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  • Mark E

Emulsion: Trade Paint vs Contract Paint vs Retail Paint

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

Trade vs Contract paint (Emulsion), it’s one of those things that seems to have the audience split. Different people and various online reviews seem to have different opinions and that’s the problem – there doesn’t seem to be a factually correct answer to the difference between Trade and Contract paint.


Let’s clear up one thing to start with, whether you’re a DIYer, professional trade, handyman, or anywhere in between, UIL strongly recommends “trade quality” (and we lump Contract paint into this "trade quality" category too) paint vs Retail paint every time . For starters you’ll save a *lot* of time because less coats will be required, but also the paint should be more durable and may even go further (better coverage) too. Beware of some marketing tricks too, look at some of the big brands sold in the sheds – you’ll see the retail versions have brightly coloured tins with appealing images and simplified text on the back. These products are watered down low quality versions of the trade paints. Don’t be tempted to try and save money even if they “look” cheaper, they aren’t.


Anyway, we digress, Trade vs Contract – it’s a personal opinion, and that’s the thing with paint, it is very personal. It is down to the individual’s artistic ability and the way that particular individual works. It is the opinion of UIL that Trade and Contract paint will virtually always be better than Retail paint. Contract paint is good for base colours – so that’s white and magnolia. Contract is a good cost effective paint for a large job, i.e. an entire house. Some people say contract paint is not very durable but UIL has not found this to be a problem over the past 10 years. Contract paint also touches up easily, meaning if you do scuff or damage it then if you paint a small patch it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It is true that contract paint wont be as durable as some other paints, but those come at a big price hike too! Contract paint is designed to be breathable too, so that on new projects the building (which is still very new) can breathe and continue drying out. Finally, Contract paint is thicker than Retail paint too, meaning that it is a lot less messy and doesn’t spatter off your roller or drop off your brush like water!

So there you have it, if you’re a DIYer just about to embark on a weekend project, standing in one of the big “sheds” and about to buy a Retail paint, give yourself an upgrade and chose Contract instead. If you really do need the extra quality and durability upgrade again to Trade paint – the paint will flow and glide off the brush like silk and it will be a pleasure to work with (you might even enjoy it!), you’ll achieve a higher quality finish much more easily… (we will discus brush quality another time too!)


NB don’t forget this Blog is regarding Emulsions only.

For a no obligation quotation please get in touch here or WhatsApp on 07971461101

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