the review room
Little Greene Paint Company: Intelligent Matt Emulsion and Intelligent Eggshell Paint
I thought it was time to put a large paint company's products in the spotlight and so for my April review I have chosen Little Greene, a UK-based family run company. Ruth Mottershead's father resurrected the company and today, along with brother Ben, they have introduced a fusion of traditional and modern paint production techniques and a wide product range. They also keep a keen eye on their products and processes environmental impact and next year a new, carbon neutral factory will be built on a brown field site.
I am already a big Little Greene fan however I have reviewed both the paints in exactly the same way as I would any other product; I'd also like to tell you why I choose this paint for my own work. There doesn't seem to be anything I can't do with it - flat painting, distressing or mixing with glazes for specialist finishes. Quality is exceptional and there's always great coverage and depth of colour (with 40% more pigments than most other brands). Although many of my clients tend to choose from the subtle of the Grey Collection, their bold brights (see image below) are my particular favourite.
I am rather OCD when it comes to furniture preparation as in my opinion it is absolutely essential to achieve a really good finish. I almost never apply primer when using Little Greene unless I am changing the colour of a piece drastically or I think there may be a problem with the original finish 'bleeding' through. I use Little Green Intelligent Emulsion and Eggshell Paint direct onto bare wood and find no need for a primer. Once I have finished painting, I seal with either wax or if the item will receive heavy wear, a water-based varnish and then wax over the top.
Both the Intelligent Emulsion and Eggshell are water-based paints and have a low VOC level - less than 1% by volume so very positive eco credentials. The Intelligent Eggshell whilst being water based also contains an acrylic polymer to help with adhesion, water resilience, and longevity. The general opinion seems to be that the presence of acrylic in a low VOC paint is not overtly hazardous as long the paint is used according to the instructions on the tin label. Little Greene go to great lengths to formulate paint with their customer's health in mind, choosing correct and safe materials. The Intelligent Eggshell paint covers exceptionally well and therefore requires fewer coats than many paints and is a more effective choice than emulsion for areas of heavy wear or exposure to water; it is also covered by BS EN71-3:2013, the European standard required for use of a paint on toys. Little Greene are committed to minimalizing their impact on the environment and were one of the first companies to achieve the European Environmental Standard BS EN ISQ 14001 in 2004.
Would I recommend these paints - I certainly do! Little Greene paints tick so many boxes for me and the eco credentials of the water-based paints are undeniable. Unfortunately they don't list their ingredients on the paint tins but do provide information on the website as to what substances are in their paints which may cause allergic reactions.
They've worked closely with English Heritage for 7 years to produce (via combined research) a range of historic colours authentic to key design eras up until the 1970s and make a contribution to English Heritage with each tin of paint or roll of wallpaper sold and also have a programme of aid for various Breast Cancer research and support agencies.
The Little Greene Paint Company www.littlegreene.com