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I consider Farrow & Ball Modern Emulsion to be a very good paint which is not difficult to apply by either brush or roller.   The finish is a very pleasing low sheen finish, which is harder to the touch than Estate Emulsion, and because of the slightly higher sheen I find the colours appear to be slightly lighter in tone when compared to Estate Emulsion.   Due to its low sheen small surface defects will be more obvious so proper surface preparation is essential these designer paints deserve thorough   preparatory work, so they can appear at their best.

I seldom find that 2 coats are sufficient to achieve a solid uniform colour depth, especially when applying it on top of standard vinyl emulsions. The lighter and mid colours almost certainly need 3 coats, whereas the darkest ones can take many more.   I find the Reds’ in particular problematic in both the Estate and Modern Emulsions.

Due to the cost of Farrow and Ball Paints a simple solution to the opacity issue, is to buy a less expensive brand of paint, which is near to the Farrow & Ball colour and base the wall area with that paint.    This will then give you a chance to discover any unsightly surface defects and rectify them before applying you finishing paint.    If you do opt to follow this advice, then use a good quality matt emulsion or super matt in preference over vinyl matt; as the coverage will be better and it should cost less.  

Applying overly thick paint layers is not always the most sensible use of your product or time as it can result in an unsightly surface finish, extended drying time, and also give rise to the possibility of surface cracks appearing in the future.   Do not layer this paint on in the hope of coverage; apply consistent even layers to achieve the best results.

Durability and washabilty is an issue for Modern Emulsion which is demonstrated by the some comments placed on popular web forums, there is no doubt that this paint can be marked and scuffed however this does not make it impracticable, for it is washable however not scrubbable so think about how and where to use it.   The paint can show signs of wear and tear when used n high traffic areas whoever when used in a less busy places the paint will hold its beauty for many, many years.    For me houses are for living in, so for the sake of repainting a few walls every two or tree  years I would always choose the colour and paint finish that I liked rather than making a compromise which I might grow to regret.

Lastly, proper surface preparation is essential to achieve the best result with this paint.   The surface should be free from all grease and dirt by using an appropriate degreasing agent.  Scraped back sanded and then sealed any powdery or flaking areas (Efflorescence) and seal with the appropriate primer.  Seal any water stains.   If required was down the entire area with warm clean water and allow to dry.     Rub down  the entire area and fill any surface defects with a good quality filler such as Polyfilla One Fill, once dry, smooth out the filler, and remove dust.

New plaster should be mist coated/sealed with a diluted mixture of 5 parts paint to 1 part clean water.

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Paint Category

Coverage per litre


Available Tin Size

Application Methods

Suitable  Surfaces

Quick Facts



14 m2

£ 0000 per lt           Advisory   

For use on all interior wall and ceiling surfaces that require a near flat sheen finish with greater durability than Estate Emulsion which can be used in Kitchens, Bathrooms, Hallways.

1 lt

2.5 lt

5 lt

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