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Community and Q&A

Matte finish paint disaster: Options for more durable finish needed!

unclejemima | Posted in Interior Design on

Well this is slightly embarrassing, but I either talked myself into or go talked into doing matte finish paint for my entire house. We liked the look of the matte paint as we thought it would hide imperfections and looked kind of rustic to match our Tuscan house theme.

The paint is advertised as “eco friendly” and “washable flat” is its name. Its from Cloverdale. It also has “ceramic microspheres” or something that is supposed to make the paint super durable and its a breakthrough in matte finish paint.

The reality is opposite. There is no physical way that you can even touch the wall without it leaving an un-removable mark. If you so much as look at the wall the wrong way, it will leave a smudge…and don’t even think of trying to remove it because where you washed will show like a mustard stain on a white t-shirt.

Honestly, I was never impressed with latex interior paints. Anyone with kids can agree, that the walls look like poo after even just a few days of the little guys around and washing always seems to look worse than not washing them. Don’t even think about moving the couch as behind it is instantly damaged paint on the wall.

With all this complaining, I’m hoping to find options for more durable paints or something radically different. I’ve been toying around the idea of “Venetian plaster” but I’m worried this will require me to remortgage my house. I’ve heard the stuff is “lifetime” and it breaths and cleans the air. Seems every Mediterranean house I see on has this style of finish, but no-one around here (northern Canada) has even heard of the stuff. Thoughts?

Regardless, the house needs to be repainted now and I don’t want to use the same garbage that will look disheveled after only a few short weeks.

Looking forward to replies!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I'm sorry to hear about your disappointing experience with Cloverdale paint. Any paint company that uses the phrase "ceramic microsphere technologies" in their literature should set off alarm bells in your head. But that's water under the bridge.

    There are lots of paints out there, and I'm not going to recommend one. I'm sure that a few GBA readers will provide advice.

    Are you going to be doing the work, or are you going to hire a painter? If you are hiring a painting contractor, I would trust the advice of the contractor.

  2. user-2310254 | | #2

    Mark. I used RomaBio matte paint on my interior and exterior walls and satin paint on all interior and exterior trim. It is a potassium silicate paint and very durable. It also have zero VOCs and absolutely no odor. The paint is similar in cost to a high-quality latex. I suggest calling the company and describing your requirements so they can recommend the best formulation.

  3. propeller | | #3

    I've been using Aura matt finish paint from Benjamin Moore on two houses with none of the issues you encounter. Not a cheap product but the ease of application, coverage and washability is second to none. Kitchen and bathrooms routinely get washed with ease and no trace of previous stains.

  4. charlie_sullivan | | #4

    I am also a Ben Moore fan. If you want the super low VOC option, their Natura line has almost no smell at all.

    There's also an interesting discussion on paint quality in a recent Fine Homebuilding podcast.

  5. unclejemima | | #5

    Thanks guys. Funny enough, I did one of those chaulk paint experiments on my laundry room cabinets (I ended up using matte latex paint and drywall mud mixed) but I followed the latex paint with matte finish varathane waterbased. The results were stain proof, super durable but still matte finish cabinets...I'm thinking its not practical to varathane my walls...but the idea has crossed my mind lol.

    Just a FYI, the Washable Flat from Cloverdate (a reputable paint store) is a ultra low VOC paint and environmentally friendly formula...and its far from cheap, if not their most expensive paint.

    The fact they call it "washable flat" just makes me more frustrated as they blatantly call it washable in the name when its not physically possible.

    Regardless when it comes time to repaint I'm gonna do some 1 gallon testers of a new product before painting the entire house!


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