There are so many brands and finishes of paints these days that deciding on the correct product to use when redecorating your rental property is not as straight forward as you may think.
The industry and technology has evolved greatly over recent years. This now means that the choice of which paint colour to use on your walls and ceilings is not the only decision that you need to make.
There are different finishes of paints for different situations, each of which can have hugely differing levels of durability and price.
At Lets Decorate we specialise in the redecoration of rental properties in Oxford (thus the Lets part of our name) and we always recommend the best value products to our landlords rather than simply the cheapest available. A contractor merely trying to provide the cheapest quote will use the cheapest materials and leave a finish that wont withstand the wear and tear of different tenancies or allow for cleaning or touching up.
We have seen numerous times where the wrong type of paint is used and one year after a full redecoration is completed it looks no different than it did before. With the correct paints used in the correct rooms we strive to leave a lasting and durable finish that will remain year after year.
So below we have detailed the different types of emulsion paint available and where they should and shouldn’t be used in redecorating a rental property:
1) Contract Matt.
A breathable emulsion that is designed as a base coat on new plaster. It is formulated to allow the moisture in new plaster to escape and is the type of paint that a plasterer or damp specialist would recommend after replastering. Contract Matt is generally the cheapest type of paint available and is the one that a contractor/handyman purely trying to provide the cheapest quote will use (probably without stating the fact in their estimate). Due to the porous nature of the paint it does not offer any durability at all – in fact it will soak in any stains. This means it can’t be cleaned down if your walls get dirty, and touch ups are obvious. Unless you have new plaster never use this in your rental property unless you want to redecorate again and again!
2) Vinyl Matt
Ideal for painting over existing coatings. Generally this is the mid range finish of paint in terms of cost so tends to not be too expensive. The initial perception of many of our customers is that because vinyl matt contains the word vinyl that it might be shiny, this is not the case as it leaves a flat matt finish. The vinyl element simply offers a wipe-able finish and with good quality brands is easy to touch up. It is ideal for situations where occasionally you want to clean the walls down and is the type of paint we use for most rooms within a rental property.
3) Diamond Matt / Diamond Eggshell
Different manufacturers use different names (Diamond is used by Dulux) for this, their most durable types of emulsion. Essentially they all mean that the product is very hard wearing and suitable for very humid or high traffic areas where regular cleaning is required. We recommend this type of paint to landlords for bathrooms and many kitchens. It will withstand moisture, mould and grease stains from penetrating or damaging the paint and can be quite aggressively cleaned time and time again. It is however considerably more expensive than Vinyl Matt (nearly three times the price) – again a reason why a contractor providing only the cheapest price rather than the best advise will avoid such paint. However you should keep in mind this may only be £30 extra for a bathroom – far less than the cost of cleaning off all the mould and repainting as will be required within months if inferior products are used instead.
Summary of what type of paint to use on your rental property?
Our overriding advise is never to use Contract Matt to redecorate your rental property (unless it is to cover brand new plaster). It does not make economical sense to save a small percentage of the total cost to use inferior products that are not suitable.
If your painting and decorating contractor, or handyman in the vast majority of cases, recommends Contract Matt (or does not mention what brand and finish of paint they propose in their estimate) we would strongly suggest you look elsewhere. Rather than giving you the best advise they are working to get the cheapest quote for their own gain.
In contracts a reputable, honest and trustworthy painting and decorating contractor in Oxford will give advise that provides you, as a cost conscious landlord, the best value advise rather than the cheapest.
In conclusion we would recommend the following:
For walls and ceilings in all main rooms of the house (living room, dining room, bedrooms etc) we would advise the use of Vinyl Matt.
In most hallways, stairs and landings we would again tend to use Vinyl Matt unless it is a shared/student property where the additional cost of Diamond Matt may be more prudent.
And for bathrooms and most smaller kitchens we would recommend the harder wearing properties of Diamond Eggshell or Diamond Matt.
We hope you find this article useful when planning your rental property painting project in Oxford. If we can provide further assistance or advise then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Also, here are some more resources to help you select a reputable painting and decorating contractor: