We specialise in decorating office interior walls and woodwork within the Central London area. As part of the office refurbishment process we provide a team of decorators to paint or paper our newly built partition walls and also the existing internal walls and woodwork should it be required. But we are very good at the far more challenging task of painting our customers’ offices whilst they are fully occupied and we provide a bespoke service for this type of work. This normally takes place at weekends or other out-of-hours times and requires a considerable amount of planning, care and attention to detail in order to ensure that we cause minimal disruption to your work with absolutely no damage or mess. Our main activities include:
We‘ve invested in Graco professional high volume airless paint spraying equipment and operatives who are properly trained and experienced in its use.
For most office decorating projects we still use the traditional hand held rollers and brush method, but there are occasions when spraying comes into its own, and when it does, it can be much, much quicker and produce a higher quality of finish. This is typically when there are large expanses of empty ceilings or walls to decorate and when the office is relatively (or completely) empty of fixtures, fittings and furniture. If you have an office space that requires decoration and the timeframe is restricted, then spraying might be a solution. Why not give us a call to discuss and see whether this could be the right way forward?
Paints and Materials
Unless you ask us specifically to use a particular product or brand we will always use quality trade paint ranges for our regular office projects, mainly Dulux and occasionally Johnstone’s. These trade paint ranges are typically at the top-end of the price scale but the quality, consistency and wide availability of these products are imperative in enabling us to complete our work on time and to a high standard. Even though these paints can be 2 or 3 times the price of a lesser quality brand or DIY paint, the impact on the overall cost of our project is relatively minor because the labour and other factors constitute a large percentage of the value. And, more often than not, the extra cost of a 1o litre tub of Dulux trade is more than compensated for by actually reducing the amount of labour time because the coverage is greater and fewer coats are required.
How the walls (and particularly woodwork) look a year down the line is also an important factor. As long as it’s been applied well, the untrained eye probably wouldn’t notice the difference between a quality paint and a cheap one, but as time goes by the quality paint should retain its appearance better (and far better in many cases). This is particularly true for white wood paint which has a tendency to go yellow (sometimes very quickly) where the quality is lacking.
Another factor is manufacturer support. No one is immune to the occasional production problem or quality control issue, however rare it might be, and when we spend a little more on our materials from a leading manufacturer we can rely on them to support us and investigate (and put right if necessary) and issues that turn out to be due to manufacturing faults.
Our Favourite Paint
Our favourite paint currently is Dulux Trade Diamond. Yes, it costs twice as much as the standard Dulux Trade equivalent, but it is worth every penny. Office walls, regardless of whether they’re in high traffic areas such as corridors or stairwells, or in more protected areas, still tend to get a bit of a bashing – marks and scuffs from dirty hands, shoes, courier’s parcels, bags, coffee splashes, vacuum cleaners (and the list goes on). With a regular matt paint, that’s it – once it’s marked there’s nothing that can be done about it and a re-paint is needed. Dulux Diamond on the other hand, is much more durable (therefore less likely to damage under impact) and is also wipeable (you can wipe it down with a damp cloth without the paint coming off). And it really does work because we’ve tried it! The emulsion is a matt finish and although it does have an ever-so-slight sheen to it, under normal lighting conditions it looks as matt as any other matt. In addition to the emulsion, there are also wood paints in eggshell and satinwood.
The Environmental Impact of Paint
The impact on the environment derived from the manufacture of paint and applying it to our home and office walls is an issue that we all need to take very seriously, and indeed, most major manufacturers have made great strides in recent years to deal with this very issue.
Traditionally interior decorating paints, in particular wood paints (gloss etc) but also emulsions , had a fair amount of VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content, which is apparently neither good for the environment nor our health. Over the last few years the big manufacturers have dealt with this by developing new standard product formulations across their ranges to significantly cut VOC levels, to the point where there are now generally extremely low levels in emulsions (emulsion is the regular paint we use for decorating walls). Put simply, the standard emulsion paints we buy today are formulated and manufactured completely differently to those of just a few years ago, and that’s a very good thing. But the oil or solvent based paints we use for painting wood and metal remain a big problem – they continue to be an environmental & health problem. As such, huge amounts of research has gone into developing water based (acrylic) paints as a substitute for oil, and now some manufacturers have switched entirely (you can’t buy oil based products from them any more) and others are pushing/encouraging use of it very heavily.
So, when painting your office doors, skirting boards and window sills, we can now do them in Eggshell, Satin or Gloss acrylic paints. The advantage is that it dries much, much quicker – each coat of water based paint will be dry enough to receive the next coat within 2-4 hours, compared with 24 hours or more with solvent based paint. That means we can get the whole job done far more quickly & you can get back to work sooner. Secondly, although there is a bit of a smell, it’s extremely mild compared to the smell that’s emitted by oil paints, and it dissipates far more quickly too, so hopefully fewer incidences of people with allergies reacting to the paint and not being able to return to their desks for a few days . And of course, it’s much better for the environment. The only downside is that many decorators feel that, contrary to the manufacturers’ views, they can’t get the same level of finish with acrylic paint as they do with oil, and to a degree I agree with them. But much is down to learning a different application/painting technique and ultimately it boils down to a slightly different finished appearance which, in time, I’m sure we will all accept as the norm.
Finally, a note about Eco paints. Despite our preference (as commented above) towards the standard Dulux Trade & Diamond paints, we can still do even better from an environmental point of view. Dulux and others also have ranges of paint which reduce the carbon impact even further. The Dulux range is called Ecosure, and we’ve used it many times when our customers have opted for the most environmentally friendly paint option we can provide. Dulux describe Ecosure as follows: “Specifically formulated to have a demonstrably lower environmental impact than standard Dulux Trade products, whilst maintaining the highest possible standard of quality and performance. Ecosure has up to 25% less embodied carbon than the April 2014 formulation of Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt”.
There are, of course, some drawbacks to this paint:
The impact of the last point above is that we have to order/purchase more than we think we might need (we can never be absolutely sure how much paint is going to be requried on each job) because if we suddenly find we are running low, and time is of the essence (as it often is) to complete the work, we might not be able to just pop out to the nearest paint supplier and take away what we need on-the-spot. So, the paint costs more and on top of that we have to buy more than we might need meaning the cost to you will be greater. And, we might end up with tubs of paint that we can’t use elsewhere and disposing off them – somewhat contradictory to the essence of the low impact on the environment we are trying to achieve!
And finally, consider this. If you want to keep your office looking tip-top all the time, and this means having it re-decorated every 12-24 months because the regular/eco paint is scuffed and grubby, but that had it been done in Diamond it might have lasted two or more times longer between decorations, then the environmental advantage of the eco paint is lost purely on the grounds that much more of it is being used. Nice for us decorators getting more work, but perhaps not so good for your finances and not so good either for the environment!
A lot said about Dulux, but we do use other paint brands. Farrow & Ball & Little Green to name a couple, which are more ’boutique’ and interior designers & specifiers often like these because of their unique colour ranges, textures and appearances. We’re very happy to work with these ranges and we’d be pleased to work to the recommendations of your designer. Alternatively, we can help you decide what is going to work best in your office. It’s probably unlikely we would recommend decorating an entire corporate office in Farrow & Ball purely on the basis of cost (& perhaps also durability), but it can perhaps work nicely in some of the less busy and/or more luxuriously furnished areas of your offices – such as boardrooms, client areas, reception & breakout areas.