Farrow and Ball - rubbish or not?

(119 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

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.

sh77 Mon 09-Jul-12 15:22:33

Does not wipe indeed. Having just spent a fortune on posh paint, I can honestly say I wish I had stuck to dulux. Little Greene has a better variety of colours but suffers from cleaning issue. It is cheaper than fb if you get it frin leyland sdm - 45 quid per 5l instead of 68 from lg online.

SundaeGirl Mon 09-Jul-12 15:30:34

Do not listen to your decorator! Try two tester pots, one f&b, the other Dulux, and you'll see why he wants the Dulux. F&B has a higher pigment - the brush drags and it's harder to paint. Dulux slaps on. Your decorator is thinking of himself not the lovely finished result!

That said, Little Greene has a finish that's really hard wearing.

lottiegb Mon 09-Jul-12 15:33:02

Not rubbish, very different matt, chalky finish which does look lovely and suit older houses. The slight glisten of dulux can look wrong.

Not sure about wiping though.

heroutdoors Mon 09-Jul-12 16:31:36

SundaeGirl hit the nail on the head!
The paint does drag, and the decorator does not like it at all. Our lifelong decorator sat with his hands in his head ( you would have thought he was Picasso!) he could not get it to flow.
Which makes me wonder if the poor OP on the other thread had a painter who added too much thinner when she wasn't looking. grin
These " problems" started when FB had to comply to the new European Rule and Regulation regarding paint. As they all did.

heroutdoors Mon 09-Jul-12 16:42:53

..head in hands even...

Flatbread Mon 09-Jul-12 16:58:25

Lottie, agree. We had put dulux on our old house. It was nice, but didn't have the depth of colour f&b has. I think it is a bit crap to pay so much for f&b paint, and get subpar performance, though. At the end of the day, it has to be practical, especially in kitchen and bathrooms.

Flatbread Mon 09-Jul-12 16:59:05

Hereoutdoors, what changed with EU regulations?

MarshaBrady Mon 09-Jul-12 17:03:16

Nearly all decorators will say no to F&B and say it isn't good etc. All ours did when we were looking for someone.

Except for one who said he specialised in F&B paint at double the price. Rather clever, although I didn't use him. Made the guy we chose use F&B despite his protests.

But it is nicer imo

noddyholder Mon 09-Jul-12 17:04:27

Littel greene are lovely

PanicMode Mon 09-Jul-12 17:33:27

F&B colours are great, pigments better blah blah blah. However, I won't use it again (at least until the children are older), despite having a period house because it just isn't practical for family living - I cannot get ours to wipe clean, despite their assurances that it does.

If your children are older and are unlikely to scuff walls or put mucky handprints all the way down your stairs two days after completely redecorating, then it does look lovely and is probably worth doing, but with a young family, I'd definitely steer clear.....

heroutdoors Mon 09-Jul-12 18:28:05

@ flatbread
I will find out for you as soon as I can. I am not technically up to date with paint.
However I do know that this regulation is not new. Maybe three/four years old.

Flatbread Mon 09-Jul-12 18:47:55

Thanks, Here, if it is not too much of a bother smile

angrywoman Mon 09-Jul-12 18:51:57

I have used F and B outside. It needs a third coat and I was quite pissed off to see a couple of bubbles in it recently. Still like it but would consider others in future.

soonbesailing Tue 10-Jul-12 16:24:44

This is a discussion that could roll and roll, but I do think the main thing is to be realistic about what you want from your paint, as not all paints are the same.

F & B have low VOCs and use quality pigments and bases in their paint, but that means they do not perform in the same way as say Dulux paint.

It's the plastics in paint that make them more durable and washable, also the flatter the finish the more likely it is that dirt will stick on it, that is why Modern emulsion has more shine to it than estate emulsion and why eggshell is used on wood, because it's in areas that you want to wash down (ie around door handles).

So if you want a lovely chalky flat minimal VOC paint then you will be happy with F&B.

From a colour point of view, again it's the amount of pigment in F & B that gives it that special chalky look. Yes you can get a similar colour in other brands, but it will not be the same, if you have a really keen eye you will notice the difference.

There is nothing wrong with matching a colour but it does drive me mad when people test a F &B paint then get it matched and find it's not the same.... Of course it's not the same. If you can't afford their paint why even try the tester pot in the first place? You should take their colour card and match to that and try the tester pot in Dulux or whatever paint it is you want to buy at the end, then you will get a real idea about the colour you will end up with.

I'm not saying this to be difficult or snobby just as good advice as I come across many people who are disappointed in their F & B match.

Re the washability I haven't commented on the other post as I can see that the OP is really cross and I don't think she will like what F & B say, but I do think the whole area regarding washability is so subjective and one persons gentle wipedown is anothers scrub down. I do think all of the paint co's are a bit lax in this area and they don't really say what washable/ wipeable means, but in my experience it's often tricky to spot clean or touch up and for it to not show you often have to clean the whole wall or repaint a whole wall, especially if you have dark colours (I have lots of dark grey not easy to touch up).

Decorators often don't like F & B because it's thinner that other paints and takes more work to put on.

The EU regulations changed about 3 years ago all paint co's reduced the level of VOC to fall in line with that, so all paint now has reduced level of oil/plastic etc in it even the cheapest on the market. More reg changes are coming ( in 2015 I think) and eventually you will not be able to buy oil based paint in the E U.

F & B decided to get ahead of the game and reformulated all of their paint without oil, so they will not have to make the changes in the future.

I work in a paint stockist so sell several brands but just thought I should tell you about F & B, as that was what you were asking about, hope it is of some help.

fresh Tue 10-Jul-12 18:14:53

Thank you soonbesailing. Whenever this question comes up again (and it will), I shall link to your reply as it's the sanest I've seen grin

libelulle Tue 10-Jul-12 19:23:01

Little Greene, little greene! I used to be a F&B enthusiast but since using LG I'm a total convert, the coverage seems so much better and still with the 'chalky' finish of f&b. Re washability, the LG 'intelligent emulsion' is supposed to be washable and so far we've given it a couple of rubs down and it seems to be pretty sturdy. I promise I have no LG connection (have plugged them on a couple of threads already!) - just the experience of painting one entire house in f&B and then another whole house in LG!

amazonianwoman Tue 10-Jul-12 20:31:52

Libelulle - recommend me some nice LG colours please! Looking for a bedroom colour to go with white and pale grey patterned bedding, roman blinds which are white & greigey flowers, oak bed & bedside drawers (don't love these but can't afford to change them) and very old waxed pine chest of drawers and trunk (could paint both of these)

Bedroom is large 6.5 x 4.5 m and faces mostly east, with north facing window too. 3 big windows so light.

Have only ordered "Pearl" tester so far but wish I'd ordered pearl dark instead. I thought a greeny grey might tone down the (not too) orangey yellow oak. Really don't want to spend a fortune on testers! Any recommendations!

[sorry for hijack!]

ovariantryst Tue 10-Jul-12 23:07:34

Thanks all - anyone ever tried Fired Earth, though? There must be a compromise! Our youngest dc is 2 so wipeable is a must.

In fairness to our decorator, it wasn't so much the application but the performance of F&B that he had most issues with. They were at the job for a couple of weeks and by the time they left, the first outside areas they'd painted were bubbling...

I'll look up Little Greene and see if I can get hold of it in the back of beyond...

heroutdoors Wed 11-Jul-12 15:11:30

@ flatbread.
Still waiting for feedback , sorry.
After soonbesailing's excellent post I doubt there will be much to add.But when it comes I will pass it on.

Flatbread Wed 11-Jul-12 15:43:07

Her, thanks. Soon covered it well.

I think F&B need to be more upfront about the performance of their paints, so people can make an informed choice.

GiveTheAnarchistACigarette Wed 11-Jul-12 15:47:23

Have a look at the Craig and Rose range which B&Q stock, it is a tad more expensive than Dulux but is a good compromise/alternative to F&B. It has a good chalky finish and lovely colours. We've used it several times over the past 12 or so years in different houses and it has proved quite durable.

However, if you want something truly washable and very matt, Dulux's kitchen matt is very good, matter than their usual matts and properly scrubbable.

I'm soon going to paint a room in Earthborn's Claypaint and shall report back!

Flatbread Wed 11-Jul-12 16:07:13

Ooh, interesting <off to google Earthborne claypaint>

Markng my place. I love F&B colours and haven't had much trouble wiping it down.

Yorky Wed 11-Jul-12 17:14:31

Interesting to read as following another thread I have been looking at DIY kitchens and like their painted range, which they describe as F&B colours, but having read this I have no intention of using F&B on my kitchen walls with 4DC under 6!
I don't suppose anyone knows if they have just 'matched' the colours to an F&B paint card, or actually use their paints on the cupboard doors?

FunnysInLaJardin Wed 11-Jul-12 17:17:41

Our decorator said that to us once and when we said no we want F&B, he proceeded to ignore us and paint the wall with a copy. We made him do it again with F&B.

I can certainly tell the difference in the tone and depth. Oh and we have found it wipes down fine. We have 2 small DC and a house full of F&B

heroutdoors Sat 18-Aug-12 15:03:57

@ flatbread.
Finally! I had an answer, although by now you have probably not only painted your own place but everybody else's as well.
I'll repeat it word for word:

VOC2010 refers to the latest year when compliance to the reduction of volatile organic compounds had to be in place.
This reduction of solvents means that paint had to be reformulated.
So out go the titanium fillers and in come the plasticizers which are a mixture of solvent and water. Some manufacturers rather than modifying the solvent based product opt for a water based alternative. Water based paint on previously unpainted woodwork is very good. But on surfaces previously oil painted there can be an adhesion problem
Modified versions like Dulux satinwood, gloss and undercoat are now very slow drying and still soft after 24 hrs of application
Some manufacturers have opted for water based gloss and exterior gloss.
The big problem here is that an acrylic water based undercoat has to be used as a substitute to the conventional undercoat.
Acrylics are price sensitive for quality and in F&B's case would be applied over previously (oil?) painted woodwork. Which in my experience is retrograde.

Hope all that makes sense. I am not sure I understand it all.

HaplessHousewife Mon 20-Aug-12 18:44:10

My builder and decorator both turned their noses up at F&B and said the best quality paint is Dulux trade. The decorator said it's the lack of vinyl that makes it difficult to clean although he did say it touches up well if you get scuffs on it but that means you have to be prepared to keep repainting.

(The builder's not doing the painting, so no reason to put us off F&B, but I asked his opinion as we've known him for 15 years.)

Ingles2 Mon 20-Aug-12 19:02:37

I've been painting my 16c weatherboard cottage in f&b for the last 10 years and it definitely isn't as good since they changed the formula/went water based to come in line with EU changes.
I'll still be using the estate emulsion on interior walls for the Matt, chalky depth of colour
But I'm not using their interior or exterior eggshell again. It flakes, bubbles and scratches off easily which when your house it completely timber, is a total nightmare! Im using leyland/ Johnstone exterior oil based gloss colour matched which is fab...
My exterior doors were fired earth wild olive which is no longer available since changes, the leyland version is exactly the same, but cheaper.

noddyholder Mon 20-Aug-12 19:04:39

Farrow and ball is always a source of an argument with my builders they never want to use it so I don't. It takes longer to put on and so costs more. Every time i have used it they have had to come back and do another coat.Little greene is very good but dulux is best and if you really want posh paint malabar covers really well

BerylStreep Mon 20-Aug-12 19:48:40

I have never used F&B outside, but internally, the colours are gorgeous, and it is true, there is better pigment. I'm surprised by those people who have said you need to do more coats. That's not my experience - usually the first coat goes on, and you are left wondering if you really need a second one (which of course you do, but YKWIM).

Our interior designer (dahling) warned us against getting F&B colours mixed by a trade counter, said it never looked the same - we thought he was being a bit precious, but having made that expensive mistake, can vouch that it is true.

I used the estate emulsion, and my DC (7 & 5) know that they touch walls at their peril. I wish to goodness their sticky handed friends knew the same.

Anyway, the modern emulsion really is wipeable, and I wish I had used that throughout, but have only used it in bathrooms, although you don't get that fab mattness that you get with the estate emulsion.

The other brand that gets a good name with designers is Zoffany, but I haven't used it.

Carlag73 Thu 25-Apr-13 17:15:04

Some facts about paint.

Dulux/ crown etc are made to a price, they know what they want the price to be on B & Qs shelves and the chemists do the best job they can with the money in the pot.

Farrow and Ball and Little Greene make the best paint they can and it costs what it costs.
The EU have recently brought in strict regulations regarding Volatile organic compounds in paints which has meant that paint makers have had to change their formulations and F & B have really struggled with this and their paints now need more coats than Little Greene's do.
And Little Green are a small familly owned Manchester concern whereas F & B are owned by an American Venture Capital company.
Little Green also manufacture for Sanders, Zoffany, Paint Library (not Fired earth any more)

justaweeone Thu 25-Apr-13 19:25:39

York-I have painted units and had this paint colour matched in a f & b colour

Elegant Aqua Lackfarg 10

It is fab paint to use,hardwearing and we make an effort to touch up the units ever year.5 yearson the units still look great

Rosesandlemons Thu 25-Apr-13 21:29:56

I know of someone who was warned against f&b for her windows and doors by her decorator. She ignored him. A year later she was having them re painted with dulux, the f&b bubbled and cracked within months. This was a ver big house, therefore a very costly mistake.

I think I would use f&b for a bedroom but not for areas of the house that get more wear and tear. I have had our living room painted in a colour matched paint from the f&b range, so the same colour but more hard wearing and wipes down well.

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 26-Apr-13 11:12:48

WE have F&B Slipper Satin in lots of places (open dining area, under dado in hall, and our bedroom) all have lasted well for 8 years.

I have recently painted another room in a matched Slipper Satin and to my eye it does have the same soft colour - it looks too yellow, rather thena gentle neutral cream. I didn't buy enough so I will make sure the top coat is the original stuff. TBH I'm not convinced by the shops who say they can colour match.

Carlag73 Thu 02-May-13 11:37:34

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Devora Fri 03-May-13 01:25:05

I love a bit of F&B, but have to admit that I will not be using it again for high traffic areas frequented by small children with grubby palms. Whenever I try to wipe it I just seem to end up spreading the dirt around, and I am resigned to it looking shabby until I repaint, which won't be for a good few years yet.

Next time, it's plain Dulux for me in those areas, with F&B saved for my bedroom smile

CoolStoryBro Fri 03-May-13 02:20:49

Personally, I think the standard of F&B has gone down in direct correlation with its popularity going up.

I'd go with a low VOC colour match.

SvetlanaKirilenko Fri 03-May-13 11:39:19

Zombie thread but I'll add my tuppence-worth being as I have just finished decorating our house in F&B...

F&B colours can not be matched IMHO, they change with the light in a way dulux etc. do not. They are beautiful - and I love the slight "sludginess" you get with each colour, which fits in well with an old slightly crumbly house like mine. I have it in every room including halls.

I tested lots of LG colours but found the colours too "clear" for my liking, so obviously it's that beige base I love smile

Carlag73 Sat 04-May-13 19:39:39

It's all very well saying I bought xyz emulsion and it goes shiny when I wipe it therefore it must be rubbish. Most paint companies offer one emulsion which is extra chalky and therefore does not wash well but is great for ceilings and for people without kids and dogs. And another emulsion with polyurethane which is slightly less chalky but is virtually scrubbable, don't pile in without learning which is which and buy the wrong one. There is a 50% chance of you getting it right but really it's not rocket science.

Honestyisbest Sat 04-May-13 22:38:10

Both the decorator who is painting the walls ( he has 40 years experience, he's 64!) and the kitchen company painter who is painting the cupboards insist on Dulux. We have chosen for their heritage range. They both have said independently that they will use FB or similar, but they really don't recommend it for all the reasons others have mentioned. Anyway we are using Trade Matt white on the walls and Georgian Grey on the cupboards. Oh and it's three for two on offer in B and Q!

tutu2 Sat 11-May-13 17:59:41

F&B are great - but even better are Ecos Organic paints. used them right throughout our past 2 houses for years - I dont know why more people dont seem to know about them

noddyholder Sat 11-May-13 18:47:51

Little Greene is very good. Lots of decorators admit to me at work that it is good paint but they can't be arsed to put in the effort required with super matt finish to get good coverage. All the really good decorators never complain. Cheaper ones do (I have found) I like dulux too

crazyhead Sat 11-May-13 19:14:28

I really like Little Greene intellimatt emulsion or whatever it is called. It does take more coats than Dulux but looks nicer. Not cheap though

Merguez Sat 11-May-13 19:14:44

We need to repaint the outside wooden window frames as the F&B paint we had done a few years ago is completely cracked now.

So, what's a good alternative? Hate gloss, must be eggshell finish. Only paint Dulux recommends for exteriors is gloss...

noddyholder Sat 11-May-13 19:23:43

Little greene traditional oil eggshell

SvetlanaKirilenko Tue 14-May-13 10:41:29

tutu2 I like the sound of ecos paints, I have pm'd you smile

Bramshott Tue 14-May-13 10:51:11

Merguez - I think it has to be gloss for exterior wood. We've used F & B white tie gloss on our window frames and it's lasting well so far.

Merguez Tue 14-May-13 16:28:11

But I hate gloss! way too shiny for our traditional old farmhouse...

Bublinskibits Thu 06-Jun-13 12:47:49

The reason the quality of F&B has gone down is that they were bought out by a Chinese company. The product is now all made in China and contains certain types of plastic/synthetic material to make it more hard-wearing. There are many examples of people using new F&B in their old houses and suffering ongoing problems from the fact that old lime walls need to breathe and new F&B doesn't allow that. I'm sad, as we've always used F&B and don't really know what other make will look OK against these in our old house.

Elliptic5 Thu 06-Jun-13 13:33:10

Merguez I mentioned on another thread we are just having the outside of our house done in Sadolin Superdec, that may well give the finish you are after.

mattip Mon 08-Jul-13 21:58:31

I used F&b james white 2010 last year and it was brilliant 2 coats and it covered well. This year the same colour new tin and I'm having to put 4 to 5 coats before it covers it completly. A waste of time. I rung F&B and they said there is nothing wrong with the paint ...what a load of rubbish. £60 worth of useless paint. Im going to use Annie Sloan from now on.

Itscoldouthere Tue 09-Jul-13 00:01:41

Bublinskibits I don't know where you got that information about F & B but I worked as a stockist for them and that is news to me, I believe that all of their paints made in Dorset and the reason for the change is the removal of oil in their paint.
I'd love to know where your information comes from, as a stockist I rely on this information to sell their paint.

I looked at F&B and Fired Earth but in the end opted for Dulux Heritage paints - they have a similar look to the others, coverage and application is about the same, but they are a little cheaper. The room that we painted with it has stayed immaculate, and I used to wipe sticky finger marks, dog marks etc regularly.


PainterPete Thu 08-Aug-13 23:07:48

Decorators hate Farrow & Ball because their client is paying for the brand marketing spin and not the contents of the tin. Very, very poor product. Manufactured in China, very poor resin & pigment content. Bulked out with all sorts of nasties and you'll pay me or any other decorator lots of money for labour to paint on four or even six (dark colours) to achieve a passable result. Once the little ones embelish with pens & crayons you'll be left with a shiny mark & less paint once you've been busy scrubbing the lot off. Chips like soft meringue. Pay same price for a real premium paint that dries dead flat, eggshell or gloss dependent on your preference. It's Marble Matt emulsion contains crushed marble in the formula so it'll be as tough as nails and I can tell you with confidence you can scrubb of anything the dog or children throw at it and it will not leave a shiny mark. Manufactured in Lambeth, London by a 130 yr plus old company who know their paints and varnishes. Company is called Mylands and their Colours of London Marble Matt paints are a joy to use. Find 'em online or visit their trade counter - you'll find all the decorators in the know tell customers Mylands are the real thing. Pay for the stuff in the tin and not some F&B showroom & marketing. Fabulous colours too..... two coats and your done too smile

SuddenlySingleAgain Fri 09-Aug-13 20:54:24

it's made in Blandford Dorset

Itscoldouthere Sat 10-Aug-13 10:18:53

Yes again another person saying its made in China confused

Why do you think that? I'd really like to know.

It's not something I've every been told and I sell the stuff !

PainterPete Sat 10-Aug-13 16:00:34

Shipped in bulk and the colours added in uk.... Damn awful stuff. Used Mylands paint for years. It's the contents of the tin that count and not the fancy shop & adverts. New colours keep my most discerning fussy customers coming back time & time again for more of the proper stuff. Same price as the other posh paint that painters hate but goes on in two coats and covers a host of sins. Good enough for the queen too and she knows quality. Wife loves it and the toddlers have yet to make their mark - scrubb of the crayons and no look at me shine or mark. Proper paint.

PainterPete Sat 10-Aug-13 18:41:27

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CustardTheCat84 Sun 11-Aug-13 18:27:04

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EmmaRoberts Wed 14-Aug-13 09:48:47

My favourite new paint in the range my that hotel agency Mr & Mrs Smith! Didn't even know they did that kind of thing!

EmmaRoberts Wed 14-Aug-13 09:49:04

My favourite new paint in the range my that hotel agency Mr & Mrs Smith! Didn't even know they did that kind of thing!

stayhomedaddy Wed 21-Aug-13 16:21:23

For what it's worth, I painted our study in F&B. I did not use their primer, but I did use 3 coats of F&B (5 litres + c.2.5l), the 3rd coat from a different tin. I was told 3 coats is an ok alternative to using their primer.

My view is it is not as good as either Sanderson (get from John Lewis, and elsewhere) or Zophany (I understand has merged with Sanderson, but paint seemed different).

My F&B experience is:

1. It goes on thinly, hence i used 3 coats.
2. It bubbled when I put the 3rd coat on (I sanded and repainted, it bubbled again)
3. It is not hard wearing - 2 weeks later I brushed my chair against the wall and 3 layers of paint peeled off, plus the layer of paint it sat on top of!!
4. By contrast, I painted my living room and bedroom (both more than twice the size of the study) using Sanderson and used just 5 litres each (just one coat). All rooms started in light/white colour paint, dulux, which I painted 5 years ago.

I live in a georgian house in the new town of Edinburgh (think Bath's Crescents, if you live in the South of England!) and I would never use F&B again. I can't understand why the brand still exists, to be honest.

Peppercornhouse1 Mon 14-Oct-13 22:53:33

The best chalk paint to use is Autentico velvet for walls. Beautiful colours to choose from and they are chalk paints. Very robust and wipe able
I stock them at peppercorn house. There are various stockists all over the country!! Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Nov-13 15:29:30

Hello there

We've been contacted by Farrow and Ball, who've asked us to pass on the following:

'After a few customers referencing this forum thread, Farrow & Ball can confirm that their paint and wallpaper continues to be made at their home in Wimborne, Dorset, where it has been for over 70 years.'


Aloysius Tue 05-Nov-13 20:37:51

Having used Fired Earth throughout our house, we used F&B Drawing Room Blue in the bedroom of our four boys. Never again! When you wipe a mark you can actually see the paint on the cloth and it leaves a visible and obvious mark. I have vowed never to use it again. We recently used Fired Earth Afternoon Tea (it is part of their harder wearing range) and this gives a lovely finish and texture. I have a chart for Mylands and the colours are fab, so think I would give it a whirl next time.

SadPander Tue 05-Nov-13 20:54:18

I love Fired Earth, goes on so well and has a hard wearing finish. I'd definitely recommend it.

Retroformica Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:00

The amazing interior decorator I know recommends little green. Lovely colours!!!

BoffinMum Tue 12-Nov-13 15:40:59

Reluctantly, I've just had the whole house done in F and B colours mixed in Crown paint, which gave a much better result. Realistically you wouldn't be able to tell it's not F and B, although we did have to experiment a bit to get the correct shades (they often come out a bit darker). I think F and B need to look long and hard at their current formulations as the quality really has deteriorated since I started using it 15 years ago. Even your loyal customers are getting fed up with the quality issue.

thekitchenpainter Sun 05-Jan-14 09:39:22

I can see all the problems here as I have had to try and find a method to try and attain a high quality finnish using Fand B paints,estate eggshell to be exact,the problems arise from using water based undercoats on wood that has next to no moisture content and on mdf panels where the same applies,the fact is if you use the specified water based primer you are reintroducing a moisture content,the tulipwood frames and mdf panels will absorb this water and the final finish will be poor and not hardwearing.I paint all my kitchens,bookcases etc, using oil based primer which I tint to as near to the final colour using various shades of oil eggshells .The make of paint I use for this is pretty quick drying for oil based paint and lets me paint both sides of the cupboard doors the same day but you have to wait until the next day before the paint is dry enough to sand.If the kitchen is to be finished in a white or very light colour I always use at least 2 coats of primer so that you cannot see any wood through the paint bearing in mind that white paint colours contain the least amount of coloured pigment,If the finished colour is a grey or green one coat of primer is usually sufficient.I then sand everything with a 180 grit paper thoroughly and can then apply my 2 top coats of paint,I use FandB or Little Green eggshell and nothing else,sanding between coats with a fine 240 or old worn 180 grit paper,there will be less sanding with each coat of paint and with the matt finish of the primer you should not have any compatability problems when applying a water based eggshell,I do not use any other makes of paints and would like to say that its not an easy job and that the average sized kitchen will take me around 10 days.

thekitchenpainter Thu 16-Jan-14 19:55:41

Dear oh dear the same problems rearing their ugly heads again and again,nothing wrong with farrow and Ball,nothing wrong with Little Green eggshell paints,its all in the preparation,use the correct oil based primer and all your problems will be solved,ignore water based primers the aforementioned companys should be well aware that their primer undercoats are not up to the job and should be looking into alternative processes to to try and produce a water based primer undercoat that does some justice to their water based eggshell paint,the thing here as I have found is to think outside of the box and do not be dictated to by off the shelf product advice,just find someone who is prepared to make an effort for you the customer.

Mabelandrose Thu 16-Jan-14 21:48:28

It took me about 4 costs of paint to cover a small room - very tedious bit looks lovely now finished. I have had far more success with little greene paint

Mabelandrose Thu 16-Jan-14 21:48:39

4 coats*

Pannacotta Thu 16-Jan-14 21:55:56

I find Little Greene better in terms of coverage and the face it can be wiped clean but its pretty much the same price as F&B.
Fired Earth also very good and often run promotions so worth keeping an eye out.

CustardTheCat84 Thu 06-Mar-14 18:33:05

Panncotta, I'm with you on Little Greene and their heritage colours! I've just got myself a bargain using Mylands 20% off promotion thingy on their fab paint. I'm all for a bargain smile Two coats work for me and I'm done.

Tartanpaint Thu 06-Mar-14 18:35:51

It's total crap. Yes lovely colours but ver transparent so breeding a million layers. Little Greene has the best coverage and colour range I have seen

We are repainting a room in F&B now. The coverage is terrible. Which wouldn't be so bad except we are painting it the exact same colour that it already is shock
Will not buy it again (ignores fact has 6 tins already bought to paint living room in near future)

Lagoonablue Thu 06-Mar-14 18:52:09

For me the problem is about matt paint. Flat matt paint looks lovely. It is rubbish for wiping down. Stains easily, hard to clean. We have expensive heritage matt paint in our kitchen. What a mistake!

Same with egg shell. Looks lovely but not very cleanable.

Shiny paint cleans much better but not great looking. I aim to get Dulux Endurance next which is matt but washable apparently.

CustardTheCat84 Thu 06-Mar-14 18:59:59

Logoonablue, I thought the same with the 'matt looks lovely but you can't live with it' but found Mylands is super matt and you can have a go at it with a cloth and Jif without it going shiny or marking or cursing the dog/cat/dc. I'm also a fan of Little Greene but it's Mylands for downstairs rooms for me.

lovingmatleave Fri 07-Mar-14 18:06:33

our last period house we used F+B lovely colours but not too good at cleaning. current house with 2 kids - laura Ashley in living room - does not wipe down well at all and will need to change brand when we paint next. Dulux in hall and kitchen - can easily wipe off the line of grubby finger marks.

We have a small wall in our cloakroom toilet painted in Fired Earth. It doesn't get used much, but in the interests or research, I have just tested whether it wipes well, and I was surprised it did. Greasy fingerprint and pen both went. It is a darker blue colour though so not sure about whites/creams. They do a great range of paint colours.

Hellefrog Tue 11-Mar-14 09:19:38

Have just had house painted in Farrow and Ball
The colours are lovely- India yellow, hound lemon So glad I was more adventurous. Also Fired Earth Rosebay.Never beige again House feels warm and cosy!

Hellefrog Tue 11-Mar-14 09:22:51

Should add that the period colours do not wipe Have found out to my cost but Fired Earth eggshell and f and b modern emulsion have been fine in kitchen and bathroom For the rest it is a trade off between gorgeous matte colour and wipe ability. Colour won for me but don't have any little fingers about the place.

Candyalice Wed 12-Mar-14 04:13:40

Hellefrog...would you be able to give me some ideas about the India yellow
Thinking of using it in lounge,would love to know how it turned out...

MrsJohnDeere Wed 12-Mar-14 07:43:06

Colours look lovely in old houses and it is much nicer to paint with IMHO (might depend on the type of walls) than cheaper paints BUT it scratches and marks really easily and it is a bugger to clean.

Used it everywhere in our last house and regretted deeply when we were trying to keep everything pristine for selling. Not going to use it in our new house. Might get some of the colours matched though.

EmilyAlice Wed 12-Mar-14 15:02:25

We have used F and B for at least 20 years and love it. We used to live near the factory and buy it from the factory shop near Wimborne. We find the pigmentation and coverage excellent. We don't have sticky fingers anymore, but we just touch up marks, rather than trying to wipe. In the UK we used to buy the darker colours, but here in France we have an ancient stone house with beams everywhere so we use an off-white shade. We forgot to buy it last time we were in the UK so had to buy a tin here, which was eye-wateringly expensive, but worth it.
If you have ever used French paint you will know just how rubbish paint can be.
I just don't understand people saying they have to put lots of coats on. We have only ever needed one, even with dark colours.

handcream Wed 12-Mar-14 15:08:39

We have used three decorators over the years. All hated F&B. Little Greene are used by John Lewis and are better. However Dulux is loved by all the workmen and I havent had an issue with the paint quality tbh.

If you really want a F&B colour get their chart and get your decorator to colur match it.

Its funny - so many people think little of F&B including the decorating profession - yet they are still going. There is actually a F&B shop near where I live, never been in but someone must be buying it!

whats4teamum Wed 12-Mar-14 15:34:25

Decorators don't like farrow and ball because they don't get any discount so there is no advantage unlike other suppliers where they can and then not pass the discount on to you.

ScaryMcLary Wed 12-Mar-14 16:00:27

I read this thread a few months ago as my designer wanted F&B and my decorator wanted Dulux. In the end we 'winged it' and went with F&B modern emulsion and I can honestly say it looks better and so far has proved more wipeable than the Dulux we have in other parts of the house. When I have wiped dulux with a damp cloth the paint has quite quickly wiped right through (light colour so luckily not too noticeable). So far I have spilt diffuser oil, cake batter and muddy 'dog shake' on the F&B and it has all wiped off easily with a damp cloth (oh plus a few sticky fingers).

My decorator go on ok with it - we compromised and used Dulux for the wood work.

The colour really does look lovely - loads of people have commented on it. I never 'got' the F&B thing and certainly never thought I would be extolling its virtues!

Crackednipplesandcabbage Wed 12-Mar-14 16:33:29

F&B is overpriced I think. You're buying just the colour I think, colours that are associated with posh houses. Johnson's and Dulux is better.

CustardTheCat84 Thu 13-Mar-14 11:53:34

Decorators certainly do receive discounts on all paints regardless of the name on the tin! My decorator Harry matches Farrow & Ball colour requests using Little Greene or Mylands. I've asked him to do the same for our hallway and have no complaints at all.

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.

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.

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

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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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/

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

shackattack Thu 11-Dec-14 23:59:05

love the farrow & ball colours - or rather, their choice of colours as of course all these colours are out there on custom-mix systems it's just hard to weed the good from the bad when faced with so much choice ..

HOWEVER I would never pay full whack for F&B paint. Go to Johnstones, give them the paint name and number (eg f&b light blue no 22) and they will mix up the EXACT colour using same pigments as F&B. Their matt emulsion is excellent quality too, goes on really thick and smooth with hardly any patching after 1 coat & completely solid after 2.

A note about farrow and ball light blue no 22 if anyone is considering using it: it is one of those paints which look completely different in artificial light to daylight. I used it in a bedroom which has a large window in it but still needs the help of a halogen light on greyer days, and it was a disaster - came out like a murky green grey colour. ended up mixing it 50/50 with brilliant white emulsion and got the colour I wanted - the white brought the blue out and made it less swamp & more duck egg. so be sute to test first as in my mum's light and bright kitchen the non-modified paint looks like the sample colour but in my bedroom it looked awful!

whats4teamum Sun 14-Dec-14 10:24:12

It's fairly obvious that colours will look different in daylight and artificial light. You might want to read up on metamarism so you can comment in an informed manner.

You are also completely incorrect that Johnstones use exactly the same pigments as Farrow & Ball. Their colours are unique, using combinations of up to 13 pigments and stainers and do not match ral numbers or any custom mix systems.

nicktheartist Mon 15-Dec-14 17:49:17

writing as an artist involved with interior design I meet lots of people choosing paints. I hear the 'Johnstones will mix F&B colours' regularly- don't even think about it as it's ludicrous. Many of the salient points have already been covered- of COURSE decorators don't like it; F&B contains so much expensive pigment it's always harder to apply. Most F&B colours contain BLACK- this is why interior designers choose it; when a colour is deadened in this way, it shows everything else off better- if you don't believe me, just pick any Dulux retail colour and put a subtle patterned £100-a-metre silk fabric in front of it and watch it look like you bought it from Wilkos in a sale. And for all those who think 'oh, I'll just paint everything white' - be aware that pure white paint is perceived as a cool colour by our brains, NOT a neutral colour- just show someone a spectrum wheel and ask them where cool and warm meet.... isn't it funny how most professions will go on telly and reveal tricks of the trade, but interior designers NEVER do?

lilttlemarvel Mon 15-Dec-14 18:38:10

Well my decorators say the same thing - johnstones trade colour matched is better.
I still use F&B and little green though. I've never had an issue.

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