Farrow and Ball - rubbish or not?

(115 Posts)

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ovariantryst Mon 09-Jul-12 14:44:48

Okay, I realise I am about to offend half of Mumsnet, but I have spent an entire morning having my ear bent by a professional decorator and I need a second opinion…

According to him and his previous experience, Farrow and Ball is a pile of poo, does not wipe clean as it should (have just seen thread here that suggests this is true) , doesn't go on well, and doesn't last long without bubbling in the Westcountry sun (not that I've seen it much recently, mind…).

So - do you agree? What should I use instead? Someone recommended Dulux but I'm concerned the pigments aren't as rich as F&B.

Is Fired Earth any better? Anything else I need to know?? It's for an 1820s house, if that has any bearing at all on anything.

minkah Tue 02-Sep-14 12:26:15

You know how some people say there's no difference between posh champagne and cheap fizz?

Or the ones who say grinding your own spices for a curry is a waste of time, sainsburys curry sauce in a jar is just as good?

They are the ones who say 'emperors new clothes' about f&b.

All you have to do us figure out which camp you fit into.

It's much easier if you are happy with cheap fizz and sainsburys curry sauce.

Not everyone is.

People's perceptions are different. It isn't snobbery. It's different perceptions.

marcosharko Tue 02-Sep-14 09:05:02

interesting discusion!

Be careful when discussing Dulux paint...they make many different paints in vastly different qualities.

They break down (broadly) into retail or trade paints. The retail paints are fine if you want to throw on a couple of layers, but they are retail paints and no self respecting decorator will use them. You can usually get them really cheap, often two tins for £20 (inc vat) which works out at only £1 per litre! really cheap.

Personally, I never use retail paints. I use the dulux trade vinyl Matt, which costs over 4x as much. It costs about £44 for 10l tub, and you will notice that they are NEVER reduced or on sale.

The leap from retail to trade paint is huge. The really great thing about trade paint is that you can safely add water, up to 1 part in 5. When you start painting you think "but if I add water, the paint will be thinner, and I will have to do more coats". WRONG!! when you add a bit of water to the trade paint, it really comes alive (obviously, if you add too much water it will get thin). but if you add the right amount, the paint actually increases its opacity. I know, it sounds counter intuitive!! It really comes alive, goes on totally smooth and soaks into the surface, creating a beautiful bond. the roller just glides over. I have done entire ceilings with a thinned down Dulux trade matt and not had to do a second coat - that's onto bare plaster. The coverage power is amazing. And the staying power of this paint is fantastic.

You will see the difference if you actually paint yourself. I always keep a little bottle of water next to my paint scuttle and add a little depending on ambient humidity, suface texture, etc. What I want to do is have the paint fluid enough to prevent the roller swipes from 'cresting' (where the roller itself is actually laying down some unwanted texture) or where the paint is so thick that it creates 'misses' during a roller pass - the miss is where you can see through the paint. if you get it just right, it will be perfect.

the problem with retail paints is that they are a final formulation and you cant really add water with much success.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 14-May-14 09:58:22

OP, you sre correct.
We had a painter who described it as The Emperors new clothes.
Designed with mc people in mind.
round here the professionals use Johnstones, but not sure if that's a national firm or not.
There will be a local firm maybe that your decorator will use and you can guarantee they will be good because he/she will be a professional wanting a good result and keeping reputation.

whats4teamum Wed 14-May-14 09:54:16

You should be using modern emulsion not estate emulsion in kitchens, bathrooms and hi traffic hallways. It can be cleaned with fairy etc. As a professional decorator I thought you might know that.

marty52 Wed 14-May-14 08:45:13

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LittleBeautyBelle Wed 14-May-14 04:24:49

We just painted our drawing room, yes Farrow & Ball drawing room blue. It will be difficult to ever use another kind of paint again. It went on like thick cream, smooth and gorgeous. Silky and only one coat did the job. I bought two gallons for a large room and used just one. No primer or undercoat needed.

kitchenchallengeforMaggie Tue 29-Apr-14 18:53:18

Thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to help me. I have a Little Greene paint chart so will have a look. I am told the Dulux Heritage range is excellent, however, I believe that it is available to trade only which is a pain. Will do as you advise and not look out for oil based primer. Many thanks again.

PainterPete Tue 22-Apr-14 10:46:25

Maggie, You can't mix oil & water! Get busy with sanding before you reach for a paint brush. Boring bit but important. Water based paints rapidly replacing soon to be outlawed oil based paints due to gravy train EU law. Ditch F&B and go for Little Greene, Mylands or Dulux. YouTube is good for tips on how to paint your kitchen cabinets too. If you've got pine treat the knots too smile

pommedeterre Tue 22-Apr-14 08:56:54

My dulux walls wipe lots worse than my f and b walls!

Depth of colour and finish a lot better with f and b.

whats4teamum Tue 22-Apr-14 08:53:35

Do not use an oil based primer. Farrow and ball paint is water based paint and will not adhere to an oil based primer. Frankly it would be a disaster.

kitchenchallengeforMaggie Mon 21-Apr-14 20:05:09

Can I firstly say that I am very grateful for all the posts I have read regarding F & B paint and the application of it. One thread from thekitchenpainter said that to obtain a good finish one should use an oil based primer. As I am about to start on renovating my kitchen i.e. painting it, does anyone out there know where I could buy an oil based primer from. Many thanks

MillyMollyMama Fri 11-Apr-14 09:59:41

I agree with the bizarre comments about F andB. Have used it everywhere and all colours are lovely and we have no problems. My decorator has not complained. In fact he could not believe the great finish the exterior eggshell has given my very large wooden garage. He is now recommending this paint to other clients. Some decorators only want to use what they are used to and can match easily with cheaper paints. I have had these arguments over many years and now will not be bullied. Also I no longer have young children but, when I did,I never had mucky walls! Children can respect a home and I never wiped walls down when they were young. I did not need to so had wallpaper in those days!

ajgreen Fri 11-Apr-14 09:41:34

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ajgreen Fri 11-Apr-14 09:40:08

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Rexandralpf Sat 29-Mar-14 15:28:13

F&B is awful paint. Little greene is far far superior from experience.

StainlessSteelBegonia Sat 29-Mar-14 08:05:58

I have used quite a bit of F&B in my house, and it didn't require more than the standard two coats AND my decorator has commented positively on the paint quality. (He'd never used it before painting my hallway.) I have the modern emulsion in the kitchen & hall, traditional in the bedrooms, and matt exterior on my door. No problems with any of it.

This thread is like it's come from a parallel world. confused

oisin123 Sat 29-Mar-14 07:48:39

Farrow & Ball is great paint. It costs more but you get what you pay for. oisinbutler.ie/farrow-ball-paint-kitchen-units/

fresh Wed 19-Mar-14 17:26:14

The only way to get trade discount on Farrow and Ball is to be a trade book holder, which means buying all of the wallpaper books. Currently this costs around £475 + VAT, so you have to sell a hell of a lot of paint to get that back in margin (which is tiny on paint). I'm an F&B trade book holder.

Farrow and Ball stockists are not allowed to give trade discount to anybody, trade or not. If a decorator gets a copy made up in Dulux they will get discount on that. If an F&B stockist is also a Dulux stockist and is caught making up F&B copies in Dulux, F&B are very unhappy with them.

whats4teamum Wed 19-Mar-14 16:58:36

But your decorator Harry isn't supplying you with Farrow and Ball he is giving you another product he has got colour matched at trade price. But did you reap the benefit of the trade discount??? Bet Harry did.

tobiasfunke Wed 19-Mar-14 13:59:48

I was talking pish upthread - it's Dulux timeless classics I use. I started doing our hall that I put off for 4 years because of this thread. I curse you all.

jazzlover Wed 19-Mar-14 09:22:31

We have recently updated our bathroom and decided (after a friends recommendation) to choose a F&B colour for the walls. Applying the modern emulsion (Purbeck Stone No 275) was straightforward. This was on recently plastered walls, so I used a 50/50 Dulux white emulsion to seal the plaster followed by 2 coats of F&B. The result was superb. A very even colour with a great depth that I haven't experienced with Dulux. Its been on the walls for only 6 weeks so time will tell re durability.

The experience of the estate eggshell for the door and frame wasn't so good. I made the mistake of applying with a brush which didn't give an even coverage, so for final coat used a 4" mohair roller - much better. However the F&B eggshell has only the slightest sheen (compared to Dulux Satinwood) and it doesn't look 'finished'. In the end we changed the door furniture from Satin to Chrome and that was a better contrast. It may be that had I rollered the primer / undercoat and both coats of eggshell the result would have been much better?

Spottybra Thu 13-Mar-14 18:46:18

Got halfway through this thread. We are decorating. All I can think of is the cute little handprints all over the house from preschoolers sent to wash their hands after painting. Dulux until they are older it is then!

Glasshammer Thu 13-Mar-14 18:42:07

I have just used dulux, little greene and F&B this week.

F&B was very watery and as a result I had to give 3 layers. So expensive, time consuming and used lots of tins. So frustrating yo paint with when I had other things to get in with.

Dulux took 2 coats and although the colour quality isn't as nice as F&B, it was cheap and less time consuming.

Little greene was the best. Yes the paint is expensive but we only needed 1 coat!! Therefore it was quite economic considering. The colours are stunning also

tobiasfunke Thu 13-Mar-14 12:15:15

I'm not a fan of Farrow and Ball. Fired Earth absolutely stinks both when you're putting it on and for weeks after. It's a shame because it's a great paint with lovely colours.

I have done a lot of decorating (in period hosues) over the years and have found Crown to be my favourite. It's Timeless Classic range has good coverage and has just as flat an appearance as F & B.

figgypuddings Thu 13-Mar-14 12:00:34

I had a Johnstone's paint (scrubbable matt) mixed for me using the F&B colours. It is pretty damn close (Clunch!) and I am thrilled with it.
The same paint in a different colour has been on our living room walls for two years and looks as good as new. £36 for 5 litre tin.

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