Paint colour consistency, why are batch quantities important?

Why is batch to batch consistency something to be considered?

Why is batch to batch consistency an issue? What are the pitfalls of ordering little and often? Is ordering small quantities just an added cost? Is ordering more than enough better than just enough? Surely a “British Standard” colour is the same wherever I buy it from or whoever produces it? How do I avoid creating a moving target? These are all related to the same topic and the net results being the same, a potential problem; A colour difference.

All paints are a blend of constituent parts, each part made independently and joined together at least once, to create a coating. Some ingredients are joined together to make a part that goes in to making another part and so-on. Every time one component is produced, it is manufactured to a tolerance. By definition, where there is a tolerance there is the opportunity for a variance, this in turn can lead to inconsistencies and in paint terms it can lead to appearance differences.

Where is this going I hear you ask? The moment you order or require additional paint for an existing job, by definition it is a new product/batch of paint. Yes, the same formulation may be used but if the constituent parts are slightly different (within tolerance still) the end result will be slightly different. You may have noticed that wall-paper has a batch number on every roll and that you need wall-paper from the same batch to ensure the patterns align correctly. The same wall-paper producer, producing the same pattern will recommend the use of the same batch. If the wall paper rolls are not from the same batch the patterns will not usually match up, even if in only one small segment of an edge. This is because the one of the constituent parts in the same factory (paper, inks, printing or cutting machinery) is different from the alternative batch. The same can be said for paint, on a container of domestic paint it recommends pouring some of the new tin into the part empty old tin so that any changes are diluted for the purposes of blending the different tins of paint together. The industrial market is no different to the domestic paint or wall-paper markets, variations are inevitable.

How can these situations be avoided? It is not as straightforward as ordering a specific RAL/BS/Dulux/Etc shade along with a gloss level and be assured it is going to be the same colour. Every paint manufacturer has their “own version” of a shade which falls within “their tolerance” of the colour. If you request the same colour and sheen from the same manufacturer, the colour may be slightly different due to the forementioned tolerances in the constituent parts. The only way to be sure of getting a consistent paint throughout is to make one batch of the right size. Assuming this is thoroughly mixed it will ensure that the first tin is the same as the last tin in this batch. Any paint produced in any other way could have variations, however small. As tint and binder stocks rotate, a variance one way or another may lead to changes, most are so small that they are un-noticeable. These changes can magnify over time as more and more batches are produced. What are the answers? For most manufacturers it is not commercially viable to produce single paint batch in quantities of less than 500ltrs and so the chances of every tin being exactly the same colour is limited. So, the next best thing is to order enough paint to complete the job in hand as this will at least remove one link from the chain in terms of batch-to-batch risk. When ordering a tin or two at a time, the risk is increased due to the “turn-over” of constituent parts over a prolonged period of time. Better to have 10 x 5ltr made at the same time in comparison to 1 x 5ltr made every week. If you for whatever reason you need additional paint to match an existing job, how do you best avoid batch to batch variances? If you haven’t ordered enough paint initially, do not use every last drop of paint before starting the next tin, use the original tin and keep topping-it-up to blend any variances as it is used. Some paint companies will supply a batch number and this may relate to the formulation used or possibly a retained swatch of paint from that batch. If further paint is required, the batch number can be given and the supplier can produce to the same formulation and check the colour and sheen against the retained panel. If the same formulation is used, the paint supplied may fall within “their tolerance”, which may be visibly noticeable to the eye. Will your paint supplier charge you for matching? Arguably yes, arguably no. Should a paint company be able to produce the same colour every time? In theory yes, in reality not every time! The need to order enough paint at the beginning of the job will invariably come back to haunt you if you under budget on quantity. Hopefully this will give an insight into batch-to-batch variances and demonstrates the benefits of ordering the right amount of paint for every job. This scenario is typical for all paint producers, anyone who mixes paint has the same issue.

A very common misconception is “colour standards”, by definition a “standard” is “something used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations”. When this is used in paint production it is quickly followed by “tolerance” defined as “an allowable amount of variation of a specified quantity”. A quick explanation of colour before getting in too deep, colours can be decoded and given a numerical position on a colour graph. If you imagine a cross on a clock face, with Yellow at 6 o’clock, opposite yellow is blue at 12 o’clock, Red at 3 o’clock and Green at 9 o’clock, every colour falls somewhere on the clock face. That same colour when produced can be measured and as long as it falls within its manufacturers tolerance it is deemed a good commercial match. The problems begin when different manufacturers have different tolerances or the same company produces one batch within tolerance slightly on the “yellow” side of their “standard” and the next batch on the “blue” side of the tolerance, visible change may be negligible or noticeable. The next batch may be “bluer” again and so the colour drifts batch on batch and the potential for change increases.

This blog is not designed to give a clear-all solution, it has been produced to give a wart and all insight into paint production. Batch-to-batch consistency is resultant on the pigments, binders, dispensing equipment and critically quality control. If the pigments and

binders are not very tightly controlled; the dispensing of the formulation counts for very little in terms of consistency. Many car paints cost significantly more than industrial or domestic paints, this is largely born from the quality control of the pigments and binders. Hence why there may be more than two dozen variants of “Arctic” white, this is where the shade has moved over time in a car production plant.

What is Paint Sheen? What gloss levels mean what? Do I need semi-matt, eggshell or satin, what is the difference?

Why is Gloss level terminology less important than a specific percentage figure?

The “gloss” or “sheen” level is very important when it comes to paint for many reasons. The gloss level is arguably more noticeable than colour i.e. the same paint produced in different gloss levels will stand out more than two slightly different shades in the same gloss level (I stress arguably). Not only is the aesthetics important but also functionality. Generally speaking, a gloss finish is more hardwearing, can be easier to clean and can offer greater protection to the elements. Matt finishes have grown in their popularity in recent times as they hide many surface imperfections and do not appear to age as quickly i.e. if the finish is “dull” to start with it cannot get much “duller” over time! This is a sweeping statement as many primer-finishes have grown in their popularity as they offer protection, a finish colour and a fashionably low sheen. Sheen can make a new product look old and an old product look new, far more than a colour alone.

What gloss level do you require? This is a common question we ask and a very common question that gives rise to further investigation. In terms of taking an order for any paint, we require the paint type, the colour, the quantity and the sheen/gloss level. In terms of colour, this is a whole other minefield but I will touch upon it here. “Goose-grey” from one manufacturer could be a “Minerva-grey” from another manufacturer, this is why we will request a reference number, be that a British Standard, RAL, Dulux, NCS, RAL Design etc. The same question is asked of gloss level, as one manufacturers “Satin” is another manufacturers “Semi-gloss”. As with colour reference, numbers are specific and not susceptible to variation, BS00A05 “Goose-grey” and BS00A05 “Minerva grey” are the same colour, as the “00A05” is the specific, “Minerva” and “goose” are non-specific to the colour.

Gloss level terminology is very similar to colour terminology and why a percentage should always be quoted by the customer and asked for by the supplier. Gloss levels should be quoted in a percentage; “30% matt”, “30% eggshell”, “30% gloss”, the 30% is the relevant information, the terminology that follows is similar to “Minerva or Goose grey”. To measure the gloss as a percentage the use of a gloss meter is required.  The gloss meter is an instrument which is used to measure the reflective gloss of a surface. Gloss is determined by projecting a beam of light at the surface of the item at a fixed intensity and angle and measuring the amount of reflected light at an equal but opposite angle. The figure of reflected light is measured in percentage.

In powder coating, Gloss is considered as 85% +/- 5%, Matt is 30% =/-5% and 65% +/-5% is deemed Semi-gloss by many with the odd exception denoting this percentage as “Satin”. To add to the confusion there are some powder coatings with gloss levels between 5% and 20% which are also regarded as “matt”! You can begin to see where confusion begins.

Sheen or gloss level is as important as colour when it comes to giving a visual appearance of being the same. Typically, a powder coated window, conservatory or architectural application will have a 30% “matt” finish. When a wet paint is required for repair or refurbishment, a “matt” paint may well be of a lower sheen than 30%, unless specified. The importance of a percentage when specifying a gloss level should never be assumed.

What is optical matt, dead-matt, chalk-board matt, Satin, eggshell, semi-matt, semi-gloss, gloss, piano gloss? These are all terms quoted when it comes to paint sheens, the percentage is the definitive. Typically, but not definitively, the following is a very broad range of terminology and percentages.

0-5% sheen, “Optical matt”, “Chalk-board matt” “Dead-matt”, all basically suggest the very lowest sheen.

10%-25% sheen, “Semi-Matt”, “Matt”, “Eggshell”, “Satin”

25%-40% sheen, “Eggshell”, “Satin”

40%-65% sheen “Satin”, Semi-gloss”

70%-85% sheen “gloss”

85%+ “High-Gloss”, “Piano Gloss”

This is why the percentage figure is paramount, a “Satin” could range from 10% to 65% dependent upon manufacturer and type of paint. Issues arising when the correct gloss level is requested and supplied, but may still have issues.

“Why is the matt paint I requested glossy when I open the tin?” is one of the stranger queries we have received. On further investigation it transpired the paint had not been applied to a surface but appeared “glossy” in the tin, as it was still liquid.

  1. “I have used some of your paint and it is gloss and not 30% matt as requested”. Again, on investigation the paint had not been thoroughly stirred and the matting agent had settled on the bottom of the tin. When the paint was stirred, a 30% sheen was achieved.
  2. Application and film thickness can affect the gloss level of most paints. Generally speaking, a thicker coat of paint or more coats of paint will produce a glossier finish. This does not mean that six coats on 20% sheen paint will yield an 80% finish, but the gloss level will increase. If a paint is applied via spray and via brush, the brush application may appear glossier as any brush marks would give a slight texture that would “attract” the light and appear glossier. Conversely, a glossier paint could appear duller than expected if applied thinly or possibly at a lower temperature than recommended. A change of gloss can sometimes occur when incompatible primers and topcoats are applied or insufficient time is allowed between coats.

Hopefully this has gone some way to explaining gloss levels and why there is not typically three variants when it comes to sheen, Matt, Gloss and something in between.

If you like this enclosed information why not take a look at our other blogs or check-out our YouTube channel LinkedIn account and Facebook pages.


Gates, Railing and Wrought Iron Work.

Answering the questions, we get asked

What preparation should I undertake? What can be painted and with what coatings? What paint do I need? How long will it last? What care must I take? What do I need to consider? These are all relevant questions to most paints and protective coatings. In this blog we are aiming to talk in simple laymen’s terms and is directed at anyone and everyone in the hope that it will help you make the right choice in terms of paint.

How do I prepare the surface to be painted? This depends upon what is on the surface of the substrate currently. The following recommendations are fairly uniform whichever items you are looking to paint. It is generally accepted that shotblasting is the best method of paint preparation, “shotblast to SA 2.5” this is recognised shot blasting standard. Shotblasting is an ideal preparation as it removes old paint, rust, grease and other contaminates, it yields the additional benefit of roughening the surface, given any new paint an excellent surface to adhere to. Many customers will not have shotblasting facilities and so mechanical abrasion, using an angle-grinder or mechanical sander will have a similar effect in terms of rust removal and roughening the surface. If shotblasting or mechanical abrasion is not an option, the use of a wire brush and production paper along with a good helping of elbow-grease will certainly be better than nothing. It is good practice to wipe over any surface prior to painting with a degreaser and clean cloth to remove any possible contaminates transferred during the handling of the item to be coated. Ensure the surface is dry before painting.

Typical substrate you may encounter could range from

  1. Freshly manufactured items produced in mild steel.
  2. Previously painted items.
  3. Rusty mild steel or iron.
  4. Aluminium/Alloy.
  5. Galvanised.
  6. Powder coated items.

Surfaces 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be the “most likely” to be encountered by an end customer or refinisher, with items 5 and 6 more likely to be encountered on new or previously un-painted (wet painted) surfaces. Both Galvanising and powder coating are in themselves coatings. They are designed to be the finished coat, giving protection and appearance. It is only when the appearance needs “refreshing” or protection needs attention that an additional coating is sought.

What can be painted with what coatings?

  1. Freshly produced metalwork (new)

If the substrate is bare metal, uncoated and prepared as described above you have a varied amount of options based upon application methods, environment, longevity and of course cost. There are Primer-finish products such as the Manor Zinfos range or the Rustoleum CombiColor range that offer a primer and top-coat in one product. These are very cost effective but will offer compromises in protection and in some instances the availability on gloss level options. The more traditional method would be a protective primer/undercoat (Avenue zinc phosphate primer) followed by a high gloss pigments paint (Manor fast enamel) for that “brand-new” look. If a long coating life expectancy is required then a two-pack system offers greater protection and durability.

  1. Previously painted metalwork

If the item has previously been coated you would need to prepare the surface to ensure there is no rust, grease of contaminants and the existing coating is abraded to aid adhesion of the new paint. Any loose of flaking paint would need to be removed and bought back to a sound base with all surfaces clean and dry. The options then really fall into two categories.
Firstly, you can use a mild solvent-based coating with a fair degree of confidence that there will not be a reaction with the previous coating. This will give the added benefits of being low odour and slower drying, enabling a long “wet-edge” if applying by brush or roller (typical products would be Manor ZP24 primer and Manor single pack polyurethane). The alternative coatings are based upon a stronger solvent (Xylene) and will generally dry quicker but will be more aggressive and could potentially “pickle” or react with an existing coating. A small area should be tested to ensure there is no reaction and full adhesion is evident between the existing and new coating.

  1. Corroded metalwork

Any ferrous metal which has been neglected or poorly maintained will show a degree of corrosion/rust to a lesser of greater degree. The rust can be removed a described previously but an additional option, rather than an alternative would be to remove as much rust as possible, certainly all loose and flaky rust areas and then apply a rust neutraliser, we offer Blue steel and HMG’s ferrozinc. These are treatment that change appearance after application/cure and neutralises the rust. This surface can then be overcoated with a primer-finish or primer and top coat system.

  1. Aluminium or Alloy

The coating of aluminium/alloy is far more likely to be recoating/refinishing rather than new railings/gates/garden furniture. With garden furniture being imported and becoming available more cheaply, the need to maintain the appearance and protection is also growing. Preparation follows a similar path, remove any corrosion (tends to be a white/grey powder oxidisation rather than a red-rust associated with steel), grease and contaminants and abrade any sound existing coating. If there are large areas of exposed metal the use of an etch primer, like Manor’s 1k etch would aid the adhesion of the subsequent paint coatings. The same options are available in terms of paint systems as with mild steel, once the etch primer has been applied and has cured.

5. Galvanised metal.

If repair or a cosmetic change is required there are a number of processes to go through before a primer-finish or primer and top-coat system is used. New “hot-dipped” galvanising requires “aging”.  Mordant T wash is an acid etching solution that “ages” the zinc, turning it from a bright spangled finish to a dull grey-black finish. This process promotes adhesion on to the zinc while still maintaining the corrosion resistant properties. The use of a two pack etch or single pack etch primer gives further build and adhesion and is usually sufficient for use on abraded, aged galvanised products. Once the etch primer has cured the use of a primer-finish, single-pack primer and top-coat or two-pack system can be adopted for the desired protection and appearance. As with the primer-finish products there is a simple one-coat alternative finish that can be applied directly onto galvanised products. Manor have a High Build Vinyl which has excellent adhesion to difficult substrates including galvanised. This can be spray, brush or roller applied and is available in numerous colours. This is an excellent product, however its main weakness being its poor chemical resistance so care should be taken in certain environments.

6. Powder Coated items.

Powder coating is a finished coating and as such has not been designed to be over-coated, even with itself. Powder coating “chips” and can get damaged like any other coating and once the substrate is exposed to the elements corrosion will begin. In terms of repair and recoating, in an ideal world the item would be shot-blasted or stripped so that a completely new coating can be applied. This is not realistic in every scenario and so some basic steps can be followed that should afford you the ability to address the issue. The surface should be sound and any loose coating and/or corrosion should be removed. The surface of the metal and surrounding powder coating should be abraded, cleaned of all contaminates and allowed to dry. We have seen some success with Manor’s high-build vinyl as a finish coating and two-pack epoxies due to their respective adhesive properties. A single pack or two-pack top-coat can then be applied over the two-pack epoxy to give U.V. resistance. Powder is produced in various chemistries, polyester powder coating is softer than a full epoxy powder and so a small area should be coated and after cure, tested for sufficient adhesion.

What paint do I need and how long will it last? These questions have been grouped together as the end location and application methods can dictate the expected performance. If the item is going to be near a coastal location or face a high amount of sunlight, careful consideration will need to be taken in terms of salt-spray and Ultra-violet resistance or the need for constant maintenance should be expected. A two-pack paint system, in terms of primer and top-coat will afford the best performance in terms corrosion and U.V. resistance but will cost more, require PPE and suitable application environment if application were via spraying. In less “hostile” environments brush and roller applied single pack paints perform well in terms of appearance and rust prevention.

What care must I take? Preparation is generally the same, remove corrosion, contaminates, grease, oil etc. Ensure any existing coating is sound and the whole area coated or un-coated is abraded. Ensure all surfaces are clean and dry. Test a small area to ensure adhesion and that there is no adverse reaction with the existing paint with the intended paint.
Some typical products and systems in relation to what we have described above. Following preparation, removing corrosion and containments, surfaces abraded and tested and ready to go.

Primer-finishes (protection and colour in one product)
Manor Zinfos340, White spirit based (mild solvent), available in numerous colours, low odour and suitable for roller or brush application. Only available in a 50% gloss level.
Rustoleum CombiColor white spirit based (mild solvent) low odour suitable for brush, roller or spray application. Available in gloss, satin or matt sheen levels.

Primer and top-coat systems,

1. Manor ZP24 zinc phosphate white spirit based (mild solvent) low odour primer available in red or grey. This can then be over-coated with Manor’s single pack polyurethane white spirit based (mild solvent) low odour gloss top-coat.
2. Avenue Zinc Phosphate primer, xylene based (fast drying) in red or grey. This can then be over-coated with Manor Fast enamel, available in a full array of colours in a full gloss.

High Performance system.

1. Sigma Sigmacover 522 is a two-pack M.I.O. epoxy primer with high corrosion properties in a green/grey metallic finish. Application by brush, roller or spray. Overcoated with Sigma Sigmadur 550H, this is a two-pack polyurethane gloss topcoat Application by brush, roller or spray.

Specialised related products.

  • Avenue Blue steel is a long establish single pack water thin-able rust converter. Milky white in appearance turns black when rust has been neutralised.
  • HMG Ferrozinc is a similar product to the blue steel. Milky white in appearance, turns brown when rust has been neutralised.
  • Ardenbrite is the best-selling metallic paint extensively used on railing finials where the bright gold appearance is desired. This is our best-selling product for railing and gate decoration as it is a true “bright metallic” and not the “bronze-gold-copper” or “pewter silver” as found on more cost-effective products.

Avenue group offer a full range of tools, abrasives, PPE, Sundries and coatings, everything you need to ensure a professional job is done.








Shipping Container and Container Conversion Paints

Did you realise just how versatile a shipping container can be? Here is how to dress it up in the colour of your choice.

At Avenue and sold on our webstore we have a range of Primer finishes (paint that is a primer/undercoat & topcoat in one) designed for shipping containers and ideal for container conversions.

The vast majority of shipping containers that arrive into the UK are single use in terms of its sea-fairing life i.e. one-way, non-returnable! A shipping containers intended use is to carry goods via a ship from one country to another in a dry, safe and secure enclosure. Not only are the shipping containers built to withstand the weight of numerous other containers and their respective contents on top on them, but they must also endure some of the toughest atmospheric conditions. Typically measured in months, a container faces the constant salt-spray from the ocean as well as exposure to the elements for the duration while in the dock and in transit before reaching their final destination. It stands to reason that the paint used to coat the containers is a functional coating that meets the demands of the environment is it likely to be subjected to.

With property, both commercial and domestic increasing in price, these same shipping containers are being transformed in many ways after their intended life-span. These containers in the past have found their way into commercial use for cheap and convenient secure storage space. Creative shipping container usages today could be as varied as a restaurant, changing rooms, garden offices through to accommodation units, the uses are limited only by imagination. This is where the term “container conversions” has arisen and a whole industry has grown.

Typically, the coating on a shipping container needs to last a minimum of three months or its transit period. The shipping containers and its coatings will usually last a lot longer if not damaged but may not be to everyone’s taste in terms of colour. A dark blue shipping container may well be suitable by the beach or if used for storage out of sight, as would a green container in a garden. The requirement to apply a coating that both protects it from the elements and enhances the viability to blend into its surroundings is available in a number of ways, for example, by cladding or the more popular option of painting.

A colour option may be offered and applied at the point of purchase by some sellers. The colour of a shipping container could then meet the visual demands of its intended environment. At Avenue we have a range of primer finishes designed for shipping containers and container conversions. These are available for spraying and also brushing or rollering. The products we offer typically incorporate a zinc phosphate additive that protects against corrosion and will be similar in terms of performance to the existing coating. At Avenue we have the ability to tint many of these products to a colour of your choice, in various size tins or we can also make and supply in touch-up aerosols.

We have a number of options when it comes to the type of paint, application method and gloss levels that are available. We offer top quality shipping container and container conversion coatings from the leading manufacturers in this field such as Manor Coating Systems (M.C.S.).

M.C.S have a range of sprayable product offering sheen levels from semi-matt to semi-gloss.
M.C.S. Zinfos 800 typically yields a gloss level of 20% semi-matt.
M.C.S. Zinfos 750 offers a 75% semi-gloss finish.
M.C.S. Zinfos 490 which gives a 40% sheen.
The variant for brush and roller application from M.C.S. is Zinfos 340 and this a 50% sheen finish. Rust-oleum’s Alkythane can be applied via spray, brush or roller and is available in gloss and satin finishes in the same multitude of colour options.

Water-based versions are also available from M.C.S. with their Akwacoat primer finish. This is a water-based primer finish, available in a semi-matt 20% sheen levels. Application is via spray, brush or roller.

All these products are primer-finishes, which in short means they offer the benefits of a primer including corrosion protection with the added benefit of colour options that may be more sympathetic to the eye.

In terms of application and preparation on an existing container; Clean the containers with a jet wash or similar and allow to dry. Remove any rust back to sound metal, removing any loose or flaky paint. Bring forward by patch priming any exposed metal areas. Sound previously painted surfaces should be lightly abraded prior to application in order to promote adhesion. Remove dust, oil or grease with panel cleaner. If using a waterborne degreaser remove fully. Apply a small amount of paint to a test area prior to painting to ensure there is no adverse reaction with the existing coating. Once the container is clean, dry and prepared as described, the coating can be applied. In a commercial setting, spraying usually means application via airless spray equipment in a suitably ventilated area with appropriate P.P.E. Any of the brushing or roller application alternatives can be used in areas where spraying is not an option

Further details on all of these products are available from or via our technical support staff on 01753 686888 / 684084 or email:





Avenue Group Colour Matching Service

Colour Matching explained.

For companies, colour consistency is a key indicator of quality and brand indentity.
People want to match colours for many reasons and at we can help.

Colour matching can be an exhausting job and there are certain steps that can be taken to avoid the cost of a bespoke colour match. This blog should provide the necessary information to help you get the right paint in the colour of your choice at a competitive price using our Mixing Room Service.


First things first

The first point of call is our colour charts listed on the website. We have placed many of the most popular colour schemes there. A word of warning, please note that the screen resolution of your device can vary and affect the colour vibrancy. We have in the past received photographs, these have been sent to us requesting the colour in the photo to be matched, this just isn’t possible. Later in this article we will explain in detail the reasons why a photo cannot be used. So here is our guide to getting the colour right.

Our Custom Mixed Colours range

If you look at a colour card (often known as fan deck) and select a colour reference, it gives us the ability to use a predetermined formulation that creates the colour chosen. There are industry recognised colour card schemes such as RAL, NCS and British Standard to name a few. These are common to most paint manufacturers giving you a wide range of colours & paint types to choose from. For example, you can see a RAL colour chart fan deck image here but this is only the tip of the iceberg. RAL themselves have introduced a new range “RAL DESIGN” which is a colour system containing 1,625 colours that brings its range up to date with the modern colour trends.

NB: The RAL “CLASSIC Range”consists of a four digit reference code. The RAL “DESIGN Range” consists of a colour code with seven digits.

Manufacturers also produce their own colour cards and the decorative market leaders such as Dulux and Johnstones can offer 1000’s of colours and give each colour a specific name, reference code and even a “Hex Colour code”. For example Dulux Cherished Gold, 20YY 36/370, #c19659. In fact, most paint producers have “their interpretations” of a competing manufacturers colours, this enable similar colours to be supplied in different paint products. Many of the large paint manufacturers produce paint on a large scale, quantities of 1000 litres plus in typically a 7-10 day lead-time. Smaller quantities and faster deliveries are offered through selected distributors, this is where tools-paint by Avenue Group really come into its own.

If after searching through the 100’s of colours swatches available in relation to the BS and RAL ranges, a colour reference is still not established, our colour matching service will be required. Following contact with the team at Avenue, we can ensure the right type of paint for the job has been selected and then offer you further colour schemes that move up a step, increasing the number of shades to 1000’s. The increased volume of shades is made available using a “colour box” which comprises of vast numbers of swatches, all with formulations and ready to be produced on our mixing machines. Here at tools-paint we call these custom mixed colours.

Unbelievably, if after going through the colour box a colour cannot be determined then it’s time to move to our sample matched colours and colour matching service. This means we will attempt to match the colour to a unique or bespoke formulation. For this we need a substrate coated in the desired colour which is flat, and ideally a minimum of 2 inches square for us to attempt to match.

Typical scenerio’s where our colour matching service has been required are as follows:

  • Where something old needs to be replaced or repaired but the original colour reference has been long forgotten.
  • An item needs to be coated and look the same as associated product, for example a Vitreous enamelled stove, which needs a matched steel surround.
  • An item originally painted or powder-coated, which requires touching-up with paint or aerosol.
  • It is a totally unique colour or has numerous variances, i.e. JCB yellow.
  • An existing colour has faded over time and now needs matching to the changed shade.

Using Database Colours

Having started in 1981, each year we match many colours for customers, these are recorded and added to our extensive database of colours. This has allowed us to help customers with machinery, plant hire equipment, agricultural, classic vehicles and many more. So if you’re looking for L90D for a VW Campervan or Takeuchi Red for a digger there is a good chance we have the formulation in our database.

So how do we match an existing colour?

As with all things in the world today there is a machine that will do the job, this is called a spectrophotometer. It interprets a colour and gives it a numerical code to enable comparison known as ΔE (Delta E). With calibrated software it is able to predict a formulation which is used to produce the desired colour. Once the paint has been mixed, it is inspected by Quality Control to see if it is a match. Final Q.C. will always be the human eye and the only way that a colour can be passed as an acceptable match.

Colour Matching by Eye

This can be seen (pardon the pun) as the best way of matching as it will be the eye which is the final arbitrator of a “good match”. The issue with matching by eye is that it is reliant on the skill and experience of the colour matcher. “Time is money” and if a match can be produced after one or two shots (attempts) then this would be seen as being excellent. For the mere mortals amongst us to get even close after ten attempts would be superb.

In short, the quickest method is to find a colour shade card that can be held to the desired colour and compared. This chosen colour can then made to a predetermined formulation.

Metameric effect

Some colours can change their appearance depending upon the light they are viewed in i.e. sunlight, fluorescent etc. For example, a car wing that has been resprayed after an accident can look pristine in the sunlight but under street lighting can be a distinctly different colour, this is called meteorism. To combat this we use an instrument called a light-box. The light box has a range of bulbs that simulate various light conditions. The correct light can then be selected and used to compare a colour match sample with the paint match produced to ensure the colour is being compared in the relevant light conditions.

Tolerance – Why is colour measurement so important?

The classic “British Standard” when it comes to colours is a great example of what we would assume is “the standard”. However, one manufacturers tolerance may be slightly lighter, while another’s may be slightly darker, both will be within “their tolerance levels” of the colour expected.

However, whilst the ΔE value might be above 1.00, for certain colour shades the difference might not be perceptible to the human eye. With some colours, for example bright Pantone or RAL shades it might not be possible to achieve a ΔE of < 1.00 because the required pigments simply aren’t available. In such cases it might be necessary to increase the tolerance figure based on what is achievable, and/or visually acceptable.


Matching a colour can be very rewarding when it has enabled us to provide our customer with a paint that can bring a drab item back to life. Hopefully this blog has laid out a step by step way to achieve this in the most cost-effective way. If you have an inquiry, our team at Avenue is on hand to take calls or emails, so please don’t hesitate to call us.







Taking some mystery away from Anti-Graffiti coatings.

Taking some mystery away from Anti-Graffiti coatings.

Are you plagued by anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, fly-posters or trespassing? On we have a number of solutions to these problems and our technical team can give advice on what products are best suited for your scenario.

We all like Banksy’s work but unsightly and offensive Graffiti is too often found at places such as bridges, underpasses, statues, walls, toilets and residential dwellings. You can take steps to prevent this with the aid of Anti-Graffiti paints, but some of the terminology used can be confusing. Terms like water-based, solvent based, single pack and two pack can be explained, making it easier to choose the correct coating for particular grievance.

Unfortunately, if you are reading this you have probably been a victim of some anti-social behaviour or want to apply a prevention rather than cure strategy.

Initial removal of graffiti is typically done using a pressure washer on porous substrates and solvents such as Anti-Graffiti liquid aerosols for non-porous substrates. Before coating with any Anti-Graffiti product, the best thing to do is check its accompanying data sheet for the technical advice it provides.

There are two main types of Anti-Graffiti Coating Solutions / Systems

Firstly, there are the super hard-wearing coatings named as such as these have been designed to be extremely durable to aggressive solvents. This means any subsequent attack of graffiti can then be removed by scrubbing with a strong solvent on a rag or using a specialised wipe, that leaves the anti-graffiti coating in place to guard against future attacks time and time again.

Coo-Var WB101 is a water-based 2-pack** for interior and exterior environments. It comes in a clear off-gloss lacquer that will allow any base colour to remain visible. This is a low-odour, fast drying coating. It will not fade or yellow when exposed to high levels of ultra violet light or support the growth of fungus. Application in by brush or short pile roller.We suggest removal of Graffiti using a strong solvent or as recommended on the datasheet Coo-Var’s “Anti-Graffiti liquid aerosols”.

Coo-Var P101 is a solvent based 2-pack for interior and exterior environments. It comes in a clear full gloss lacquer that will allow any base colour to remain visible. Application by brush or short nap mohair roller. We suggest removal of Graffiti using a strong solvent or as recommended on the datasheet Coo-Var’s “Anti-Graffiti liquid aerosols”.

Please note the super hard-wearing coatings are for use on brick walls and fencing that hasn’t been treated or painted. They can be used on a previously painted surface, if a compatible water-based paint has been applied. This can be easily tested by applying the coating to a small area first*. Do not use over the top of solvent based paints.

*In many cases you will not know what type of paint has been used on the items you are proposing to protect. It may be water-based, solvent-based or even powder coated. Again, in these circumstances a small test area is the only method of ensuring best adhesion and gaining maximum properties of the anti-graffiti coating.

 **A 2-pack product is made of two parts, an A and a B. This requires mixing the two parts together so they can react to produce the final coating. The advantage of a 2-pack product is they are typically more durable. The disadvantage is you have to use them all up in one go unless you use a mixing cup to get the ratio’s right and just decant the right amount of each.

 The second, Anti-Graffiti type we will discuss here is a coating that will not allow the paint from a graffiti attack to stick or cure to the substrate. The inability to stick allows for the graffiti to be washed off with warm soapy water. The attacker should see straight away that it is like writing on a white board.

This type of product is also popular in the fight against “flyers and bill-posters” as it does not allow glue, paint or ink to adhere to the coated substrate.

Coo-Var GP101 is a fast-drying solvent coating for exterior use. It comes in a clear full gloss or matt lacquer that will allow any base colour to remain visible. This allows for simple removal of the graffiti using warm soapy water (do not use solvent to remove a graffiti attack as this will adversely affect the products performance). Application can be brush, roller or spray.

The “pot-life”, or time before the paint cures in the tin is 2 hours. This means if the lid is left open it will dry and be unusable in just 2hrs. To avoid this simply pour out enough to do the job into a separate container and reseal the original tin as soon as possible.

This is best for use on concrete, metal and masonry where it has not been treated or pre-painted. If it has, test a small area first to ensure there is no adverse reaction. The same should be done if applying to treated or pre-painted wood, water based pre-painted surfaces and plastics. Do not use over the top of solvent based paints*

Please use the Coo-var Sealer Coat first on particularly porous and natural surfaces such as sandstone. It is a transparent sealer which offers excellent water and mildew resistance. Being acrylic based and free of volatile organic solvents this sealer is low odour, non-flammable and has low toxicity. This can also be used to minimise the darkening of sandstone and other natural stones.

Anti-intruder deterrent & Anti-climb paint

Coo-Var Vandalene is a paint that never dries and stays sticky. It makes a surface virtually unclimbable and can be used on window ledges, downpipes, brick walls and gutters or any place that can be used as a grip point to gain unauthorised access to the property. Any intruders that do come into contact with the paint will get thoroughly marked making their identification easier.

This is available in four colours, black, red, grey or green in a semi-matt finish. Also available are warning signs advising to any would-be trespasser that this coating has been applied. Application by brush or mitt. Cleaning of application equipment is by the use of white spirit or a turps substitute. Recommended for use at heights over 1.8 metres. A sealer may be required first on porous surfaces.


This information is given as guidance and no warranty or guarantee is given. We strongly suggest that you familiarise yourself with the information on each product, this is available on the relevant technical data sheets. We have offered in this blog Coo-Var products to keep things simple, at Avenue we are main distributors for many leading brands that can-do similar jobs. We hope that this information has been of use and look forward to assisting you further with all your coating requirements. If there any further questions then please feel free to contact with us on 01753 684084 or email  or

Top 5 Waterproofing products

 February 2020 saw much of the UK battered by wet windy weather as storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge blew across the country, breaking records and getting everyone thoroughly sodden in the process. While these storms caused devastating flooding and damage, they also revealed some weaknesses in roofs, renders and other exteriors that have been exposed to the elements. We at have been inundated with questions and inquiries on the best way to fix these. So, we’ve put together a handy list of the best and most appropriate solutions for this issue.

Fillcoat waterproofing & Fillcoat Fibres Waterproofing

Use: For immediate repair, even when submerged on Bituminous substrates, metal, hard PVC, polyester, glass


Product Info: These products are brilliant for closing cracks, leaks and other ways water can seep into your property. A thick repair paint that fixes holes up to 2mm instantly and can even be applied when submerged in water. Fillcoat Waterproofing can be applied to most materials: Roofing, Roofing felt, Bitumen, Asphalt, Hard PVC, Polyester, Zinc, Aluminium, Glass, Tiles. Its Bitumen-free formula is 1300% elastic. There is also a handy application kit which includes everything you’ll need to correctly apply the protective coating.


Colours: Light Grey, Dark Grey or Black (Can be overcoated with decorative finish in other colours if required)


Use: Rubber Aerosolised paint can be used on hard to reach areas. With excellent adhesion to metal, aluminium, PVC, concrete, masonry, asphalt roofing materials and more.

Product Info: Leakseal is a flexible aerosolised rubber coating which seals leaks and cracks in a variety of substrates such as bitumen roofs, guttering, pipes, chimneys and many more. It dries with a watertight semi smooth finish, suitable for recoating with latex or oil-based paints. For best results apply multiple light coats versus one heavy coat.

Colours: Available in Black, White, Aluminium and Transparent.

Zinsser WaterTite

Use: Designed to be used in cellars or basements as well as any interior or exterior masonry surface. Can be applied i

n either wet or dry conditions and can be recoated in as little as four hours.

Product Info: Guaranteed to stop water. WaterTite has a unique solvent-based formula that combines a waterproofing resin with Portland cement to create a coating that stops up to 34psi of water pressure. It also contains biocide that protects against mould &

 mildew for a minimum of 5 years. Brilliant for damp areas that are subject to fungal build-up such as cellars.

Colours: White

Murfill Waterproofing

Use: This elastic crack bridging waterproofing coating protects cracks up to 0.5mm in size, anything over 0.5mm a three-step system of Elastafill or Mur-filler followed up with Murfill Fleece to cover the hole and then coated with Murfill Waterproofing, will provide the best protection on sound surfaces.

Product Info: 100% waterproof preventing rain from entering the walls. The microporous structure ensures that substrate can continuously breathe. Being 400% Elastic coating does not blister or crack in any weather conditions and enables crack bridging which also hides old cracks and damages & makes buildings look like new. Protects reinforced concrete against carbonisation and corrosion. The finish is a beautiful long-lasting satin gloss. Priming may be required if coating over either chalking or very smooth surfaces.

Colour: Widely tintable to your choice.

Dacfill / Dacfill HZ

Use: Can be applied on Bitumen, cement, asphalt and plastic roofs. Dacfill HZ is designed for flat roofs while Dacfill is suited to sloped roofs (minimum 5% gradient).


Product info: A watertight water-based liquid membrane for roofs. Forms a lasting elastic coat without joints or seams. I

t provides a 100% watertight layer with excellent high build ability. Dacfill is resistant to UV Radiation, acid rain, heat, frost and pollution and it is even approved for asbestos encapsulating. Dacfill is designed for sloped roofs (Min 5%). Application by spray equipment, brush or roller.

Colour: Dacfill available in White, Black, Red & Grey. Dacfill Hz only in white, to reflect sunlight.

So, there we have it, our top 5 solutions for waterproofing and repair. We hope that within these ranges there is something to cover (quite literally) most issues they wet weather will have caused.

Just to make it super easy here are the best two after all that:

For touch up emergency repair look no further than the Fillcoat range. With its excellent adhesive qualities, even when

underwater. It also covers areas up to 2mm wide so is brilliant for filling bigger holes and cracks. Plus, the repair kit that is available provides everything you will need to get you out of an emergency situation.

For wider extensive repairs then the Murfill Waterproofing range is the best solution. With a wide suitability to a range of substrates as well as Murfill Waterproofing’s ability to be tinted to a range of colours this solution has most widescale application. The

 three-step solution for bigger cracks and repairs also has makes it an easily accessible and cost-effective way of repair.

As ever our technical department will be on hand to help if there is anything more specific that you need advice or guidance on then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on  01753 684084 or email

Gloves made simple

Are you finding you’ve got your hands full when choosing the correct, relevant gloves for you and your work force? The world of gloves is vast, and often confusing. There are seemingly millions of products all offering the same thing but in ever so slightly different ways.

Don’t know your foamed Nitrile from your Latex Coatings? Are you confused by Puncture resistance? Don’t worry keep reading, we’ll break it all down so you can make an informed decision.

Gloves essentially are made up of two parts. The first part is a woven fabric that forms the main body of the glove. It is this fabric that really provides the main protection as well as comfort. Often a super-treated nylon makes up the main body of the glove before it is then dipped in a coating to give them the grip and some additional protection.

The four main coatings are:

  • Latex
  • Polyurethane
  • Nitrile
  • Foamed Nitrile

These coatings improve in performance the further down the line you get, Latex gives you wet and dry grip, Polyurethane providing a low level of grip in oily and greasy protection. Nitrile coatings add an improved level of oil and grease grip but foamed nitrile with its tiny air pockets gives the best levels of oil and grease grip. There is a residual benefit of slightly enhanced heat protection from the foamed nitrile but this is not an advertised feature of the coating.

All gloves must be tested to a standard (EN388, 2003) to ensure that they reach the required performance levels. These are fairly straight forward to understand once you know ‘how to read a glove’. The Gloves are tested over four categories and scored as a result, with all tests occurring on the palm of the glove.

  • Abrasion resistance (1-4)
  • Cut resistance (1-5)
  • Tear resistance (1-4)
  • Puncture resistance (1-4)


Circled in the picture is where the Scores for the EN388 are scored, and they are scored in the order seen above, this glove for example scores 4 for abrasion, 5 for cut resistance, 4 for tear resistance and 3 for puncture resistance. There is a new EN388 standard that came into effect in 2016 and tests the gloves exactly the same except for cut resistance which is now scored from A-F. (with the score coming after the usual set of 4 numbers E.g. 4X53C) Gloves with a cut resistance of A are general multipurpose gloves, B denotes common applications in industry where medium cut resistance is required, C/D is for high cut resistance, E/F scores are for very specific high risk applications.

On all of its gloves Polyco will advertise what marks the gloves score. Either on the back of the hand (as per photo example) or sometimes they will include a little tag inside the glove. This is usually done on the gloves that have the back of hand impact protection.

So, there you have it, you should now have enough information to confidently know what factors to take into consideration when you are choosing gloves for the job. If there any further questions then get in contact with us on 01753 684084 or email

Dust Free Sanding. What is it and was Bob Dylan right?

What could Bob be thinking about here? Dust Free Sanding possibly


When Bob Dylan sang ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’ not many people would have predicted he was singing about dust free sanding, but its true the times definitely are ‘a-changin’ with an increased focus on workers health and task efficiency.

Dust free sanding is fast becoming the method of abrasion and surface preparation used by most professionals and with recent advancements it is now more accessible than ever as it is widely affordable and the equipment is incredibly user friendly, lightweight and manoeuvrable.

 So, what is dust free sanding?!

Well simply put, it is a method of surface preparation where there is an extraction feed built into the sanding unit which pulls the dust and particles away from the substrate through holes in the abrasive disks. This traps most of the dust that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere and settling either in your workshop, your lungs or worse all over the living room you’re working in! (Brilliant right?)

This process often takes less time than traditional sanding and surface preparation methods as usually there is no need to move, mask or cover items before starting your job. Add that to the brilliance of the electric sanders providing a better finish, cutting down the problems caused by excess dust and you’ll have the job finished in a flash.

A Mirka Leros in full flight.

 Now before you scramble around looking for your card so you can frantically order some dustless sanding equipment, it is worth noting that whilst it’s called a ‘dustless’ process it can never be completely dust free. There will always be fractional amounts of dust particles that do not get trapped by the system. As a result, we recommend making sure you have the correct PPE kit with you just to be on the safe side. After all, can you really afford to run the gauntlet of health problems to either yourself or your staff caused by inhaling these particles? Also, that sofa looks expensive I’d cover it up as well!

In terms of cost there is an initial outlay but for many users the effectiveness of dust free sanding soon repays the investment in equipment. It also means that multiple jobs can be worked on in a single room at the same time. This improves efficiency and reduces the time it takes to finish a project and creates more time for finding new business. For many users especially professional decorators it has taken their business to the next level.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bob Dylan is a genius. has a full range of products on offer related to Dust Free Sanding as well as a range of items for the Trade and DIY markets, be sure to check them out! 

Fire resistant paint – it’s a burning issue

Bonfire Night is almost upon us and I found myself thinking about fire and things associated with it.

Bonfire Night Thermoguard

Bonfire Night

Now I love standing outside in the cold saying ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at coloured pyrotechnics as much as the next person, enjoying the delight on my children’s faces (even if that’s more because of the hotdog in their hands than the fireworks), but when it comes to we’re verging on being the anti-Bonfire Night people.

Let me explain.

Over the weeks or months leading to the 5th of November you amass a pile of wood and try desperately to keep it dry so that when the big day comes one spark turns it into a towering inferno. on the other hand, sells a range of fire retardant paints which are specially formulated to slow down the speed at which fire spreads and minimise the amount and toxicity of the smoke and fumes. Thermoguard is one of the leading brands in this field and they have some remarkable products.

The coatings generally work by expanding once exposed to fire, creating a layer which protects the wood substrate from the blaze. They are known as intumescent coatings.

Thermocoat W 5kg

Thermocoat W

These include Thermocoat W and high build metal primer for steel and cast iron, as well as Timbercoat, Dualcoat, Fire Varnish and Thermoproof, which are designed for internal or external wood.

For walls and ceilings there is Wallcoat and Flame Retardant Anti-Graffiti Bond and there is even the self-explanatory Thermoguard Asbestos Encapsulating Coating.

Thermoguard Fire Varnish

Thermoguard Fire Varnish Overcoat

These combine to produce an incredible fire resistant coating to which can be added a variety of specialist topcoats – in the colour of your choice – to give the finish you require.

Of course, if you’re in charge of the fire on Bonfire Night, it goes without saying not to use wood coated with Thermoguard products – you’ll still be there long after the kids and the hotdogs have gone cold!

NB For more information on fire resistant paints, call our experts on 01753 684084. sells paint, protective coatings and all related items. Whether you are a tradesperson or DIYer we have the paint you need at the right price.