Q&A: Eggshell Paint

Thinking about buying an eggshell paint? Or perhaps you’ve had a problem with yours and are looking for a solution.

Either way, we’ve decided to take some commonly asked questions about eggshell paint along with submissions from our readers to put together a handy guide on everything there is to know about eggshell paint.

As always, if you have your own question, feel free to get in touch and we’ll add it to this page! With that being said, let’s jump right in.

Have you used/do you like the Crown Aquaflow water-based eggshell?

If you mean the Fastflow one, then yes, I’ve used it. I like it – it’s my “go to” water based eggshell if the budget won’t stretch to Scuff-X. As with all water based paints, work quickly, don’t go back over it, and watch out for the ninja runs! But overall, I do like it.

I used an oil-based eggshell paint on a fireplace and it looks really shiny. Why is this?

I haven’t used oil-based eggshell in a number of years but I remember it always took a week or so for the sheen to go down so you don’t have anything to worry about. My advice: just wait it out.

I am being asked by a client to hand paint a large amount of kitchen cupboards that are all ready in Farrow and Ball eggshell. It’s to be the same colour. Do I go straight on with eggshell or undercoat first?

Always undercoat – particularly kitchen cupboards. Even though the eggshell will key quite well, do it just to cover yourself. If the paint fails or chips easily then you’ll have no recourse and neither will the client. Don’t be a chancer because at the end of the day it’s your reputation as a painter on the line!

My eggshell finish has turned out patchy. I used a water-based undercoat and oil-based top coat. Is that why?

I’m assuming you’ve only used two coats, one of which is the oil-based eggshell? If so, oil-based eggshell will almost always turn out better if you use two coats of it. Do this and let it fully dry for a couple of days and you should get a better finish.

What’s your experience with Little Greene’s Tom’s Eggshell?

Top quality paint in my opinion. The National Trust logo on the lid isn’t just for show, it’s designed for lasting protection.

What’s the best eggshell paint for opacity?

Scuff-X is pretty clear but it’s only really recommended for people in the trade. If you’re looking for something for home use, try something like Johnstone’s Acrylic Eggshell.

Should I use Dulux Diamond Eggshell on badly plastered walls?

Eggshell on badly plastered walls really isn’t going to look good. My advice would be to go for the Diamond Matt option instead. It’ll be way better when it comes to hiding imperfections.

Would you recommend using Dulux’s Eggshell to paint on primed kitchen units?

I’ve heard too many stories from painters who have used eggshell on kitchen units and been disappointed by the fact that it’s just not hardwearing enough to deal with everyday wear and tear. Some people from Dulux have even said it’s not really for woodwork. The best thing you could do is choose a satinwood finish instead. It’s more suited for kitchen cabinets.

My client has supplied Dulux Trade WB Diamond Eggshell for all the woodwork throughout. Current covering appears to be a water based satin. What’s the durability and adhesion of this product in this situation?

AkzoNobel announced a few months ago that Diamond Eggshell is not suitable for woodwork anymore after they did a review. Your best bet is to swap for Dulux Diamond Satinwood as that’ll do a much better job.

Have you ever had issues with the fumes from oil-based eggshells?

When I use a roller on oil-based eggshell the fumes are ridiculous and make my eyes stream. Satin and gloss are ok but eggshell…not so much.

I’m painting over an oil-based eggshell with water based. Should I just sand down the surface then apply two coats?

If you’re going over old oil-based paint you could do with an adhesion primer first. Other than that you’re good to go.

Can you use eggshell on walls?

I personally wouldn’t. I remember a job I did a few years ago where the customer had supplied me with eggshell and it was just a bit of a nightmare. 4 coats later and I still wasn’t impressed with the finish. Matt emulsion is the way forward!

Customer has bought Farrow and Ball eggshell finish for her front door (water based). What’s the best undercoat for it?

Farrow & Ball do the correct primer/undercoat for each top coat. Check the colour on the F/B colour card – it will say “wt” (warm tones undercoat). Their eggshell has a habit of not drying when you put it over others so best to stick with their own undercoat.

Are the Scuff-X satin and eggshell as durable as each other?

The eggshell doesn’t feel as durable as the satin in my opinion.

What’s your opinion on the Scuff-X eggshell?

Despite being water-based it flows like an oil-based paint, has great coverage and provides a fantastic finish too. It is very expensive so not sure I’d use it for DIY purposes but the eggshell paint goes a long way and goes on quickly too.

I got allergy symptoms from using acrylic eggshell on MDF. Is this a common issue people have?

MDF dust is probably the cause. You need to wear a mask always when working with MDF, especially when you’re sanding it down.

I am using Crown eggshell oil based, tinted to a colour and after 3 days it’s still shining like gloss. It was well stirred too. How long will it take for the gloss to drop off?

I used Crown Trade eggshell mixed a month or so ago and found it to be very glossy. The customer wasn’t happy, nor was I so we changed it to paint and paper which was fine. Crown say it’s meant to dull down after a few days but can take up to three months. I’d let it sit for a couple of weeks before making any decisions.

I’m thinking of spraying my uPVC windows in a satin/eggshell finish. Any product recommendations?

Monster Paints do a cellulose based external paint for uPVC which can be brushed or sprayed. Might be worth trying that.

What are your thoughts on Dulux’s eggshell?

I think it’s great. It’s easy to use, no picture framing, has a homogenised finish and never had a problem with it. Yes, it’s a little pricey but you get what you pay for.

Got a wooden ceiling to do soon. It’s been painted with emulsion emulsion but hasn’t been knotted and I can see the knots coming through. Customer wants it finished in white eggshell. What’s my best process?

Your best bet is to sand back to the bare knots first and use a knotting solution. Use a good eggshell primer before continuing as usual.

Got an MDF fireplace to paint. What do you think? Sand down, 2 coats of BIN then eggshell?

I’d go with Coverstain over BIN as it’s got a bit more body to it and not as brittle. You might find that you don’t need to apply as many coats if you use Coverstain.

What are the Axus Onyx brushes like for eggshell?

They hold a decent amount of paint and cuts in nicely too. They don’t leave brush marks and the bristles have a good amount of stiffness. I normally use Purdy but I would say this is a good alternative especially if you’re on a budget. I can’t vouch for the longevity of them as I haven’t used them for an extended period of time.

Been to look at a job where a customer had painted acrylic emulsion straight over an eggshell finish on the walls without priming. There’s cracking everywhere. What’s the best fix?

I’d line it with 1000 grade lining paper. If that doesn’t do the job you might just be better off skim coating the whole room.

Crown’s Fast Flow or Acrylic Eggshell for ceilings?

Fast Flow is a hybrid paint designed for woodwork. Acrylic eggshell is designed to go on walls and ceilings too so I’d go with the latter. It will be a lot cheaper as well!

What’s the best roller for applying eggshell on wardrobe doors?

Two Fussy Blokes is what I would use.

Opinion on Andura Eggshell?

I have used the eggshell and it was really nice to use and dries fast. For the price you really can’t go wrong on the stuff.

My internal doors are metal and I want to use Diamond Eggshell on them. Do I need to use a primer?

I’d go with the Dulux Professional Undercoat which is for metal and wood surfaces.

Have you used Neptune eggshell on woodwork? What are your thoughts about it?

I’m not personally keen on it. I find that with most Neptune paints you need at least 3 coats to get a good finish although maybe my eyes are just too sharp!

I’m painting my kitchen units next week with Farrow & Ball Modern eggshell. Can you add Floetrol to it and is it beneficial?

Farrow and Ball paints get a lot of stick from decorators but their eggshell is excellent. I’ve used it a lot for various cabinet makers and always add Floetrol, which gives an excellent smooth finish. I’ve used it a good few times and have never had a problem.