I use quality brands of materials which I can
recommend through experience in my trade. I have a
personal preference for and highly recommend Dulux Trade
and Crown Trade products, both now manufactured under
the AkzoNobel trademark. Valspar paint sold by B&Q is
excellent too and also quite popular - available in
both trade and retail formulations.
Dulux Trade Crown Trade Valspar Little Greene Farrow & Ball
'Trade' paints are often perceived to be of a lesser quality,
compared to the 'Retail' brands sold in Wickes,
B&Q and Homebase but that's not the case.
'Trade' paints are made to a much higher specification,
much thicker in consistency providing superior opacity.
This means that two full coats should provide perfect
coverage over previously painted substrates. Whilst
'Trade' paints might be more expensive, any additional
cost is well worth the investment. Particularly when
you bear in mind that they are more tolerant to being
cleaned and thus more hardwearing than the retail versions.
Dulux Trade, Crown Trade and Valspar Trade paints
are colour mixed to order using the colour that you
have chosen from the colour charts, or from
swatch cards available in store.
Some of the 'own brand' retail paints such as
B&Q GoodHome, Homebase Home of Colour and Wilko colour
will be less expensive, but they will not provide
the same quality finish.
Farrow & Ball and other 'Designer' paints are very
popular too, but they don't have the same tolerance to
cleaning as Trade paints. By way of price comparison,
5 litres of Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion or Little Greene
Intelligent Matt Emulsion cost around £85 each,
compared to around £43 for 5 litres of Dulux Trade
Vinyl Matt Emulsion, at my discounted 'Trade' price.
Use of solvent or oil based 'Dulux Trade' and 'Crown Trade'
paints, to redecorate previously painted woodwork and trim,
is normally a two coat process. However, painting woodwork
and trim with a water based 'Quick Drying' paint is a three
coat process - one undercoat then two topcoats. almost
without exception, redecoration using Farrow & Ball water
based paints whether walls, or woodwork and trim
is a three coat process, due to its thinner formulation.
I maintain Trade Accounts with both Brewers and Dulux
Decorator Centres. Both decorator centres are open to the
general public and trade but if you decide to purchase
materials yourself, just be aware that they will charge
you the full retail price. You will not benefit from my
trade discount. However, please note that no trade
discounts are available on Farrow and Ball paints
from any trade supplier.
I will discuss the paint finish options available for
ceilings, walls and woodwork. I believe that it is
important that you choose the finish that you
want in your home - rather than tell you my preference.
By way of guidance, the various finishes and their
respective sheen levels are shown below, for paints
available in the Dulux Trade range. This might help
you decide what paint finish and sheen level
is right for you.
On Ceilings & Walls Use
Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt Emulsion/Matt Emulsion
(very low sheen 5 - 15%*)
Dulux Trade Soft Sheen Emulsion
(medium sheen 10 - 15%*)
Dulux Trade Vinyl Silk Emulsion/Silk Emulsion
(highest sheen level 30 - 40%*)
Dulux Trade Light & Space Vinyl Matt Emulsion
(very low sheen 5 - 15%*)
Dulux Trade Diamond Eggshell
(low sheen 15-25%*)
10 times tougher than Vinyl Silk and recommended for
high traffic areas such as hallways and stairways
* Source: AkzoNobel Dulux Trade Technical Advice Centre, Slough
Dulux Trade Acrylic Eggshell has a medium sheen finish and is
best suited to walls and ceilings in kitchens and bathrooms. This
makes them more tolerant to cleaning than standard emulsions
and resistant to steam conditions. I also recommend Dulux
Retail, Crown Retail and Homebase Retail 'Kitchen & Bathroom'
emulsions containing anti-mould technology. These too are
specially formulated to withstand the steam conditions
found in kitchens, bathrooms and shower rooms. Dulux
Retail and Crown Retail Kitchen Emulsions are available
in Matt finish, Dulux Retail and Crown Retail Bathroom
Emulsions are available in Soft Sheen finish and
Homebase Retail Kitchen & Bathroom Emulsions
are available in both Matt and Soft Sheen finishes.
On Woodwork & Radiators Use
Dulux Trade Eggshell
(solvent based, low sheen 15 - 25%*)
Dulux Trade Satinwood
(solvent based, medium sheen 40 - 50%*)
Dulux Trade High Gloss
(solvent based, highest sheen level 80 - 90%*)
Dulux Trade ecosure Gloss
(water based, high sheen 80 - 90%*)
Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood
(water based, medium sheen 40 - 50%*)
* Source: AkzoNobel Dulux Trade Technical Advice Centre, Slough
Paint for woodwork and radiators is available in both
solvent/oil based or water based products. Water based
paints are better for the environment due to low levels of
VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). Solvent/oil based paints
whilst having higher levels of VOC, do in most decorators'
opinions provide a superior, much smoother finish. They take
longer to dry (normally 16 hours) but this allows time for
brush marks to 'flow out' during the drying process. Water
based paints dry more quickly (typically 2 to 4 hours) and
some customers prefer that for convenience - particularly if
they have children or pets. However, because water based
paints dry more quickly, the brush marks don't 'flow out' so the
finished surface, once dry, won't feel as smooth and brush
marks may be visible. Notwithstanding the higher VOC
level of solvent/oil based paints, they are extremely safe for
use in the home. However, when used on woodwork and
radiators the paint can 'yellow' over time, as they need
ultra violet light to stay white. If there is no natural light
source or very poor natural light in a room, then water
based paint may be your best choice, to avoid
yellowing. Water based paints don't contain solvents
and cannot therefore discolour or turn yellow.
In 2010, legislation was introduced requiring all
manufacturers of solvent/oil based paints to reduce
the level of VOC's, making them better for the
environment. Soon afterwards, the premature
yellowing of solvent/oil based paints was the subject
of adverse press and TV coverage. Both Dulux and
Crown quickly addressed these issues with extensive
testing of new paint formulations to prevent
these paints from yellowing so quickly.
When Choosing Wallpaper,
Remember . . .
You Get What You Pay For
Many of my clients choose wallpaper instead of, or in addition
to emulsion paint on their walls. Wallpaper can create an
extra dimension - this might be wallpaper on all four
walls, or emulsion on three and wallpaper on a single
'Feature Wall'. Good quality wallpapers range from
around £25 upwards per roll. Careful choice of brand
is important as not all wallpapers are manufactured
to the same quality. Many wallpapers are the traditional
'paste the wallpaper' type but more 'paste the wall'
type wallpapers are now available. They look and
feel like paper but are in fact manufactured from a
'non-woven' fabric, making them strong and very
tolerant to being handled whilst being applied to
the walls. Pasting the wall also means that the
wallpaper doesn't need to be left to soak, before it
is applied to the wall. More importantly, it
cannot shrink in the drying process.
A selection of wallpaper books are available to view
at most branches of Brewers and Dulux Decorator
Centres, with stocks of wallpapers available to
purchase at B&Q and Homebase stores. Brewers
and Dulux Decorator Centres are open to both
trade and retail customers and their staff are always
happy to provide free advice on products and finishes.
You don't need to hold an account with either stores
and they accept payment in cash, debit or credit card.
I will be more than happy to help you with your choice of
wallpaper and we can discuss this when we meet. In all
cases I do ask that you inform me of your brand choice
please before you purchase, and before work commences.
Like many decorators, I have experienced quality issues
with some wallpaper brands. Some are very thin and
don't tolerate being handled very much. They may also
expand excessively whilst soaking - making pattern
matching extremely challenging. Added to this, cheaper
wallpapers often shrink on the wall during the drying
process. As the saying goes - "you get what you pay for".
Economising on what you pay for your wallpaper can result
in a poor quality finish. Having said, that there is no need
to go to the other extreme of paying an excessive amount
for wallpaper - unless of course you wish to do so. A higher
price tag might imply a quality assured wallpaper but from
my experience this is not guaranteed.
Mid range wallpapers costing £25 to £50 per roll will
produce excellent and long lasting results. However,
please take time to read online reviews before
buying and in the absence of positive 'reviews' then
It would be inappropriate for me to 'name and shame'
any particular manufacturer or brand, where I have
found their wallpaper to be of poor quality. Please
therefore speak to me if you would like any
advice, before deciding what brand to choose.
Some manufacturers' stipulate that their own brand of
adhesive should be used. Once you inform me of the
brand that you intend to purchase, I will research it,
check on it's quality and reputation, and establish
whether a 'specialist adhesive' is indeed required.
It is of course very important to comply with the
manufacturers' recommendation - otherwise there
will be no recourse to them, in the event of needing
to pursue a claim for a defective product.
All wallpaper manufacturers also recommend that walls are
cross-lined with a good quality lining paper, before hanging
the wallpaper. Lining paper also provides the best possible
canvas on which to hang the wallpaper - it isn't expensive,
however, it does require additional labour time to hang
and will therefore increase the overall cost of labour and
materials. Having said that, there is absolutely no doubt
that lining paper will improve the overall look and finish
of your wallpaper. Lining the walls is also proven to
reduce the risk of the wallpaper shrinking during the
drying process, so it is worth the additional investment
in the long term. We can discuss this aspect
when we first meet.
You'll probably be interested to know how many rolls
of wallpaper you will need, to calculate the total cost.
You can easily do this by using Brewer's handy
online wallpaper calculator below. Measure the
width of each wall to be wallpapered, corner to corner,
plus the height of each wall from the top edge of the skirting,
to the underside of the ceiling or coving. Enter this information
in feet/inches or metres into the calculator data fields
and it will calculate how many rolls are required. This
calculation will also allow for trimming top and bottom.
Other allowances also need to be made for areas not
requiring wallpaper e.g. doors and windows etc. but it
will give a rough idea to help calculate the overall cost.
I will take more detailed measurements of the wall
area myself - when I visit to carry out the estimate.
This will enable me to independently check the
number of rolls required.
I will be more than happy to discuss any of the
above options with you when we meet, to help
you to make an informed choice.
(WallpaperDirect is owned by Brewers)
Tip No. 1
When purchasing your own wallpaper, it is vital to check
to ensure that all rolls bear the same 'Batch Number' ,
to avoid the risk of shading differences. It is also
important that any radiator or heat source within
the room being wallpapered is TURNED OFF - to allow
the wallpaper to dry out naturally overnight. If the
radiator is left on, it will speed up the drying process
which will have a detrimental effect once dry.
The heat causes the wallpaper to shrink as it dries,
leaving unsightly gaps between each hung length.
Tip No. 2
Not all wallpapers are manufactured to the same high standard.
I therefore reserve the right to decline to hang a wallpaper, if I'm
not satisfied with the quality. My decision will be based on
past experience of the brand, from online research an
customer reviews, or opinions sought from other decorators
and trade professionals. I do NOT recommend wallpapers
with a retail price of less than £15 per roll as the quality
of the product will undoubtedly fall below the
standard required to produce quality results.
Embossed & Textured Wallpaper,
and Lining Paper
Customers often choose to have an existing wallpaper removed
in the redecoration process - planning to have the bare plaster
walls beneath painted directly, with their chosen colour of
emulsion. Whilst this can be achieved through careful removal
of the existing wall covering, all too often the plaster beneath is
found to be of poor quality - particularly with older properties.
Some clients decide in advance, to employ the services of a
professional Plasterer, to plaster or skim the walls before
they are painted. Whilst in the long term this is the best
option, it will add considerably to the overall cost of the
redecoration. New plaster is very porous, therefore the
first coat must be diluted with around 20% water. This
enables it to soak in to the new plaster substrate. This then
provides perfect adhesion for the two subsequent coats
of undiluted of your chosen colour of finishing emulsion.
The diluted first coat is called a 'mist coat' and
Contract Matt Emulsion is ideal for this purpose
and less expensive than finishing coat emulsions.
Some customers ask for an existing wall covering to be
removed, then replaced with a new wall covering - in the form
of an embossed or textured 'paintable wallpaper' However, if
you prefer a smooth finish to your walls, without the expense of
employing a Plasterer, then hanging a good quality Grade 1400
smooth lining paper is the next best thing. Whether you choose
a textured or embossed paintable wallpaper, or a smooth
paintable lining paper - it must be left overnight to dry. The
papered or lined walls can then be painted with two coats
of your chosen brand, colour and finish of emulsion.