Things you need to know before painting with Farrow & Ball

I have been admiring dark interiors for a while now. If you are ever on Pinterest or Instagram you will have noticed dark interiors are everywhere!! I always thought dark colour would make the space look small and closed in, so I was always scared to use it in our home.  I then saw a photo on Instagram and fell in love with a colour.. It turned out to be Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball.

Image from Rockett St George: Extraordinary Interiors by Jane Rockett and Lucy St George, photography by Debi Treloar, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

I have painted so many rooms in my life and always kind of played it safe with lighter tones.  I promised myself I would be ‘braver‘ with my colour choices and since seeing this colour I could not get it out of my head.  The only problem was the price tag – as you know I love a good bargain and this paint is not the cheapest by far!

I bought my sample pot and painted a piece of paper and moved it around the room. I LOVED it, it was a lovely mixture between dark blue and green!

I finally took the plunge and bought the Estate Emulsion and ordered a tin of Estate Eggshell for the woodwork and radiator. My bank account cried for a moment, but I kept telling myself it will be worth it!

I prepped the walls and the paint was honestly lovely to work with, even the first coat covered the  wall nicely.

The second coat sealed the deal for me. I then turned my attention to woodwork and radiator. I was so happy to see the white monstrous radiator finally disappear as it ‘blended in’ with the wall.

After a few days I  started to panic…  the eggshell was still tacky.. WHY oh why?? I thought I had spent all this money and the paint was not even dry!! Then a few funny patches appeared on the walls.. I thought I was doomed – first time using this paint and everything went wrong.

Instead of trying to guess and remedy it myself, I got in touch with F&B customer services team, who gave me the following advice.

1. Estate Emulsion. Oily/wet looking patches on the walls.

Farrow & Ball kindly explained that this was called Surfactant Leaching (sounds like a disease doesn’t it?). Surfactants (an ingredient that is used to stabilize paints liquid form) usually evaporate readily from the paint film when the drying conditions are good or they are locked into the paint film.

Poor drying conditions include cold substrates, cool air temperatures, high humidity and a lack of air circulation/ventilation or any combination of these. Surfactant leaching is often encountered when a newly painted room is not given sufficient time to dry thoroughly before it is subjected to adverse conditions that can trigger the effect.

Remedial Advice

Rinsing with fresh water can help to wash it away. On interior surfaces, the leached material can be easily removed within a week (allow the paint film to fully cure and harden 2 weeks from painting) by washing with a mild soapy solution and a soft cloth or sponge, followed by a thorough rinse with clean water. Care must be exercised when washing to prevent damage to the soft or uncured paint film. Under severe conditions surfactant leaching may reappear once or twice until all the surfactant has been removed.

If the paint is washed off, the wall may require repainting.

2. Estate Eggshell.  Paint was still tacky even though it appeared dry!

Apparently this is also a normal occurence especially with darker paints.  I simply thought I had done something wrong and the paint had not dried.  I could not find any information why this was happening, but thankfully I was told that drying and curing is two totally different things. The paint may have dried, but it does not mean it has cured completely, hence the tacky feel… It could actually take up to 4 weeks to cure completely!! So if you are experiencing the same issues, don’t panic it can all be rectified!

P.S Go check out what I did with the paint tin when it was empty!!


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