Roger Bisby visits the Leyland paint factory and finds there is a lot he didn’t know about paint and how to apply it.
Painting and decorating is one of those trades that everyone thinks they can do. I have been dipping brushes and rollers into emulsion paints for over 40 years but one of the first things I heard from Jamie Taylor, Leyland Trade’s Senior Applications Expert, was: “No, not like that, let me show you.”
The slightly galling thing is he is a lot younger than me so how did he get so clever? The question could also be turned around. “How did I remain so ignorant?” Probably because I thought I knew it all and stopped learning. Over the next 20 minutes I was given, not so much a masterclass, as a back to basics on choosing and applying emulsion. All this was by way of introducing me to Leyland Trade’s Hardwearing Matt emulsion which, as I found out, is not just washable but scrubbable.
So many of us are seduced by that big tub of contract emulsion that is usually hanging around near the trade counter or by the door as we walk into the merchants. What is not to like about 10 litres of paint for £10? Well, it turns out there is quite a lot, and in hearing this I was aware that Leyland also makes contract emulsion and sells it by the tanker load.
Contract emulsion – I now know – is made solely for new plaster and, because it is vapour permeable, you can get it on before the building has dried out completely. By drying out I don’t just mean the finish plaster losing its moisture, but the water in the masonry making its way out to the surface. This is a process which takes weeks – if not months. If you put a vinyl or acrylic on to a wall that is drying out you could find it bubbling or blistering.
So contract emulsion gives you a slightly chalky but perfectly acceptable initial preparation, but what comes next? If you use more of the same on top of your mist coat you have done the job, but the finish is not going to be high quality, and if it marks or stains washing it will turn it into mush.
If you want a more durable finish you need something such as vinyl emulsion (like Leyland Trade’s Vinyl Matt) or, better still, an acrylic emulsion, such as Leyland’s Hardwearing Matt.
Putting either of these paints onto a contract emulsion will not give you a good finish. You need to run it down and apply the first coat of your high quality paint diluted. This means it will bind with the contract emulsion rather than simply being dried out by the absorbency of the base.
You can get away with two coats if you are going onto a vinyl or acrylic, but if it is contract you need the dilute coat followed by two neat coats. That gives the best results.
Do not go back over vinyl or acrylic before it dries. If you do the paint on the wall will stick to the roller in flakes. You must let it dry completely before recoating. If you cut in with a brush you need to roll as you go so the cutting in and roller work is done as one.
Once you have two coats of Leyland Hardwearing Matt emulsion on the wall you are all set for the kind of life a house full of not too careful people (kids) can throw at it. That means handprints, footprints, and felt tips. With a bit of detergent (I prefer sugar soap) you can clean up the scene of the crime.
Do not use bleach on emulsion paint, it softens it and, because it acts as a sponge, you will often find it picks up moisture from the air.
The Leyland paint factory is not in Leyland. It was once but it moved from Lancashire to Yorkshire. An act that was once punishable by death.