Trade Paint Vs Retail DIY Paint

Trade Paint Vs Retail Paint

When undertaking a DIY painting project and you visit certain stores you may be confronted with a choice of paint coatings. If you have been to the paint aisle and seen trade or perhaps contract on the packaging it doesn’t necessarily mean you are buying a better product. What are the differences between Trade Paint and Paint that can be bought at a DIY store?

If you employ a painter decorator to carry out work within your home you may notice the products they use are different from the paints that you can pick up at local DIY stores. The paint that decorators use is normally purchased from trade outlets.

Paint Marketing Ploy

Some manufacturers have cottoned onto the fact that the general public may purchase paints with trade on the tine as they feel they may be purchasing a superior product. They may label their paints with contract, trade and other terms designed for you to influence purchase choice.

If purchasing “trade paints” speak to the trade centres who will be able to advise you on your purchasing options.

Decorators Choice of Paint

When decorator prices up work to carry out, they will choose the best paint they think will do the best job and last. They will ordinarily use trade paint from trade stores.

Why do decorators use trade paint?

Decorators use trade paints as they trained in their use and they also a livelihood and reputation to maintain.

The formula of the paint is different from retail paint and maybe thicker to apply and capable of being thinned down.

The trade paint may also require only one or two coats of application compared to two or three when retail paint is applied. This is due to the level of pigment added to the paint.

painter decorator holding trade paint

Remember trained decorators are skilled professionals. They come across all decorating scenarios regularly and will be able to advise on the best solutions for getting the job carried out quickly and without the mess.

The paints used by decorators are generally purchased at trade-only suppliers such as decorating centres or from the paint trade counters directly. Decorators negotiate their prices with these suppliers based on volume and business relationship.

A decorator will get better discounts than if you just walk in off the street to purchase.

Due to the quantity of paint that decorators get through the may also get their hands of larger tins of paint compared to retail. This is slowly starting to change though due to manual handling laws and decorators are encouraged to use smaller tins in transporting them.

Example of Trade Paint Brands

This list isn’t comprehensive but just shows some of the common trade brands available:

Specialist Trade Paints

With trade paints, there are options of specialist paints available that may not be available to purchase at retail stores.

Both interior and exterior paint options such as coatings designed for use on metal, UPVc, wood, floors and fire-resistant paints to name a few.


Trade paints do differ from retail paints in terms of quality, pricing point and availability. For general DIY projects retail formulations are perfect for what they do but may require more coats compared to their trade counterpart.

Professional decorators have used trade paints for years and these are tried and tested so don’t be surprised if they quickly turn you down if you offer to supply paint for a job.