What is Vinyl Matt Paint? – A Full Guide

Updated May 15, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2023 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 0 comments

Vinyl matt is a low-sheen emulsion, usually used to paint interior walls and ceilings. In fact, it’s probably the most common product to coat walls and ceilings. There are many different brands of vinyl matt paint, and there can be a vast difference in terms of quality from product to product. There are literally millions of colours you can choose from too.

As a Painter and Decorator of over 20 years, I thought I’d sit down and explain a little bit about vinyl matt emulsion. I’ll go through its uses, compare it to other paint products, then explain a little bit about which vinyl matt products I recommend. I hope you find it useful.


What is the Difference Between Matt and Vinyl Matt?


When an emulsion is simply labelled “matt”, it usually means the paint is a retail version of a product called contract matt. Retail paint is cheaper than trade paint and is made from lower quality ingredients. As a result, the paint doesn’t perform as well. It can drag, leave defects like flashing, and have poor opacity, meaning it takes more coats to achieve a solid colour.

Contract matt doesn’t have the same amount of polymer binder as vinyl matt, so can scuff and mark easily. In fact, you can remove contract matt from a wall or ceiling with a damp cloth and a bit of elbow grease, so it isn’t ideal.

Oh, and it can also contribute to mould and mildew growth in your home. My advice is to avoid contract or retail matt and opt for vinyl.


What is The Best Vinyl Matt?


Johnstone’s Covaplus

The best standard trade vinyl matt on the market right now is probably Johnstone’s Covaplus. Opacity and coverage are good, it’s easy to use, and it’s easy to avoid defects such as roller marks. You’re left with a nice finish every time. Covaplus is the most popular vinyl matt paint amongst Professional Decorators.

It seems to strike the perfect balance between quality and price, making it better than the Dulux and Crown alternatives. Moreover, if you were to buy Johnstone’s Covaplus Vinyl Matt online, you can have colours matched from different brands.

Johnstone’s Perfect Matt

If you prefer a premium matt emulsion, then Johnstone’s Trade also manufacture a product called Perfect Matt. This will cost more money; however, it has been developed to have a very low sheen-level, leaving a rich contemporary feel.

Because Perfect Matt has such a low-sheen level, imperfections on plaster are not highlighted like they would be with standard vinyl matt, and the finish on large open plan ceilings is absolutely gorgeous. It is slightly more durable than standard trade vinyl matt too.

Can You Use Vinyl Matt in a Kitchen or Bathroom?


Well, I suppose you could use vinyl matt paint in a kitchen or a bathroom, but it won’t last very long. Even though there are polymer binders in vinyl matt, there isn’t enough to make the paint waterproof or durable. This means that vinyl matt will not cope very well with condensation or contaminants like grease that may come into contact with your paint.

Rather than using vinyl matt in these instances, look at durable matt as an alternative. Durable matt uses a different type of polymer (usually acrylic rather than vinyl), which makes it waterproof. It is far more likely to withstand the challenging conditions of a kitchen, bathroom, or high-traffic areas.

Dulux Trade Diamond Matt

There are a few good durable matt emulsion paint products around nowadays. Dulux Trade Diamond Matt is easily the best trade version, but Crown Clean Extreme is also good.

Let’s stick with Dulux Diamond. This is available in basically any colour. Opacity in fantastic except white, which often needs an additional coat (this is the only negative).

It’s another ultra-low sheen emulsion paint and the finish is amazing! It has a real luxurious depth to it. Brush and roller marks just seem to melt away. Since they reformulated this paint, it really is impressive.

Can You Make Vinyl Matt More Durable?


If for whatever you don’t want to use durable matt emulsion, or you simply want to protect vinyl matt that is already on your walls, don’t worry, there is a solution. Polyvine Decorators Varnish is a product designed to be applied over other coatings to make it more durable.

Polyvine recommend applying a coat of Decorators Varnish in satin, followed by two coats of “Dead Flat” to bring the sheen level down. However, I have always had great results by applying two coats of Dead Flat. The following video shows how good Polyvine Decorators Varnish is at protecting vinyl matt paint on a chair.

Tips for Applying Vinyl Matt


I thought I’d run through a few tips for applying vinyl matt paint.


You can use vinyl matt to prime bare plaster

A lot of people use a separate product to prime bare plaster, but vinyl matt will do the job just as well. You need to double check the data sheet of the vinyl matt you’re using, but most of the time, a heavily diluted coat of vinyl matt is a fantastic primer for plaster.


Don’t be afraid to dilute your vinyl matt slightly

A lot of trade, and some retail paints are condensed when you buy them. If you’re having trouble with the flow of your paint, or brush and roller marks, then just dilute it with clean water. Don’t dilute vinyl matt too much unless priming, otherwise you may need additional coats of paint to achieve a solid colour. Half a litre of water to 5L of paint may help you achieve a good finish in less time.


Start at the top and work down

This may be an obvious one, but if you’re painting a room, get all your prep done, then apply 2 or 3 coats of vinyl matt paint to your ceiling, then your walls, then apply a satinwood or eggshell to your woodwork. You’ll find it easier this way.


Buy good quality painting tools

Any Decorator will tell you that having the right tools will make all the difference when it comes to applying vinyl matt (or any other paint for that matter). A good quality roller will enable you to spread vinyl matt evenly whilst avoiding orange peel. A good quality brush will help you avoid brush marks and strike a straight edge. Click here to see my recommendations.


Don’t rush your recoat times

Vinyl matt paint is normally touch dry after an hour or two, but the instructions often say, “recoat time 4 hours”. This is because the paint takes a little bit longer to cure and tighten up. If you rush additional coats, you can experience problems like peeling paint, or in some instances, crazing. 


Final Thoughts on Vinyl Matt


I think we’ve covered all bases. There are all sorts of paint products on the market nowadays, from specialist ceiling paints to alkyd emulsions, and everything in between. But vinyl matt is still the one product that everyone turns to. It’s cheaper than durable matt, and you know where you are with it.

I use vinyl matt paint everywhere, from multi-million-pound houses to cheap bedsits. Silk is dead, it looks dated, and no one wants a sheen in their paint anymore. There are reasons to opt for acrylic eggshell paint for your bathroom or kitchen, and you may want a durable matt for high-traffic areas like hallways. But, for all your other rooms, there is vinyl matt.

Updated May 15, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2023 | 0 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.


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