hand painted kitchens, painted furniture, period property decorating throughout UK

We are Traditional Painter - the UK’s leading Hand Painted Kitchen and Furniture specialist painters.

We are an invitation-only, nationwide network of independent businesses, each with decades of professional experience. Every member of our team guarantees a showroom-quality, hand painted finish for your kitchen, with exceptional customer service at every stage.

Our transparent pricing structure ensures unwavering quality and service for kitchens of every style or size. Browse our case studies for a selection of the thousands of kitchens we have transformed since 2009.

→ Search for your local Traditional Painter

General information: 01604 767506

UK decorating trade – is it all about value or price? part 3

Listed under Blog, Holman Specialist Paints, tikkurila Posted Nov 06 2013

I asked three UK suppliers with a Europe-wide perspective of the decorating industry – is it all about value or price for UK suppliers, trades or homeowners? To say they were impassioned, insightful responses would be an understatement! Part 1, part 2… and now part 3

Paul Hague of Holman Specialist Paints in Swindon specifies and supplies high performance paints and coatings for homeowner, trade, commercial and industrial use. Their premium ranges include Tikkurila from Finland, Rust Oleum Mathys from Belgium and Bollom from UK.

Paint quality really is a can of worms, but UK consumers in particular are becoming aware of the short comings of many of the paint brands out there.

The cause of the general slide in quality vs price has several elements that have influenced the paint industry over decades, probably starting with the housing boom after the war (using poor quality timber that never got better) and ending with the growth of large DIY and builders merchant chains.

In the middle of that, add the contraction of the UK chemical industry and its ability to supply raw materials locally, and the global monopoly on titanium dioxide supply.

Finally add the cultural bias against manual trades, reinforced by the reduction in City and Guild type training courses.

When I was a Marketing Manager at Akzo, when the 80’s boom took off, all the above issues had an impact on reducing quality, the image and support to the paint trades industry.

It is quite a complex issue.

Your thoughts?

It is quite a complex issue, but the simple takeaway point is that companies like Tikkurila have not compromised on the quality of their products. Compared to their UK competitors, they were advanced premium products to start with many years ago, and because of a commitment to stick with premium ingredients, they have stayed advanced.

What do you think about the trending quality of mainstream UK trade paints? ie are contract emulsions better than they ever were, are oil paints still giving the best finishes on woodwork, is your vinyl matt emulsion still as good as back in the day?

Any more for any more?

This is a far reaching topic and any suppliers or specialists with feet in both the UK and Europe who wish to add their pennyworth are welcome to send in a blog. Nothing is edited beyond altering the layout for easier online reading.

This is not a downer on all things to do with UK decorating, far from it, it is more a shot in the arm, to broaden horizons, and maximise the opportunities for UK tradesmen and suppliers to offer value for money, and for homeowners to get value for money.

In a nutshell, all that matters when decorating should not distill down to the lowest price on a tin or the smallest number at the bottom of a quote. As a final quote:

A €50 meal can be cheap, a €10 meal expensive.

We appreciate you taking the time to read this.

Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.

Share a link to this post

2 comments to “UK decorating trade – is it all about value or price? part 3”

  1. Ross hutchison

    Dear tp, I read with interest about quality vs price on paint. As a conscientious painter quality is certainly a priority but at a time saving priority too. So to achieve a good finish and spend more on paint I need to reduce my time and thus come in on budget and good and satisfied job. I was at Coventry last week and now a little confused about the quality of paint- let me explain. My goal was to find a paint which gave me a time saving and found the johnstones aqua system last year in Coventry and this has given some excellent results being water based and drying fast and 2 coats under and top coat applied in 1 day – time saving! This year all companies say yes always a under and topcoat, however I found a company who can give me a solution to wipe a surface to clean and it also preps the surface for key, then apply 1 coat for a finish and I can add powder product to make it anti bacterial properties too (mystic, krud cutter) now I am abut sceptic all until tried but do paint companies produce under coat and top coat for a double paint sale or is there a real 1 product top coat paint (which has a primer in) which we are not told about as it helps the profits of these companies – after all it is the 20th century?

  2. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Undercoats for water based paints tend to be bridging coats, to ensure compatibility between “brittle” oil based finishes and the “flexible” water based topcoats. It is best to follow paint manufacturers’ specs because they know their paint better than any user, really.

    The exception really is Zinsser primers which do seem universally compatible with all water and oil based paints (except F&B for some unknown reason!) Their oil primer still seems to be a first choice for new work or where you have a problem surface, and these seem to have a bit more body than conventional oil primer, and do act as an undercoat / filler too, with a lot of success, to be fair.

    Some water based systems do turn all normal thinking upside down with success. There are reliable results applying 2 x topcoat waterborne paints direct over well prepared previously painted surfaces – you can use the Deglossers like Gloss Off and ESP to aid with a key. (You would never have sanded and double oil glossed old paintwork with confidence, always an undercoat first.)

    There are self priming paints for use straight onto bare wood, Mythic Black label, it doesn’t mean less coats, it means less different tins of paint, and somewhere, a compromise. (There are high performance self priming enamels for metal (new Owatrol Deco is one example where 2 coats also works direct over rust too) but not an equivalent for wood as far as I am aware)

    On typical new woodwork, there can’t be an all-in-one water based self primer that is as tenacious as a dedicated primer with the body of an oil undercoat to fill imperfections, and with the flow and sheen to match a dedicated topcoat, (and for good measure do all that in less coats than you would like!)

    Overall, I feel that the standard of prep has to go up with water borne finishes, almost to the point where you have no expectation of the paint doing any filling work, so the surface is MDF smooth before painting. Then the waterborne skinny coatings are applied acording to the manufacturer’s spec, hopefully resulting in a beautiful strong finish. Going that route, you can say an all-in-one self priming topcoat has merit, as long as it can flow out nicely enough for you.

Please ask a question or leave a comment

I have read and agree to the visitor agreement and privacy policy

Please note, all information on this website is presented in good faith. By viewing this website you accept complete responsibility for how and where you use such information.