Painters and decorators London




I have made this page to help and advise new and established homeowners alike. Most homeowners know which types of paint to use in their homes, but many may be surprised at some of the new products on the market.

These are my opinions and are based on my experience throughout many years of decorating. I have no particular allegiance to any paint company or product in particular, although if i insert a link below or mention a company its because i think their products are the best for the job in question.


Stan Taylor








Paint technology has changed so much over the past 40 years since i have been in the decorating business, with the advent of water based paints overtaking conventional oil paints.

There is an envoiromental impact and concern which we all care about, or do we ? in my experience only two customers have raised this issue over the years, but to be fair we are all ignorant about the envoiromental impact of so many products we buy, ranging from paint products to the food we eat.

Initially in the 1970s water based primer undercoat and gloss finishes for woodwork were very poor, creating all sorts of problems for decorators.

A lot of these paints were latex based and were stringy, meaning they disintegrated very quickly, eg. painting a wooden handrail, which obviously has a high traffic use, would wear away within weeks. The same handrail when being rubbed down and redecorated would turn into an elasticated mess, the same thing applied to doors and other woodwork.

The worst paints to use were and still are, oil based "one coat gloss and "polyeurethane non drip" paints, which for the amateur did the job to a certain extent, but gave problems down the line when redecorating, if they were any good its obvious the "professionals" would be using them. Anyway one coat often means two or more, as a lot of amateurs have found out.

We still encounter these paints years later, sometimes we rub down a door to find that the paint is separating and peeling into small and then larger patches the more we rub down, this is due to the polyeurethane coating which "sits on the surface" rather than adhering properly. These paints are still around and are best avoided.


Exterior paint technology has also advanced, although if the preparation is poor it does not matter which paint a decorator uses the customer will end up paying twice to have the work redone, so choosing the right decorator is always the first priority as he should not only carry out the work correctly, but also advise you on the correct paints to use. SEE EXTERIOR PAINTING


N.B. When decorating home exteriors we make a point of showing our customers every stage of the work, from the initial burning off, filling and preparation, priming, right through to the undercoat(s) and finished coat(s)




Nowadays water based paints are fantastic when used correctly ( applying the correct amount of coats ). The advantage over oil based paint is huge; Gone are the days of pungent overpowering smelling paints of the past and drying times are far superior, an average small bedroom used to take days to finish due to drying times, now its possible to finish in less than a day.

Technology has also caught up with interior wall and ceiling surfaces, with different paints for different areas around the home, such as hallways, kitchens and bathrooms, although these are optional. SEE BELOW


INTERIOR CEILINGS AND WALLS  General areas such as living rooms hall stairwells, bedrooms etc.


There are traditionally three types of emulsion paint to apply to ceilings and walls, all emulsions are water based with hardly any smell or odours. What smell there is disapears in hours.


1. MATT EMULSION. non reflective with no sheen , this is the popular choice in most homes nowadays.


 Disadvantages: not very washable.


 Advantages: Looks great, mostly,dirty marks can be touched up, but as the lifespan of the paint fades, touching up can show up, especially with colours.Paint costs are reasonable.


2. SHEEN EMULSION. slight sheen/shine.


 Disadvantages: reflects light and shows up any imperfections in the wall or ceiling, does not touch up well.


 Advantages generally washable.

3. SILK EMULSION. high sheen/shine.


 Disadvantages: reflects light and shows up imperfections in surfaces as above, but to a higher degree, does not touch up well.


 Advantages: generally washable.


N.B. Durable matt or silk is a much better choice which the manufacturers claim is either 10 or 20 times tougher depending on the make of paint, see below.


Ok, lets say you want the matt emulsion which has the best appearance, but you have a high traffic area such as a hallway or stairwell, or are worried about children damaging the walls.

The answer is to use a durable matt finish.




Disadvantages: Slightly harder to apply, and the cost of the paint can be up to double in price over conventional emulsion paints. Allow 15% extra for labour. 


 Advantages: A washable and scrubable finish which is longlasting, can be touched up as in conventional matt emulsion. N.B. we have found that it requires two coats at least, eg, it is not effective putting one coat of durable white emulsion over one coat of conventional white matt emulsion.The same applies to colours.


This can be money well spent and will extend the lifespan of the work considerably.


CEILINGS AND WALLS  Kitchens and Bathrooms


All of the above paints can be used in kitchens and bathrooms, a conventional matt finish can be used for instance in a kitchen or bathroom if there is good ventilation, or is a large open area.




 Advantages: A durable Emulsion paint especially designed to withstand condensation and mould super tough and grease resistant.




 Advantages: A durable Emulsion paint designed especially to withstand condensation and mould. Moisture and steam resistant. tough and longlasting.


Disadvantages: BOTH OF THE ABOVE PAINTS: Costs more than conventional emulsion, both need two coats, white sometimes needs three coats.


INTERIOR WOODWORK Interior surfaces, Skirtings, doors, frames, architraves, dado rails, staircase strings, etc.   


Most homes now use an Eggshell or a Satin finish on wood surfaces, these two paints are almost the same in appearance and durability.


SATIN FINISH / EGGSHELL Acrylic water based.


Advantages: 1. Many, not least drying time, where a room or area needs To be completed within a day, it is possible to apply two coats or more in a short space of time.

2. Softens the look of the wood, hides imperfections especially true when applied to old wood doors or frames.

3. Low odour, any smells disapear in a few hours or less depending on humidity.

4.Great when filling or preparing the wood surfaces.


Disadvantages: 1.Cannot be used very well when humidity is very high, slower drying time in damp atmosphere, eg when painting an interior window on a damp day outside.




What is a Special Process Colour?


Some strong colours from the Dulux Colour Mixing range cannot be made with the same hiding power as other colours if they are to have satisfactory durability and purity of colour.

When these colours are to be used on rough surfaces, or where a marked difference in colour is to be made, additional coats or special processes may be necessary. Please check with your store before you order to see if you have chosen a special process colour, and if you need additional coats or a specific undercoat for trim colours.



What is the difference between water-based and solvent-based products?


Solvent-based products typically contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and were traditionally for use on wood and metal surfaces, giving a glossy finish but associated with longer drying times and a strong smell, However, water-based products have typically low levels of VOC and have come along way over recent years, with many companies offering a water-based paint equivalent to a solvent-based option. The benefits of a water-based product includes quicker drying times, less smell, and easier cleaning up with brushes and rollers being able to be rinsed with water rather than white spirit, making the whole decorating process more environmentally friendly.

Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, using water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.


What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?


Decorative paints and related products are inherently beneficial to the environment, by preserving and protecting surfaces such as wood, and enhancing the aesthetics and enjoyment of living and working environments. However, these products contain chemicals and so we need to be aware of and manage the associated environmental risks.

Today the biggest environmental issue facing the paint industry is that of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions and their contribution to air pollution, or more simply, the effect of solvents contained in paints on the air that we breathe.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that will evaporate easily into the air usually at room temperature and often give a distinctive smell. They are emitted from many sources including fuels, numerous industrial operations and household products such as cleaning agents, cosmetics, aerosols and paints. They can accelerate the rate nitrogen oxides (from combustion processes) react with sunlight to create low level ozone and photochemical smog, which contributes to air pollution.

Even though less than 2% of all man-made VOCs in Europe come from decorative paint, Dulux have long implemented a voluntary industry agreement for carrying out VOC reductions in products and for displaying VOC content information on product labels. This is to encourage customers to choose products with lower VOC content.

The globe label (shown right), as initiated by B&Q, is the voluntary label which Dulux uses on all its products

Now official UK legislation, based on EU directive 2004/42/EC, is in place and covers coatings applied to buildings, their trim and fittings and associated structures when applied for decorative, functional and protective purposes. This directive is a two stage process setting upper limits for the amount of VOCs allowed in products. The first stage, for which Dulux is fully compliant, started in January 2007. The second stage starts in 2010, when even stricter limits will be applied, meaning major changes to traditional solvent-based coatings such as products for wood

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