Which brand of paint is the best for which job? People ask me this all the time.
The answer is 'Horses for Courses'. I use Dulux ... and Taubmans .... and Zinsser depending on what's needed.
Each brand has some real champions and a few ‘family members’ that let the side down quite a bit. (And not surprisingly, most cheap sub-brands, even with the Dulux or Taubmans name on them, are rubbish)
Find the 5 interior paint colours that solve nearly all your problems. Click here.
That’s why it’s a bit unfortunate that so many painting companies (usually the large ones) only use one brand of paint for everything. Bulk discounts are all very well, but shouldn’t the very best kind of paint be chosen for each particular job?
The Tidy Painter (AKA Me) is locked into no such agreement and can pick and choose the best type of paint for every application.
With that in mind I’ve developed a best in class list of paints that I use for my lucky, lucky clients.
Dulux Wash and Wear Low Sheen. The best known for a reason. In two coats it covers most existing wall colours. Marks and spills can be easily wiped off without leaving any marks. (Cheap paints will either leave a mark or rub off altogether!)
Personally I don’t like Dulux’s ceiling paint. I find it surprisingly thin, transparent and watery. I much prefer Taubmans Tradex Flat Ceiling paint. It is thick and opaque and two coats cover most problems.
Trim is the wooden stuff in your home – doors, windows, skirting and picture rails. When painting trim it’s very important to find out whether the existing surface has been painted in oil or acrylic based paint. Usually new oil goes over old oil and new acrylic goes over old acrylic.
Oil based paint (AKA Enamel) is the toughest option but can ‘yellow’ over time. It smells strongly! And it takes a long time to dry (16hours)
Water based trim paint (often confusingly called Enamel too) is softer, often needs more coats but does not ‘yellow’. It has a smell, but is a lot less strong. Its other disadvantage is that when painted directly over oil based surfaces without proper preparation, it peels right off!
(Also many water based enamels are just bad.)
So … I use both oil and acrylic ‘Trim’ paint as needed. These are the ones I’ve found work best:
OIL BASED TRIM PAINT – Dulux Super Enamel
WATER BASED TRIM PAINT – Dulux Aquanamel
* UPDATE - I have a new page that really gets into Low VOC and low odour painting.
Undercoat is a colour blockout. Usually I’m going over previous paint work so undercoat is not needed. But sometimes a light top coat over a dark or strong existing colour needs a base of undercoat. Also undercoat is needed over new Gyproc plaster board, in renovations etc.
I use Taubmans Tradex Ultra Prep Undercoat
Primer is different to undercoat. While it too is a colour blockout, it’s primary functions are to GRIP and SEAL. Primer is painted over bare timber (to seal up the pores), over repairs and fillers again to seal, and before acrylic is painted over old oil based trim.
Here I use a product from an American Primer/Undercoat specialist manufacturer, called Zinsser. It’s a bit smelly but that evaporates within a few hours.
I use Zinsser CoverStain Primer Sealer Stain Killer
*UPDATE - Here's a new blog post that really gets into primers and sealers.
And finally, even though I hardly do any exterior painting at all, its good for you to know that there are specialist paints for outdoors. In Australia because of the extremes of weather and temperature, outdoor paints need to have quite different properties to indoor paints.
They need to be able to stretch and contract as the substrate (brick, concrete, timber) expands and contracts. As a result good outdoor paint is very ‘rubbery’ even when fully cured. The best I’ve found is Dulux Weathershield.
So now you can see why there is no ‘best brand’ of paint. In my professional opinion eight kinds of paint from 3 manufacturers will cover 99% of situations. Some are harder to apply than others, but whether you get me or another pro to apply them, I’m sure you’ll be happy with the results.
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