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Trade Paint or Retail Paint


What is trade paint?

Trade paint is a higher-quality paint made for professional painters and decorators. Trade paints have many benefits over DIY paints as professionals require a better quality, durable and exacting standard of paint for their customers.

It’s a common misconception that you must be a professional  to buy trade paints when in fact, trade paint is available to all. Our store and customer service teams love helping DIY customers as much as they enjoy helping professionals.

What is retail paint?

Retail paint is commercial paint designed with DIY customers in mind and is sold at high street, commercial outlets and DIY stores. Retail paint is of a lower quality than trade paint and on the surface, often appears to be the cheaper option.

Why should I buy trade paint?

Trade paint has many benefits over retail paint.


Trade paint always provides better coverage than retail paint and even after thinning, trade paint will still cover more surface area than retail paint will. For example, where a Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt covers 17m per litre, the retail equivalent Dulux Vinyl Matt only covers 13m per litre.

Higher Opacity

Trade paint offers higher opacity with richer colour pigmentation than retail paint. This means a superior ability to hide the surface that you are painting; be that the colour you are painting over or the surface you are painting itself which means fewer coats are needed.


Trade paint is more durable than retail paint thanks to its higher quality formula designed not to yellow or fade over time and to withstand higher levels of wear and tear. This means it lasts longer and it can be wiped clean without compromising the finish. If you wipe a retail paint clean, you will remove the paint very easily whereas with a trade paint, you can gently wipe stains or marks off without damaging the finish or colour. Some trade paints even offer a specific durable range that can be scrubbed repeatedly without damage.

Easier to Apply

Trade paint is easier to apply than retail paint thanks to its advanced formula that ensures optimum performance and finish. Professional decorators need their paint to perform to a consistently high standard which is why they use trade paint. Retail paints will often drag when applying which results in a poor finish. They also can’t be thinned as much as trade paint can, meaning they don’t go as far.

Better Value

Trade paint is high quality, uses less coats, and has a more durable, longer-lasting finish – meaning it’s better value in the long term.

Colour Mixing

If you buy trade paint you can have almost any colour you like mixed to order. You can match a colour from fabric, wallpaper, pretty much anything and have your chosen colour mixed to order. At The Paint Shed we pride ourselves on our colour mixing service, you can read more about how easy it is here.

What are the benefits to retail paints?


The main benefit to buying a retail paint is cost. A retail paint may be cheaper than a trade paint but it is worth bearing in mind that you will need more coats of a retail paint to achieve good coverage, the durability will be low, and the finish of the project won’t be as high quality as it would be with a trade paint.


Will the colour be the same if I buy a trade paint vs a retail paint?

The richest colour will always come from trade paint thanks to its superior formula that is rich in pigmentation and designed not to fade, even after wiping clean.

If you have a colour from a retail paint that you like, we can match this instore and online to any trade paint of your choice.

Why is trade paint more expensive?

While it may seem like trade paint is more expensive than retail paint, it is the cheaper option as trade paints provide better coverage and require far fewer coats. Trade paints are also more durable meaning less frequent touch ups and refreshes are required.