the best water-based satinwood comparison guide

Water-Based Satinwood Comparison Guide

By Mike Gregory


Water-based products are becoming more and more popular for interior woodwork for a few reasons. Not least the issues we experience with modern oil-based paints discolouring over time. I thought I’d put together a little comparison blog of all the water-based satinwood products I’m familiar with as a professional decorator. Hopefully this will help you when deciding which product to use in your home. This is my water-based satinwood comparison guide.


Johnstone’s Aqua


Johnstone’s Aqua is probably the brand leader amongst decorators. However, you may be surprised to learn it isn’t fully water-based, rather a hybrid. This means although the product is advertised as “water-based”, it also contains a little bit of alkyd (oil). Johnstone’s Aqua satinwood will still yellow and discolour over time, however it will last a lot longer than most oil-based alternatives.


It is a bit of a brush wrecker too I’m afraid, however you can get around this by keeping a bucket of water close by and wetting your brush every now and again. Other than the tow negatives I’ve just mentioned, Johnstone’s Aqua is a great product. Flows well, looks good, can be tinted and it is durable.


Average 5/10 from me


Johnstone’s Aqua Guard


Unlike the Aqua, Aqua Guard is a fully water-based system. It’s very good paint too!! I’d go as far as saying it’s the best “off the shelf” option there is. You need to use Aqua undercoat before using the Aqua Guard on previously painted surfaces, but the end results look fantastic and last for years!! Head down to your nearest Johnstone’s Decorating Centre.


8/10 from me. A very good product



Dulux Diamond Satinwood.


Dulux Diamond is a fully water-based tintable satinwood available online or from any DDC. It was an awesome product when they first launched it, but they’ve played about with the formula since then. You will need an adhesion primer before applying Diamond satinwood over a previously painted surface and ninja runs are a pain!! You will need to keep going back over your work to knock out any drips. The overall finish is good though and I have no issues with using this paint if asked.




WRX Trade Satinwood


WRX Trade Satinwood is genuinely one of the best acrylic satins I have ever used. Fully water-based and no separate adhesion primer needed over old oil-based paint. Opacity is good, ease of use is great and the finish is spectacular. You can order this product online at TopDec. The only downside is it’s only available in brilliant white. This is my recommendation.

9/10 from me.


Tikkurila Helmi 30


Helmi 30 is a fully water-based satinwood. The big issue I find with this paint is it is very loose, meaning it can be difficult to control. Tikkurila have their own primers and you should use the full paint system. There are better water-based satins out there if you are applying your paint via brush and roller. However, Helmi 30 comes into it’s own when applied through an airless sprayer.




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