What is the difference between trade and retail paint?

trade paint

With over 20 years of experience here at Wilsons Paints in Exmouth, we know our paint. But we realise not everyone else knows the difference between trade paint and retail paint. It may come as a surprise to you, but there is a difference trust us and it’s not just the word trade written on the tin!

Back in the early 1980s before there were different types of paint, there were just brands. The recession hit and the big paint companies started to lose money. They though “paint is over engineered” and aimed to get their money back by reducing the content of paint in each tin, thus reducing costs. But it also reduced quality. Of course, the tradesmen who used the paint every day weren’t stupid and noticed the cutbacks. Vexed and offended, they stopped using the reduced content paint and tried to change brands! But there were no complaints from the public; the everyday people who only painted once or twice a year didn’t even notice the changes. This got paint companies like Dulux & Crown thinking… they tried various marketing plans to convince the public that their paint was the “creme de la creme“. Then they devised a plan to develop two different quality paints: the high-quality trade paint to keep the tradesmen happy, and then they’d pass off the “also ran” to the public through retail outlets.

If you are a tradesman earning your living from painting, you’d want to provide your customers with the best quality possible, but cheap paint just wouldn’t do; your reputation and business would be at stake.

What makes trade paint different?

The quality of the paint is far superior, especially for coloured paint, as trade paints are far more pigmented. This means you only need to apply two coats, instead of having to apply three or four for the same finish with retail paints. If you buy a quick drying, high coverage paint like Macpherson’s Trade Vinyl Matt, you can easily paint a whole room in just one day because you only need two coats. This easily saves you much needed time.

The high-quality formula of trade paints almost always come with a guarantee that they will last years. This includes you wiping dirt off as water will no longer easily remove the paint off your walls. Plus because this paint will last years longer than retail paints, it will save you money in the long run!

With trade paint, you may never need to paint that surface again – unless of course, you decide on a change of colour.

What is opacity and why is it important when comparing trade to retail paints?

Opacity when talking about paints means “the ability of a coat of paint, when applied at a given thickness, to hide the substrate, the wall beneath, or the previous coat of paint from view.” Good opacity is something everyone wants if you are painting – because you want to cover the previous surface.

So, you will want a paint with great opacity. However, DIY paints do not have great opacity and usually require several coats to prevent the surface underneath from showing through. Whereas trade paints will always have great opacity. So much so that you will need less paint to achieve a great finish that doesn’t let any of the previous surfaces to bleed through.

DIY retail paint is highly advertised and is readily available everywhere, unlike trade paints. Retail paints are cheaper but don’t be fooled by the price! We believe in trade paint because despite the slightly higher price its supremacy really gives our customers the best quality paint available. And, like we said, you don’t have to do multiple coats to achieve great results.

Why we sell trade paints

We like to think that with our years of experience we know what we’re talking about, and so we pride ourselves on only selling you – our customers – the best quality paints available, whether you are a tradesman or not. This often means that we sell trade versions of retail paints.

Should I buy “Trade” paint?

Overall we believe that trade paint is worth paying that little bit extra for. Trade paint is of a much higher quality than retail so over the years it will save you time and money. With its superior pigmentation and opacity, trade paint helps you easily finish the painting faster, giving your surfaces a more professional looking finish for far longer.

We are pleased to announce we are open again from 9am - 4pm.