This week I took a call from Randall Mallinson, the business development manager of Aiden & Parker paints. I'll be honest and admit that, up until that call, I hadn't heard of them.
Aiden & Parker are a UK based paint manufacturer supplying paint to 'architects and interior designers who specify for Royalty projects, 4 & 5 star hotels, Boutique hotels, pubs, clubs, Luxury home developments over £2 million'
The key points made to me over the phone and via email were:
Unbelievable opacity, awesome coverage, Amazingly durable and beautiful finishes, Desirable Pricing
If a chosen colour is outside our range of 120, we colour match to any colour card, ref. brand in your desired finish.
Manufactured in UK, Kent
Only the top quality materials are sourced to maintain our strategic position in the market
Minimum carbon footprint – every pot of paint is made to order (raw materials come from Europe and are transported in bulk, by road, not air)
Only sell 100% Acrylic paint
Minimal or no odour
All packing is recyclable
Highly Scuff and Stain resistant
Dependent of finish – wipe or scrubable
Use standard UK sizing
eliminates any existing surface colour in 2 coats
Randall explained to me how he had read my blog and was interested in me trying out some of their paints. They seem to have a keen interest in supplying high end clients with a quality product. He made one very bold claim, that I decided was worth me testing. He said that Aiden & Parker paints were at least as good as Benjamin Moore. That is a very high bar to aim for, which is exactly what I told him.
To make this test fair I needed to be able to run similar tests to that which I have done with Benjamin Moore, so when he asked which colour of 5L emulsion I would like to trial, I asked for several 1L tins instead. My suggestion was 1 in red, 1 in white and some eggshell for woodwork, with a primer.
The next day I received my pots:
1 red in the 'chalky matt' finish - Ultra flat matt that enhances both period and contemporary living spaces; for use on interior walls and ceilings - rrp £64 for 5L
1 white in the 'ultra durable' finish - Ultra Durable Emulsion providing an extra tough scrubbable surface; suitable for interior walls in high traffic areas. Reduced maintenance - rrp £71 for 5L
1 dark blue in the Kitchen & Bathroom finish - Steam resistant cleanable emulsion with a satin finish; ideally suited for walls and ceilings in kitchens and bathrooms - rrp £73 for 5L
1 white eggshell finish - Durable flat matt finish for interior wood and metal surfaces - rrp £87 for 5L
1 white in 'Mason's premium' finish - Superior masonry paint providing a smooth finish for all-year-round weather protection; suitable for all exterior masonry - rrp £72 for 5L
So on with the tests. First off the packaging of this 'premium brand' wasn't. Its cheap plastic pots. Now it may sound silly, but if I pay for a premium product, I want to know it. Anyone who has had a delivery from Benjamin Moore can attest to the quality of the boxes, invoices and the tins themselves - its all very impressive.
Aiden & Parkers paint was delivered in an unbranded box with 'paint' printed on the side. The pots were in amongst those annoying little polystyrene bits of packaging. I found the pots a bit tricky to open as well, but maybe that's just me?
But how does the paint apply, that's what we all want to know, right?
First off I applied some of their eggshell. Now in fairness the Technical data sheet does say that a primer is required, but so does Benjamin Moore's and I tested that without a primer, on old glosswork and previously unpainted radiators, so successfully, that I rarely even bother to use them with primers any more!
I applied the paint over a door panel that was previously painted in Bedec's 'aqua advanced' satin. I should note at at this point that over the phone Randall did not seem to have much confidence in their woodwork products, stating that they were more focused on the emulsion finishes. Perhaps this is why it applied like an emulsion? It went on OK, but in all honesty, there are much better finishes out there. I also found it dried too flat for my liking.
Left for a day I did the obligatory finger nail scratch test to see if it would come off and, despite them claiming to need a primer the paint held fast! But the thing is Benjamin Moore's advance has a much nicer, high end finish that levels better, is much nicer to work with and apply and has a cheaper retail price per litre.
Next up was the 'chalky matt' in a lovely red colour called 'letterbox'. I should note at this point that they do have some very nice colours, though 120 is a little limited when Benjamin Moore has 1000's. Aiden & Parker made a cheeky claim to me too. They 'are the only UK, Kent based luxury paint manufacturer able to colour match any designer brand, colour or reference card' - notice the word 'Kent' slipped in there, as they know they aren't the only UK company who colour match - everyone does!
Now, with all the emulsion I should note here that the recoat time is 4-6 hours, pretty standard for most paint, but I switched to Benjamin moore partly because my production time went up with the fast recoat times of 2 hours. I have even recoated in under an hour in some cases. This is a massive let down and would prevent me using Aiden & Parker in the future.
The red chalky matt was applied over a vinyl matt white emulsion. Out of the pot the paint was very smooth, unlike some of the major UK brands, with no scum or bits in sight. It applied nicely, without thinning required and almost covered in the 1st coat. I did find the paint went a bit 'bubbly' when applied to the wall, alot like Crowns Vinyl matt does. This doesn't leave the best finish.
But my biggest gripe is that once dry it didn't have a 'flat matt' finish, it was rather shiny, not unlike many main brand wipeable paints, certainly shinier than a vinyl matt. On the phone Randall had compared it to Farrow & Balls estate emulsion, which meant I was expecting a rather flat finish.
As for wipeable? Left for 24 hours it took little effort to get colour rub off, with a big wipe and, with a bit of force, a lot of rub off. I thought maybe I'd heard wrong before, but Randall confirmed in an email today that 'The chalky matt is definitely wipeable'.
Next up I tried the Kitchen & Bathroom paint in the colour 'Rainford's jacket'. This is a lovely blue, I assume sent to me to compare to a blue Benjamin Moore colour on my previous blog? I didn't have a big enough area to test this one at the time, so I had to just brush some out on the wall. This had the same issue of being 'bubbly' that the chalky matt did. In fact after the second coat you can see little white dots where the bubbles were, so not a great finish.
That aside the paint applied nicely and again was very smooth, with excellent coverage, covering white in one go by brush. The finish is satin, so OK if you want that, but would be nice to have a matt finish available too, as not everyone wants shiny walls. This paint survived a gentle wipe test, with a big wipe, but again had some colour rub off after a more heavy scrubbing.
Finally I tried out the 'ultra durable' finish in the colour 'Arosa white'. This Randall had compared to Farrow & Balls 'modern emulsion'. Application was similar to the others, but without the 'bubbling'. The paint dried to a matt finish, more matt, in fact, than the 'chalky matt' paint! I'd say it is a flatter finish than F & B's modern emulsion, which I always thought was too shiny anyway.
Coverage was as expected from any normal emulsion and having applied 2, a third is still required, despite being told that it 'eliminates any existing surface colour in 2 coats'.
When it came to wiping the paint was ok being wiped gently with a 'big wipe', but again when pressing firmly the paint did rub off. In my email to Randall earlier he said 'The chalky matt is definitely wipeable. The Ultra durable - is even more so - a friend has informed that they tried a foam backed scourer lightly and was extremely impressed that no colour came away. That's a little extreme and I have yet to try on my walls yet'.
I'm a little confused as to how Randall is selling a product he hasn't tested for himself yet, probably as I'm used to seeing tests performed by Benjamin Moore on a pretty regular basis. Benjamin Moore remains the only paint that I have come across that has no colour rub off when wiping.
Overall whilst the paint is OK, it is probably marketed and priced in the wrong area. Its as good as some of the main stream brands, but pricing for being a premium product. The biggest mistake was to compare themselves to Benjamin Moore, meaning I tested them as a direct comparison. I warned Randall on the phone that the bar was very high and unfortunately their paint was not up to the challenge.
Many thanks to Randall and Aiden & Parker for supplying me with the samples for me to do these tests. I now need to repaint my spare room ready for the arrival of our first baby! :-)
After feedback and a few question I thought it best I do a little update, so here it is.
I was asked if they bubbles were caused by me using a long pile roller. Firstly I should say that up until recently I have always used a long pile (including in my Benjamin Moore initial test - which was picked up on then too), I recently switched to using Picasso sleeves though, which are a lot shorter. Secondly the bubbles only happened on the areas done with a brush (cutting in of the red and the patch of Kitchen paint). I still put it down to the paint, as I have known this with certain paints before and it does ruin the finish once dry.
Next point was the fairness of wiping and scrubbing the paint after just 24 hours and using a Big Wipe. Ok so this was a harsh test, but as I have said I always do things like this to test a new product. I did this same test to Benjamin Moore's Aura on the first occasion I tried it and got no colour rub off. I initially wanted BM to fail after all the hype and companies making big claims that turn out not to be true. But BM have proved themselves worthy of such praise.
Now that said, when I mentioned this to my wife, she wanted me to prove it. I re did the scrub test in my Kitchen and have to admit that I did get some colour rub off onto the big wipe. However in my Bedroom I had no such issues. Both have been painted for some time, so perhaps it is colour dependent?
So I retested the Aiden & Parker durable and the Kitchen paint using first a wet cloth (no colour rub off on Kitchen, a little on the Durable) and then a Big Wipe (no colour rub off on Kitchen, a little more than the cloth on the Durable). Perhaps then the paint needed longer to dry before testing this. I'll admit and apologise now for the test being a bit rushed as I am mid way through redecorating our nursery and had to use this as my testing ground.
But I had checked the TDS's for the Durable and the chalky matt, both state 24 hrs drying time with no mention of waiting to wipe (Benjamin Moore state 2 weeks is needed before washing). Of course the one I didn't check was the Kitchen & Bathroom, as I wrongly assumed it would be the same, but this states 7 days before wiping. Perhaps this is just a case of needing to update the TDS's to contain the correct information and maybe include the info on the pots too? The TDS's for the 'chalky matt' make no mention of being wipeable that I can see, I got this info, as mentioned before, from Randall. So either porkies are being told or he doesn't know his products - both are bad imo
Does this mean I'll run out and buy Aiden & Parkers paint? Well no. My other points in the original blog post still stand. When using Benjamin Moore you are instantly impressed, which is what you expect from a premium brand. I didn't get this impression from Aiden & Parker.
Asides from the wipability my main concerns are:
Flatness of the eggshell
Non coverage in 2 coats of white over red, as was told and is on their website too
The bubbles issue
Chalky matt is rather shiney - not a matt at all
Kitchen and bathroom only available in shiny satin finish
Not mould resistant
Long re-coat times
Pots and packaging