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Q&A: Chalk Paint

Chalk paint has become more popular in the UK over the last couple of years.

It’s trendy, gives a chic look and many people cite its sustainability as the factor in purchasing it. So whether you’re looking to paint your front door an interesting colour or if you have some old furniture that can be saved with a lick of paint – chalk paint might just be your best bet.

But what is it? Is it actually any good? Which brands supply chalk paint? With chalk paint being a relatively new renovation supply, there’s not a lot of information out there. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to answer those questions as well as some questions that have been specifically sent to us from our readers.

So if you’re looking to learn a bit more about chalk paint, keep on reading.

What is chalk paint?

Chalk paint, like its name suggests, is an ultra matt paint that dries to a finish not too dissimilar to a chalkboard. It’s modern, chic and can give interiors (or exteriors) a vintage look. You can also use chalk paint to create a distressed look by combining two contrasting colours which results in a rustic look.

What can you use chalk paint on?

Chalk paint can be used on most things including:

Which brands supply chalk paint?

Whilst chalk paint was the brainchild of some innovative new brands, the explosion in its popularity has meant that more and more of the mainstream brands have now started offering their own versions. Some of these brands include:

  • Frenchic
  • Dulux
  • Johnstone’s
  • Rust Oleum
  • Ronseal
  • Annie Sloan
  • GraceMary

What’s Johnstone’s magnetic chalkboard paint like?

I’ve never used it personally but a friend in the trade tells me that it actually works well and has lasted 3 years so far.

Is Frenchic’s Lazy Range any good?

I recently used the Lazy Range paint for a client on bare softwood and MDF. I did prime the MDF first to ensure it didn’t fluff up and for peace of mind. With the softwood I just put 3 coats on. The client was very confident in the product and I explained this wasn’t the normal way I would do things. But the finish was good.

What’s Frenchic’s Al Fresco range like?

Its not too bad. I’ve painted some kitchen cupboards with it and this was my process:

  • First, prep the surface using sugar soap and then lightly sand
  • Use very thin coats. This means you may need 3 or 4 coats which is pretty time consuming but is the best way to do it

A tip I used was to dip the brush in water then into the paint – it makes it that slight bit easier to apply. It cures in 2 weeks to a durable finish in my experience.

Is chalk paint actually any good?

It’s alright and it’s fairly robust but it’s definitely expensive for what it is. It’s just a simple single paint system for DIY-ers. There’s nothing wrong with it, but nothing great about it if that makes sense? To judge whether a paint is good or not, I like to see whether all the trade suppliers have picked it up.

As of yet, you don’t really get chalk paint from trade suppliers. So until then, I’d label it as a budget DIY paint. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look great though there’s just not enough data to say whether it passes the other tests consistently enough too.

Will white chalk paint work in a house with smokers?

A common issue with homes where smokers are present is the nicotine stains that ruin walls and ceilings. White chalk paint can work in a house with smokers and this is how:

  • Use something like Johnstones’ Stain Away stain block
  • Use two or 3 coats of white chalk paint as the topcoat

In my experience, Johnstone’s Stain Away works wonders on nicotine stains (less so on water stains however) so you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Are Lick a good chalk paint brand?

They have some really nice colours and I’ve heard the coverage is decent. But they are expensive and decanting from the tin can get a little bit messy. You can order self-adhesive colour samples if you wanted to try them out and their delivery service is about as good as it gets to be fair.

Have you ever put Frenchic paint on kitchen cupboards? A customer has bought some and the website seems to say with correct prep it can go straight on melamine? Also, is it durable?

It’s great for furniture and for using techniques but I wouldn’t use it in a kitchen that will take a lot of knocks. I’d go down the route of proper prep etc otherwise your rep could be affected. Remember, people can be funny when it comes to their homes. One thing you could potentially do to increase the durability though is to seal the paint with a good lacquer – assuming your client doesn’t mind!

How do I go about painting a stone fireplace surround in chalk?

I think you would be better to use a chalk paint like Frenchic Alfresco which is hard wearing and doesn’t need priming. Wash thoroughly with sugar soap first then just lightly sand.

Wipe over with a damp cloth. Then apply at least two thin coats but you might have to do another one. When the paint is thoroughly dry, apply two coats of Frensheen which will seal it. Be careful with it for two weeks to let the paint cure and then it should be good to go.