Oil based or water based satin wood? Totally confused.

Discussion in 'Painters' Talk' started by Plec, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. Plec

    Plec Member

    I'm getting a recommended decorator in for the first time - done everything myself in the past. I've always used an oil based satin wood as it's easier to use, spreads better and I've presumed wears better than its water based counterpart - even though it's prone to yellow over time.

    (I should mention that we've had all new pre-primed skirting down stairs -but all the doors and architrave are all still coated with old oil based paint.)

    I've tried a water based satin wood in my son's room last year - and I hated the experience. However, I only sugar soaped the existing oil based paint rather than wet/dry sanded and the decorator said this is why it probably didn't apply very well - plus I over brushed.

    That said, even though it's harder to find oil based paint, the decorator still uses oil based paint 99% of the time - not sure whether this is habit/old school or he thinks it's a superior product.

    I've sourced some Duluxe trade satin wood from a pro paint store (none in DIY shops) - but i'm concerned that the oil based paints will get phased out (e.g. Farrow and ball) making my decision, if I choose oil based now, obsolete in the future.

    Which based paints are you professionals predominantly - what would you recommend?

    Is the durability and finish of modern water based much better now - or is oil based still best if you can tolerate drying times/smell/time etc...

    I love the appeal of water based - cleaning, drying time and easy to touch up - but my one experience has made me doubt it (although my preparation was probably to blame) plus a brief search on the internet hasn't helped at all...

    Any advice much appreciated.

  2. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Johnstones Aqua satin, a water based paint, find it superb, done all woodwork & doors here with it, but you need to use a synthetic brush,been using Hamilton prestidge synthetic brushes for woodwork, & Hamilton Prestige 4" Felt Short Pile rollers for the doors, good enough finish not to need laying off with a brush, very pleased with both.

    There is also Hamilton perfection synthetic brushes, but have never used them yet.




    Plec likes this.
  3. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Well-Known Member

    Been loads of info on this very subject recently on this site - take a search

    Pros and cons as you mention, water based will stay white way longer for sure, that’s an easy decision

    Way harder to apply though and get an ‘oil based’ finish

    Obviously ‘pros’ will have a different view on this but they are also painting every day so, should be good at getting a perfect finish

    Diy’ers like me and you, don’t have the luxury of painting / practicing every day so have to learn techniques as we go along

    Most or maybe all of the paint manufacturers have been tinkering with their water based formulations over the years to improve all aspects of performance

    This water based stuff just don’t behave like oil based and you have to re learn painting techniques if you’ve grown up using oil based (like we all have)

    Briefly would say that prep is important as ever and will determine the quality of finish (along with other factors)

    Good quality synthetic brush - but spending £25 on a Purdy won’t instantly turn you into a pro

    Use a 4” foam/mohair roller to get the paint on where possible - largish flat areas, wide skirting, doors, flat panels, etc, then quickly ‘lay off’ with suitable size brush

    I’ve given the surface to be painted a light wipe down with a clean cloth and clean water, just damp, immediately prior to hitting with the roller - gives the paint slightly longer open time and helps it to spread a little easier

    Another thing is get the paint on quick and no faffing - so roller, lay off, nice long strokes, leave alone..... that’s it

    You can’t keep going back over with the brush like you do with oil and watch the brush marks dissapear - won’t happen with water based - it gets worse and you will cry. Then it’s really weird to sand down - wet and dry paper is best - used wet - just weird

    Certainly takes a lot of getting used to. Oppaciaty isn’t brilliant with some so good prep, Prime new timber, Undercoat maybe twice will help to give a good base

    Even though satinhwood says ‘self undercoating’ it’s massivly improved by undercoating and the whiteness is just deeper (if that makes sense)

    As always, buy quality materials and equipment. Look at the Johnsons Aqua Range and also Crown Fastflow. Both often recommended on this site

    Funnily enough, Dulux isn’t recommended with their water based - not on this site anyway

    I’ve used the Dulux satin and didn’t like it so have gone for the Johnsons which I prefer - not used the crown

    Others will contribute on this thread for sure - good luck
    Plec likes this.
  4. DIYDave.

    DIYDave. Well-Known Member

    Also a thank you to Kiab for his recommendation of The Paint Shed

    Used them twice now and saves loads of money, even though I had to pay delivery as couldn’t make a £70 order (I think) for free p&p

    The aqua satin was £9 cheaper for 2 1/2 lt tin than anywhere local I could find - amazing value

    Thanks again Kiab :)
  5. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    I have Purdy's, but had misplaced place a couple, so bought the Hamilton brushes,as my stockist was out of stock of Purdy 1.5", they are as good as the Purdy's but a lot cheaper.

    The Johnstone Aqua satin is way better than the Crown Fastflow satin.
  6. Plec

    Plec Member

    Thanks @KIAB - that's really useful info.

    Were you painting over oil based paint too - with the finish you achieved?

    And if so how did you prep the existing woodwork?

    How hardy/durable have you found it to be in comparison?

    And lastly do you use it predominantly now when painting for others?


    Thanks for the comprehensive reply @DIYDave. really appreciated.

    Your tips will come in very handy when I next DIY - and I certainly wish I had such detailed advice before I did my son's room.

    (Please see above questions to KIAB - I would be interested in your responses too if you have the time.)

    I think it's definitely Johnstone Aqua if I go the water based route and you guys have certainly made me pause for thought. I half expected to be steered towards oil - but to have a pro decorator and a very abled DIYer advise me otherwise has given me a tough decision.

    Thanks guys.
  7. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    I stripped the doors, as there was several layers of gloss upon gloss & it was lifting in places, doors were primed with acrylic primer, then two Johnstone Aqua undercoats, followed with two top coats Aqua Satin, rubbing down between coats as needed, door frames & skirting was previously oil based gloss,it was rubbed down & given two coats of Johnstone Aqua undercoat, then two coats of Aqua satin.

    Finding the Aqua satin very durable so far,as a slight sheen,& no smell when using, also nice & white, need to allow each coat to throughly dry.

    And thank goodness I don't paint for others.:D

    Need to ask Astramax, he used the Aqua satin a lot.
  8. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    Forget the Hamilton brushes, more hair loss than Yul Bryner and Kojak, do yourself a favour and use Purdy brushes.
  9. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Normally Purdy brushes are my weapon of choice, but local stockist was out of the size I needed, so I bought the Hamilton, can't fault them, not single hair has been lost from them.
  10. Astramax

    Astramax Well-Known Member

    I bought a 5 pack of the Hamilton Prestige Synthetic brushes, I forgot after years of using Purdy brushes that bristle loss still exists, should rename them Hamilton 'Alopecia'.
    KIAB likes this.
  11. Boolay

    Boolay Member

    Johnstones aqua is the best i've found. Make sure you wash your brushes out frequently as they do tend to clog up.
    Much better open time than some of their competitors too.
    KIAB likes this.
  12. Plec

    Plec Member

    Thanks for the feedback guys much appreciated.

    @KIAB - you've been a fantastic help as usual.
  13. Plec

    Plec Member

    Bought 5 ltr of Johnstones aqau satin. The guy at the store painted a sample for me - it looks shiny for a satin paint but he advised me that it will lose this shine over time and become more of a traditional satin finish.

    Thanks again for everyone's help and input - this really is an invaluable site with professionals giving up their expertise - really appreciated.

    As mentioned if anyone needs computer advice just ask - would be happy to return the favour...
  14. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    The satin finish does tone down, been a month here & it's now a nice soft satin finish.
    Plec likes this.
  15. Plec

    Plec Member

    You're a star @KIAB - thanks for confirmation. A great comfort getting an independent second opinion.

    If you ever move to Devon area let me know i would hire you in a heartbeat - builder/joiner?.
  16. Plec

    Plec Member

    The decorator is going to wet'n'dry the areas that still have oil based paint on them (doorways) to take the sheen off the paint and the apply the Johnstones aqua satin wood straight on top. He's going to apply 2 coats to ensure good coverage.

    This has given me pause for thought given all the advice i read above - is this prep enough or should i ask for an undercoat to be applied on the pre-existing oil paint? (although time is a factor- he only has 2 days left). I don't want to tread on his professional toes and he's extremely careful.

    He's going to apply the paint directly to the pre-primed MDF skirting boards too without undercoat - this seems unusual too but from reading the can it says the paint has built in undercoat.

    I'm used to seeing 1 x undercoat and 2 x top - am i being too fussy?
  17. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    See Data sheet here: https://www.johnstonestrade.com/product/aqua-water-based-satin

    They say to applied over a undercoat for best results.

    Oil based painted door frames & skirting here had water based undercoat before Aqua top coat used.
  18. Wayners

    Wayners Well-Known Member

    I always use a Adhesion primer when putting wb over oil. I always wash with krud cutter. Or meths. Or sugar soap before applying to. Many different wb Adhesion primers about but go back to paint supplier and buy theres.. Example..bullseye 123 primer..Johnstone's do there own... Just a note.. Dulux make terrible trim paints.. Especially satin.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  19. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Agree Dulux satin is so terrible.
  20. Plec

    Plec Member

    Thanks guys.

    Thanks i read the same data sheet and saw no mention of self undercoating - and my decorator rang and conformed this (he's a good guy)

    So you took the sheen off the old oil based paint and applied only undercoat to give it adhesion?

    The guy at the paint store started off saying that i needed a primer and then said undercoat would suffice - confusing...
    JP. likes this.

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