint.

Some Decorators I talk to (who don’t use paint conditioners) might claim that adding water to paint helps flow, and they’re correct to a point. But Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond does so much more.

It gives you a better ‘open time’ which makes it easier to work with. The finish is so much better if you use it too. Less brush marks, less roller marks, better adhesion, and the same number of coats.

Paint conditioners have been around for years, but Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond seems to be a step above the others. I’d recommend it to anyone.


Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond Review - Decorator's forum UK

This is a paint conditioner to help the performance of water-based paint. It can be used in emulsion, masonry paint, and trim paint.

Product Brand: Smith & Rodger

Editor's Rating:


  • Easy to use
  • Reduces brush marks
  • Reduces flashing and roller marks
  • Aids adhesion
  • Helps flow
  • Makes the paint go further


  • I can't think of any. It’s strange that paint doesn’t have this stuff in to begin with. Maybe it’s a cost thing?

Occasions Where Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond Has Helped Me Out


Here are a few situations where I’ve used it in recent months:

  • I was painting a hall stairs and landing, and having painted a neighbour’s six months earlier, I knew that the walls could be done out of one 5L tin of emulsion…just! However, the second house had a small porch added, but I hadn’t allowed for the extra paint in my quote.  No problem, I added some Flow & Bond to my first coat, and that gave me just enough paint to finish the job.


  • I had a bathroom to paint, and on one small section of the wall the existing paint had failed. No sign of any leak, no mould, no condensation… no obvious reason for it. So, I scraped away all the loose paint, applied some Zinsser Peel Stop, did all the other usual prep for this sort of situation, but then, because I hadn’t been able to identify the cause of the problem, added some Flow & Bond to my first coat in the hope that it would help with adhesion.


  • If I’m painting over old oil-based gloss with a water-based product, I always use an adhesion primer as part of my prep process. When I’m painting over oil-based satin or eggshell, I’ve always done the same, but wondered if it’s really necessary.  I’ve now used Flow & Bond in my first coat of water-based satin on a couple of occasions with no adhesion primer, and it’s been solid.  I should stress – this is anecdotal, it’s not proper scientific research, so don’t all sue me if it doesn’t work for you.  But it worked for me!


  • Powdery masonry – again, there’s no excuse for not doing your prep properly, and I would still use a proper stabilising solution, but I figured adding some Flow & Bond to my first coat of masonry paint wouldn’t do any harm, and should help with adhesion (as well as helping the paint to go further).


Smith & Rodger Flow & Bond. Whether you’re trying to reduce the chance of flashing and roller marks in your emulsion, sorting out brush marks in your water-based satin, ensuring your paint bonds well to the surface, or just making it go the extra couple of m², it’s well worth keeping a bottle of this little magic potion in your van.

Posted May 17, 2024 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

With years of decorating experience, Robin set up his own business – Wokingham Decorating Services – in 2007, carrying out mainly domestic work. He enjoys trying out new products and learning as much as he can about the decorating industry
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