Tikkurila Helmi 30 Review Mike Cupit – Waterbased Satin


Helmi 30 is a waterbased satinwood which is manufactured and sold by Tikkurila. I’m going to talk about how it compares to some of the other products on the market.


  • Fully waterbased system (not a hybrid)

  • Lovely to spray

  • Quite light and loose to use


  • Brush marks can be a problem

  • An additional adhesion primer needed over existing oil

  • Limited amount of sockets

  • Quite light and loose to use

Loosey Goosey

It’s going to look as though I’m pointing out an awful lot of negatives about this product. You need to remember that there are issues with just about every waterbased woodwork (trim) system. So just because I mention a flaw, don’t assume Helmi 30 is a bad product. Quite the opposite, I think it’s a great product and certainly has its place.

Its one of the thinner waterbased systems out there, which comes with both benefits and problems. It doesn’t pretend to be an oil based (decorators will understand what I mean). It doesn’t have the body an oil-based paint does which means it’s quite difficult to cut in with. I know a lot of decorators slate those who use masking tape to achieve the perfect edge, but on this occasion it might be an option. Either that or complete your woodwork before your walls (I’m going to get some stick for suggesting that).

Let’s Get it on…. With a bit of Fumbling About

You also have problems with brush marks, to be fair this is a common complaint with most waterbased systems, but it’s a difficult problem to overcome with Helmi. Your working time isn’t great either (again, a common complaint with waterbased systems). So, rolling off a big area and then going back to lay off with a brush is a nightmare. The working time isn’t the end of the world to be honest, as long as you’re conscious of it. It’s Just waterbased I suppose, but if you are working with a brush and roller, in my opinion there are better systems out there.

Let’s Get Started

Tikkurila do a couple of different primers which you can use with Helmi Top coat. The first one is the Helmi Primer believe it or not!! You can use it on bare wood, it does have some adhesion properties, recoat time is two hours, it’s fully waterbased and Helmi 30 takes to it really well. To see the data sheet, click here

The second is the multi-stop. I actually love this product!! Ideal for bare timber, it prevents tanning and holds back stains, including knots!! It’s fully waterbased and even has some adhesion power!! Recoat time is 6 hours which really isn’t ideal for a waterbased paint. Smells boss though!! To see the product data sheet, click here

Tikkurila Helmi 30 Review Mike Cupit  

The third is Otex Atva which is Tikkurila’s waterbased adhesion primer. This is the one you need to use is you want to apply Helmi 30 over an existing oil-based coating. It’s a fully waterbased system which is recoatable after 2 hours. There is a downside though, the Helmi doesn’t seem to take as well to it. Not the end of the world but if you need to apply two coats of Helmi 30 over Helmi primer to achieve the proper finish, expect to have to apply a third if you’re using the Otex. To see the data sheet click here

It’s not as bad as it seems

Can you remember what I said three years ago when I first started writing this review… it went something like “I think it’s a great product and certainly has its place.” Well I’m about to explain why;

Tikkurila is a very modern brand. If you’ve ever visited their trade counters, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Festool stand, modern coffee and a sitting area AND EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SPRAY!! Tips, filters, units, parts, lube (steady on) and Helmi!! Coincidence? It’s really not!! You’ll find a lot of the Tikkurila products spray beautifully, this has got to be by design. Helmi 10 (matt), Helmi 30 (satin) and Helmi 80 (gloss) all fit into that category. 

Let’s stay focused on Helmi 30, for starters it is ready to use straight from the tub. No thinning, no messing about trying to find the right viscosity, its ready to rock!!

One of the biggest issues when spraying any trim product is the tendency of that product to run. You’ve always got to be conscious not to apply too much product in any area or before you know it, you’ve got drips of paint all over the place. I’m not saying you won’t see that problem at all with Helmi 30 but its defiantly easier to avoid and more forgiving.

The last thing (and by far the most important), its dead easy to achieve an amazing finish when spraying the stuff. It just seems to atomize brilliantly then settle on a surface like glass. I spay trim now and then and I think Helmi is probably my favorite system to use by far.

If anyone is still awake, thanks for reading