Trade Paint vs Retail Paint – Is Trade Paint Better?

Get the professional finish at home with Trade Paint

Professional always know where to find the best products, and painters and decorators are no exception. As well as being trained in the skill of paint application, painters and decorators use only top quality products to get the perfect finish every time. Rather than heading to their local B&Q, professionals head to the trade centres and trade paint – So, is trade paint better quality?

The short answer is yes, absolutely. In this article we expose the differences between retail and trade paint, when you should opt for Trade, and take look at the top Trade brands in the UK.

A look at the best trade paint brands

The top brands in retail paints also have trade paint lines for decorators and professionals. Armstead, Crown, Dulux, Leyland, and Johnstone’s are 5 of the best trade paint brands in the UK. Below are some of their top selling products, and beneath we discuss the products that make up their trade lines.

Trade paint
Dulux Trade Diamond Matt
Trade paint
Leyland Trade Contract Matt
Trade paint
Johnstone’s Trade Gloss
Trade paint
Crown Trade Midsheen Vinyl
Trade paint
Armstead Trade Vinyl Matt

There is a reason professionals use trade paint – everything you can find in retail paint and more is represented here, but with higher quality.

  • Johnstone’s Trade – One of the UK’s foremost professional trade paint brands, Johnstone’s Trade has products for priming, walls, ceilings,  floors, metal, and specialty coatings for hygiene, flame, and graffiti protection.
  • Dulux Trade Paint – Dulux is a beloved brand in retail paint, and their trade paint line is just as highly regarded. With products for walls and ceiling, undercoats, primers, trim products, floor products, exterior products for wood, masonry, and more, you will find what you need. They also have ‘Sterishield’  products with bactericide and other specialty products.
  • Crown Trade – Walls and ceilings, floors, woodwork and MDF, primers, masonry, metal, PVCu, whatever the substrate or paint, Crown Trade has the premium quality product for you. Specified for use in domestic and commercial spaces.
  • Leyland Trade – With 90 years of history, Leyland is a trusted name in Trade. They have emulsions, glosses, satins, undercoats, floor paint, Trugard (for exteriors) and the Contract range (pictured above, designed for new work). The range includes over 300 individual product lines across all colours, withh BBA accreditation.
  • Armstead Trade – Another paint line from the AkzoNobel stable (like Dulux), Armstead Trade has a comprehensive but easy to use range that incorporates the 3,000 AkzoNobel colours. Contract matts for new work, durable matts for busy areas, you can find everything with Armstead.

Retail paint vs trade paint: what’s the difference?

dulux trade paint tin and dulux DIY paint tin

Dulux Weathershield Quick Dry Satin as trade paint (left) and DIY paint (right).

You might think that the difference between the trade and retail paints from any brand is just the logo, or the fact that painters and decorators use bigger tubs. You’d be wrong. Retail or DIY paint is formulated for an amateur to be able to use – it is easy and adequate to the task, aimed at the first timer or someone who wants their paint to be ready straight from the can. So, what is trade paint?

Trade paints are designed for the professional, with higher demands for quality and consistency. In general, trade paints are more highly pigmented which means they have a greater coverage. This also means they have higher ‘opacity’ – they require fewer coats to cover the previous paint and are more durable.

The higher quality of trade paint does not mean it is the one you should always use. Below we look at the best way to decide between trade and retail paints.

1. Trade paint – for quality and coverage

If you need to cover multiple rooms, or are trying to hide an intense colour beneath a new one, trade paint is the way to go. Paint for trade professionals is available in larger quantity tubs and will cover more surface area, making it the ideal choice for big jobs. The higher opacity means you will hide a colour easier and with fewer coats, saving you time and money.

2. Retail paint – for colour and smaller jobs

Retail paint is designed for the amateur. They provide adequate quality for the homeowner or renovator whose focus is colour rather than a professional finish. If you are updating a room, paint from the top interior brands is perfectly suitable for your needs. These paints are also available in smaller quantities, allowing for smaller jobs with little wastage. Whether emulsion or gloss for trim, you can produce a finish you’ll be pleased with.

If you want to paint like a pro, Don’t cut corners – paint them!

Cutting corners is the worst you can do if you want to achieve a perfect layer of paint. Even trade paint won’t hide the tracks of neglected surface preparation or use of cheap, low quality equipment.

Proper surface preparation includes sanding old paint or removing wall paper, and making sure the surface is free of dust and other contaminants. If the surface is damaged and has cracks and gaps on it, those should be filled and the filler let dry before applying any paint.

Our last piece of advice for you is to carefully study the manufacturer’s instructions on application before starting the job. If the data sheet tells you the paint cannot be rolled, then it really cannot be rolled; stick to the instructions!

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