Best oil based eggshell
In terms of drying times and sanding, plus finish and “look”, the best oil based eggshell I have used is Little Greene oil based eggshell. This so-called “posh” paint is the only oil based eggshell I am using these days.
It works as expected – ie it easily dries within 16 hours in normal room temperatures, and sands beautifully with Abranet – 180, 220 0r 320 grades all work well for next day sanding.
It never misbehaves, and covers perfectly in 2 coats. It is a bit on the sticky side, but with up to 10% owatrol paint conditioner to help it along, it flows really nicely and dries back beautifully. For a professional painter, it ticks all the boxes, and apart from being a bit pungent in this day and age of low odour water based paint, what isn’t to like?
The price!? Take a good look at other paint prices before missing out. Also, bear in mind, that even on a big kitchen, I rarely use more than 2.5 litres for 2 finish coats. Hardly a kings ransom.
Paint Library interior and exterior oil based eggshell also get rave reviews. Not surprisingly, there is a direct link with Little Greene. I believe it is Little Greene oil eggshell, but in a different colourway.
Johnstones oil based eggshell is recommended by one or two of the UK kitchen painters. It would have a shinier finish than the traditional Little Greene eggshell, so for modern minded clients, Johnstones has to be a good option.
Since the introduction of the 2010 VOC eco formulas, every decorator with a pulse seems to be moaning about oil paints and the delayed drying times. I noticed that Sikkens oil based primer undercoat took well over the 16 hours to dry, which made it impossible to sand the next day, which ruins the work process, which adds time to a job and costs everyone money, except the manufacturer.
However it has cost them my business. I won’t use Sikkens oil undercoat in its current formulation, even if it were free. (Fortunately, the water-based Sikkens Rubbol primer undercoat gave me the same results as a base for the Sikkens AZ gloss, so nothing lost there.)
I am told the same drying issue applies to other brands’ oil based eggshells, but I don’t have recent first-hand experience of any of the usual suspects, and since abandoning Dulux a good while ago, I can’t tell you if the oil based Satinwood is a 100% reliable option.
Oil based eggshell v acrylic eggshell
Is it worth using oil eggshell anyway, when the acrylics are progressing so well? As I explained to my recent kitchen painting client, I do specify acrylic eggshell on all interior woodwork – except on kitchen cabinets. So I am not anti acrylic eggshell.
The only advantage really with oil eggshell, I find, is that the oil based system has a lot more body. That is a pretty big advantage though! Otherwise there is no discernible difference with the finish, maybe a tad more plastic acrylic, but at first glance, no sheen difference.
There is no disadvantage with the speed of oil paint drying compared to acrylic eggshell. As long as the work area is empty and thoroughly dusted out, the longer open time of oil paint will not really leave you prone to dust. (on a busy site where dust isn’t so easy to control, you have to think hard, or set up lots of barricades.)
And the longer recoat time of oil (16 hours v 4 hours) is irrelevant in a kitchen painting context, because who really applies 2 finish coats in a kitchen in a day?
Besides, my niche is traditional hand painted kitchens, so until the paint is no longer available, I am more than happy to use the sort of eggshell paint I grew up with.
If you have any feedback on other oil based eggshell, I would be happy to hear it.
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