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It may sound like a silly question asking someone where they buy their paint from. You are bound to get a bunch of similar responses – B&Q, Homebase, Screwfix, Tool Station, the local DIY hardware store around the corner. Everywhere sells paint these days, and people love to stock up on 15 litre tubs for a tenner, 99p paint brushes and roller sleeves.

Paint is often a tricky subject, and most people don’t know a good paint job from a bad. But when you are a tradesman, often you’ll find yourself decorating, whether it’s something you took a course to learn or self taught on the job. You’ll often find a customer who wants you to give their kitchen a lick of paint before you fit the new kitchen.

Professional painters don’t buy their paint from B&Q (or similar companies), they buy it directly from paint manufacturers, Crown, for example. Why? Because the paint you are sold on the high street and in the ‘sheds’ (large national DIY retailers) isn’t the same paint you buy from Crown, direct.

For a start, the paint you get on the high street is generally cheaper. Like most things in life, cheap doesn’t mean quality, no matter what the label says. The majority of contractors paint and ‘trade’ paint advertised in stores, again, isn’t the same ‘trade’ paint you can find in a crown paint store.

Having painted with all sorts of different paints over the years, we’ve discovered nothing beats the coverage of a tub of paint bought from the manufacturer direct. We’ve plastered rooms before now, given them a base coat with some cheap white paint to seal the wall and painted the whole room with its desired top coat using a 6 litre tub, and had some left over. It even had to be watered down it was so strong.

The main difference between retail paints and trade paints that are actually for the trade (and not retail paint sold as trade paint) is the pigment (dyes used in the paint). The better the pigment the less work you’ll have to do to get a proper finish. Would you rather apply one or two coats of trade paint, or 3,4,5 or even 6 coats of cheap DIY amateur paint to achieve the desired result? With some cheap white paints, you could be painting over old paint work that’s already a dusty shade of white, which makes most people think ‘great this will be easy’, yet your first coat will look very dull and see through. You’ll find that is the case with all cheap paints. Even when you’re ‘done’ or you’ve done as much as you are prepared to, yes it might be white after your slog, but it wont have that white, crisp glow that you can easily achieve with proper paint.

If you want a proper paint job, are proper trade paints which are more expensive worth it? The simple answer is yes. Try it yourself. paint some bare wood with undercoat or gloss that you’ve bought from a retailer, then apply some you’ve bought from a Crown trade center. You’ll see the difference, as clear as day.

We get all of our paint from here, our local trade store. You may find one more local to you, they’re dotted all over Birmingham.

Top painting tips: Never buy one coat paint, or paint that claims to be one coat, it’s awful. Buy your paint from the manufacturers. Spend more than 99 pence on a brush. You can pick up some relatively decent paint brushes in places like Screw fix and Tool station. Don’t buy the cheapest roller sleeves, they’re forever leaving bits in the paintwork and rarely achieve a smooth, smart finish. Always stir your paint thoroughly. Prepare your walls before painting, flick off any lumps, sand, fill any holes, base coat with some cheap white paint, let it dry then begin to apply your chosen top coat.