Browse F.A.Q. Topics


  • What brush should I use?
    The general rule is that for oil-based paints and glosses you should use a brush with natural bristles, while water-based paints and acrylics should be used with synthetic-bristled brushes.


  • What are VOCs?
    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate easily into the air usually at room temperature and often give a distinctive smell. They are emitted from many sources including fuels, numerous industrial operations and household products such as cleaning agents, cosmetics, aerosols and paints. They can accelerate the rate nitrogen oxides (from combustion processes) react with sunlight to create low level ozone and photochemical smog, which contributes to air pollution. Even though less than 2% of all man-made VOCs in Europe come from decorative paint, Dulux have long implemented a voluntary industry agreement for carrying out VOC reductions in products and for displaying VOC content information on product labels. This is to encourage customers to choose products with lower VOC content. Now official UK legislation, based on EU directive 2004/42/EC, is in place and covers coatings applied to buildings, their trim and fittings and associated structures when applied for decorative, functional and protective purposes. This directive is a two stage process setting upper limits for the amount of VOCs allowed in products. The first stage started in January 2007. The second stage started in 2010 when stricter limits were applied, meaning major changes to traditional solvent based coatings.

interior decorating

  • I have painted my doors in Johnstone’s white oil based professional gloss. The back side of the door has started to discolour and turn yellow?
    Oil based products such as Johnstones Professional Gloss use UV light to stabilize the paint, in areas of low light we would recommend using a water based alternative such as the Johnstone’s Aqua Water Based Gloss.


  • Can I paint over varnished wood?
    Before you paint over stained wood, we would recommend that you abrade the surface to remove any traces of sheen. You can then paint over the top using a Satinwood, Eggshell or Gloss finish.
  • Can I paint over stained wood
    Before you paint over stained wood, we would recommend that you abrade the surface to remove any traces of sheen. You can then paint over the top using a Satinwood, Eggshell or Gloss finish.
  • Can I paint Matt over Silk?
    Yes, but you should sand the surface to take off the silk sheen. The silk has an impermeable protective finish so the matt will have difficulties keying into - and be susceptible to peeling - unless you sand it. Make sure the wall is free of dust and dirt before you apply the matt.

Types of paint

  • What’s the difference between water-based and solvent-based products
    Solvent-based products typically contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compound’s (VOC’s) and were traditionally for use on wood and metal surfaces, giving a glossy finish but associated with longer drying times and a strong smell. Water-based products have typically low levels of VOC’s and have come along way over recent years, with many companies offering a water-based paint equivalent to a solvent-based option. The benefits of a water-based product includes quicker drying times, less smell, and easier cleaning up with brushes and rollers being able to be rinsed with water rather than white spirit, making the whole decorating process more environmentally friendly. Washing solvent-based paint from brushes required the use of white spirit or solvent-based brush cleaners, which in themselves release VOCs when used, and are difficult to dispose of because of their hazardous nature. Therefore, using water-based paints, where brushes can be washed in soapy water, can further reduce the environmental impact of decorating.
  • What is the difference between trade and retail paint?
    The key difference is the quality of the paint. Trade paint is thicker, offers more coverage and a better finish. With trade paint you will need fewer coats to do the same job, saving you time and money.

If you need any advice on any painting and decorating issues, we’ll do our best to help.

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