Decorative coating

decorative coatings

Beautify any object with decorative coating

Generally, coatings have a universal use. Hundreds of different types of coatings and different application methods are available for industrial and decorative coatings. The latter often refers to the consumer coating market. Nonetheless, decorative coatings are also used in architecture and design in commercial buildings. Decorative coating is used, for modifying, polishing, aligning and beautifying objects and they are the most visible coatings. However, aesthetic motives are not the only reasons why decorative coatings are applied. Not only do coatings improve the looks of a surface but they also protect it and ensure longer surface durability.

UK decorative coatings market share

Three out of every four cans of paint sold in the UK are made in the UK, and 30% of UK production is exported, making the UK a net exporter of paint. Three in five paint companies export, which is well above the average of one in five UK companies at present.

The UK coatings industry is one of the most looked at, yet overlooked industries. 17% of the UK’s economy depends on our products every day, and over 300,000 people work with paint, printing inks, powder coatings and wallcoverings. The coating sales volume of decorative coatings in UK sold is 65% pertaining to all types of coatings sold in UK.

decorative coating in the uk

Coating sales volume in the UK

Decorative coatings in the UK

In the UK decorative coatings sold to home decorators alone sums up in about 165 million litres of paint. For interior decoration of an average house, about 50 litres of coatings are needed. The amount is enough for decorating and protecting all the wood structures inside. Furthermore, even more paint is sold due to the fact that surfaces need maintenance, and thus require re-coating, on average, every seven years. More and more people purchase decorative paint online. However, there still are some “offline” paint retailers in the UK. These include hardware store and department stores like Tesco.

Average prices of decorative coatings

In the UK one of the leading producers of decorative paint is Homeshield. The company is an expert in durable, hi-tech protective wall coatings for interiors and exteriors.
Even though nowadays minor paint jobs are usually done by the house owner, there are still about 200,000 companies and professional painters which provide decorative coating services in the UK. The following table provides some price indications on different types of decorative coatings for steel, wood and other substrate materials.

Crown Trade Covermatt White 10 LAn emulsion wall paint£45.06 (10 L)For new plaster as the first coating: breathable and allows moisture to leave the new plaster.
Dulux Trade Diamond matt white 5 LA waterborne matt finish for walls and ceilings£65.94 (5 L)For walls and ceilings. A durable coating which reflects twice as much light as traditional emulsion paints.
Little Greene Extreior Intelligent Eggshell 2.5 LA high performance exterior coating which resists mould and algal formation£60.00 (2.5 L)Self priming on new and bare wood. Also suitable for properly primed metal structures and all exterior wood work.
Annie Sloan Antoinette A chalk wall paint £18.95 (1 L)Suitable for interiors and exteriors on wood or metal floors, walls, ceilings or furniture.

Decorative coatings in commercial and public buildings

As decorative coatings have an important role in creating atmosphere, it also belongs to commercial and public buildings. Also in these buildings especially interior wall coatings’ purpose is to protect the surface but also to contribute to aesthetic appeal.

Colours in education

Schools and universities aim at providing a pleasant and encouraging learning environment. Interior wall paints contribute to the image and atmosphere. Also some colours seem to function better in educational environments than others; at least according to a research about psychology of colour in the educational environment.

Improve the first impression with the right colours

Commercial building such as offices and reception areas also need decorative coatings to communicate the business to visitors and at the same time to maintain staff productivity. The colours of your office encourage visitors to form the first impression about your company; the judgement can be either positive or negative. However, some colours that comfort visitors, decrease productivity. Therefore, it is crucial to find the right combination of calm and energetic colours.

Colours contribute to healing process

In the healthcare sector, decorative paint contributes to how patients perceive their environment. The goal is thus to make them feel comfortable and at ease without compromising in trust. Some researchers also claim that the right kind of decor in a hospital can positively affect the patients’ healing process; however, a bad choice of colours can have a negative effect on healing.

Home applications of decorative paint

The main home applications include coating ceilings, walls (interior and exterior), furniture as well as doors and window frames. By giving a new layer of paint on these surfaces, you can easily change the look and atmosphere in and of your home.

When you are choosing a paint to use, it is important to consider whether it is for an interior or exterior application and which substrate you want to apply it on. Nowadays, most of the decorative paints are waterborne, which means that they contain fewer dangerous substances and are more user friendly. Furthermore, the paints often are one pot systems meaning that you do not have to mix components prior to application. You just simply open the can and after mixing it well, start spreading it on the surface.

Decorating walls with coatings

In general, there are two categories of wall coatings: interior and exterior coatings.

Doors and window frame paint

Decorative coatings on doors and window frames.

For interior wall coatings the decorative properties are the most important even though they should also provide protection and reduce the need for recoating and maintenance. The preferable qualities of interior paint are dependent on the location of the surface, for example kitchen walls should be easy to clean and somewhat immune to grease and oil. For children’s rooms one might want an antibacterial, non-toxic coating. Fortunately, interior wall paints exist in many colours and are available with a wide range of properties.

Exterior wall coatings are applied on facades of buildings. Next to decorative purposes, these coatings must also be protective due to the fact that exterior walls must last long and be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions. Therefore, the coatings are usually UV resistant and offer protection against algae, mould and acid rain. Furthermore, nowadays’ technology allows additional water and dirt repelling properties. These properties are possible through nano technology and balancing the surface’s hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties.

Colloidal silica improves exterior wall paint

Colloidal silica can be used to create coatings which provide clean and fresh looking layers on facades. This is due to the unique property of colloidal silica to adjust the surfaces’ hydrophilic and hydrophobic balance. The silica also improves the hardness of decorative coating and makes them more durable. This means that the coated surface can resist scratches, abrasion and damage by knocks and bumps. Consequently, the walls do not require manual cleaning or recoating nearly as often as ordinary wall paints. Colloidal silica coatings also create a thick, flexible layer on exterior walls blocking water damp but still allowing the layer to breath.


Coating doors and window frames

Wall paint is often also suitable for painting wooden doors and window frames. However, the substrate may require a primer or sealer before the finish application. Other window frame and door materials such as PVC often require a different decorative coating. The coating types is purely dependent on the substrate material.

Difference between matt and gloss paint

  • Matt
    paint is smooth and velvety. This paint helps to hide imperfections on less-than-perfect walls. 
  • Flat matt
    emulsion paint is even more velvety. Matt surfaces don’t reflect light, so they make all colours look as similar as they can be in very different light conditions. Flat matt works wonders on deeper shades, too.
  • Gloss
    is a shiny finish designed for woodwork and it reflects lots of light – so is perfect for paler colours. You have to have a great surface to make it look its best, but it is hugely practical and adds a lovely contrast to walls that are painted in a matt.

Satin vs silk and eggshell

Satin and Silk are ‘mid-sheen’ finishes, which means they look like a slightly polished surface and reflect a bit of light. Silk is a finish associated with walls and satin for woodwork. You can wipe silk wall finishes easily which makes them very practical but if you have less-than-perfect walls, all the lumps and bumps may show up a bit more. A satin finish on woodwork helps to hide imperfections and gives colour a softer appearance.

Eggshell has less of a sheen than silk or satin and it does look like the surface of an eggshell (the clue’s in the name). It sits somewhere between matt and a silk finish and gives a beautiful classic look to woodwork – and can also be used on walls when you want a heritage style look with a tough finish.

 Painting tools

Most of the times, a decorative coating application takes place with a roller or brush. If you are painting large surfaces such as walls or ceiling, you might use a roller with which you can reach also the furthest corners of the surface. Brush applications are more common in painting more complex three dimensional objects such as furniture. However, a brush is also handy when painting corners (of walls and ceilings) for the brush as a deeper reach than a roller.

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