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Farrow & Ball Full Gloss

Has anyone used it? General search gives mixed views but I know some painters are against F&B because they can’t make any money on it!

So wondering what the views are on here - if anyone’s used it.

According to some info from F&B earlier this week, it has not been long reformulated, so the best feedback will be from someone who was quietly testing it with them for a while.

F&B paint isn’t top of the kitchen painters list round here, but if anyone were to hit the F&B decorating market right, it must surely be a profitable area to play in overall? There is more to the F&B story than the price of their product. And there are dearer paints than theirs around too?

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if you are looking for a good gloss try mironal,and for undercoat ottex lovely smooth finish.

I am after a good gloss mate but as you know I have my own preferences for the type of products I will use. I’m about to give Auro gloss a go but that system is very expensive. F&B doesn’t score quite as high on my ‘green’ chart (mainly because they won’t tell us the ingredients) but I still like it - just not tried the gloss.

Around here there seems to be a lot of people asking for F&B in general decoration work and whilst I am happy to use it I do move some onto Earthborn. But Earthborn don’t do a full gloss.

At college we used to varnish the undercoat, old ways. Apply that thinking to your favourite products, might get quite glossy?

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That was an option I had thought of Andy. But then the challenge is to find a good eco-friendly gloss varnish :slight_smile:

While researching for zero VOC paint for a client I came across these guys in Cornwall making paint certified as 0% VOC

and as they supply the powder (you mix) its less transport costs etc

Doesn’t seem they do a gloss - but the credentials are excellent!
(my client went for Earthborn clay paint instead)

Have looked at that one mate. Haven’t tested though. My concern with that is party the waste because once the paint is mixed you need to use it in a couple of days. OK you can put the waste on a compost heap but it’s still a waste of money and energy. But also if you want a colour you are never going to get consistency of you need to mix a second batch using their pigment. So all in all - nice idea but could end up being less eco than you think because of the energy used to manufacture which is wasted on batches you need to throw away.

Earthborn is a brilliant compromise. They have good ethics, the products are as natural as possible and they actually perform perfectly. Coverage is really good and the finish is wonderful - not durable but then no flat matt is really. So Earthborn are my first choice for walls and ceilings at the moment. The eggshell on wood is nice but a bit expensive.

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Andy ,do you still do that on jobs your working on today imagine two coats off ottex,a gloss marine varnish,and mironal gloss could achieve a high gloss finish?or maybe not.

I haven’t needed to do a high gloss so far so it hasn’t been an issue. The thing is if I used a varnish I would still want it to be made with natural ingredients - no oil or acrylics. I’ll get round to finding something to do that at some point but it’s not a priority because most customers seem to want eggshell or satin on woodwork these days.

I think maybe not :slight_smile: It was an exercise, hearkening back to when there was a lack of options for gloss paint (linseed oil based paints aren’t super shiny) what do you do? Add or apply a gloss varnish.

Otex / Miranol is a system that works.

@greenpainting this article may get you on the right track I don’t know how far you are going with the paint criteria, but look out for Lacq Energol a linseed based paint.


There’s some interested stuff there Andy. The Auro paints are linseed based which is why I am interested in trying them. There is a linseed varnish but it suggests it gives a slight tint so not really much use on white trim.

12 hour dry time is what’s going to hurt - we’ve been spoilt with the quick drying acrylics.

If you are looking at linseed paints, there is also Holkam Linseed Paints - Matthew Evans ( uses them… I’ve also talked to the company in the dim and distant past.

Probably telling everyone how to suck eggs here!


I finally picked up a tin of white F&B gloss just to test at home on a bit of trim. I had already put Ecosure gloss on one door frame so I put the F&B on the door frame beside that to compare.

Previously painted trim was sanded back and primed with 123+, sanded, 1 coat of F&B, sanded and second coat of F&B.

The F&B is actually quite nice to work with - needed thinning a little but it goes on nicely if you’re quick. It does seem to level ok but only if you get a good coat on and don’t try laying off too much.

However, the sheen isn’t what I would call full gloss. Ecosure isn’t particularly glossy and the F&B has less of a sheen. I know it’s W/B so wouldn’t expect too much but this is more like a shiny satin. Looks nice but doesn’t do what it says on the tin! Maybe a third coat will help but I really don’t want to be doing three coats aswell as undercoating.

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Thanks for the review.

I saw a pressed cheapo door painted by the F&B painter at their HQ and it looked quite glossy to me. I don’t know how many coats it had had.

Not saying you did, but if one were to sand back the primer too much, you can cause the top coats to sink, which would reduce sheen.

To be fair to F&B, this is their spec:

Previously painted interior wood surfaces - sand back areas of paint that have peeled or blistered, to achieve a good „key‟. Apply one full coat of Farrow & Ball Interior Wood Primer & Undercoat. Proceed with two coats of Farrow & Ball Full Gloss.

They seem to put a lot of stock in their primer undercoat to achieve their required finishes.

To increase sheen, you could always coat everything with gras a lacquer first, you know, a perfectly normal spec :smile:

The primer was only very lightly sanded because it was pretty flat already. But I agree about the F&B primer making a difference and I will try that at some point because I would like to be able to use this stuff as a gloss.

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Primer is key with F&B and with all others IMO… it is important to follow guidelines as far as is possible… particularly important from a paper trail point of view. if there is ever an issue with the finish manufacturers will always ask if you have used the full system. (prime, u/c, top) if you haven’t, they will not “play” - ergo, I would stick to using the manufacturers full system, as is…

I agree the F&B primer does make a marked difference to the finish - my issue is that there is only a very limited colour range of primers; light, mid, dark which has an impact upon the number of top coats necessary due to colour density (or lack thereof)…

…kind of got away from me, that one…


The best water based gloss finish for me is Johnstone’s Trade Aqua. I know its a hybrid but I’ve come across nothing in a pure acrylic that matches the shine.

Mythic Gloss has a nice shine and looks fantastic when sprayed with airless but it doesn’t level with a brush like the Aqua. However using a pure nylon brush from Corona’s Champagne Nylon range would certainly help there.


Hi what undercoat do you use with that?cheers

I use the Aqua undercoat with the gloss and have started to use the same product under all white trim paint.
It covers and sands well and has excellent adhesion for a water based product.

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