This paint stinks!!!!

Postby thedoctor » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:27 am

Hi folks,

Just received another update from the Crown Paint PR agency. Keep your comments flying in as this post is helping a great many people. Doc

The email from Crown PR agency reads:

Our research team continues to investigate the odour issues being registered in relation to our products but despite a number of site visits and exhaustive laboratory testing we have not yet been able to replicate the problem. Nevertheless we continue to explore all possibilities and to this end we have engaged the services of an independent, accredited professional organisation to supplement our own efforts. We continue to encourage any dissatisfied customers to contact us directly via our Paint Talk helpline (0870 2401127) or via email on so that we may investigate their individual situation. We will continue to share our findings with you as our studies progress.

Crown Paints Customer Services Department
Last edited by thedoctor on Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Simply Build It

Postby Sweet Sue » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:50 pm


Tesco finally got back to me. Apparently they have lost my sample. I offered them another as I originally had 2 tins with little bits left in but they said not to bother. They also sent me a Tesco gift card for £30.00 which considering I had already been refunded for the paint by the store isn't too bad.

Their advice was to buy some fresh paint and paint over the smelly stuff. I did half my bedroom last Thursday and the other half at the weekend. I know you should do it all in one go but it just wasn't possible.

The original cat wee smell has gone so far. However, although my window is open at night just a little it smells a bit like a hamster cage in the morning. There is no smell when the window is closed.

As I have the same issue in my lounge I intend to do a repaint this weekend if I can persuade my offspring to sleep at their girlfriends! The worst part of the lounge was the cupboard under the stairs which I have already painted and it does seem to be improved.

I am considering putting a second coat on my bedroom walls to see if I can improve on the odour in there.

By the way, I bought some fresh grapefruit on Saturday - that is a more accurate description of my smell that cat wee.

I will post an update in a week or two so people know whether just to buy a new can of paint and redo the job.
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Postby thedoctor » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:21 pm

Hello again people;

As you know we have been monitoring this post very carefully and have been contacting Crown on your behalf. Until now we have only had responses from the PR Agency that Crown use, but nothing from Crown themselves.

I received a call yesterday from the Crown Customer Services Director during which we discussed the problem at length. As you will see from the email below, I have been invited to visit the Crown laboratory to take a look at the experiments which are being done to try and identify the problem you are all experiencing. I will report this experience on my return.

Having spoken to their Director, I genuinely believe Crown are doing all they can to resolve this situation. Crown paints have a great reputation, not least for customer service, and the email below underlines this point.

We would be very pleased to receive your comments on the email from Crown and can guarantee that we will raise any further issues with them, on your behalf.

The Email from Geraldine Huxley ( Crown Customer Services Director) is below.


Mike Edwards
Business Development Director

Mike Edwards
Business Developement Director
DIY Doctor

Hi Mike

Thanks for your time this morning and for taking the trouble to keep me appraised of the situation from your side. It was very helpful for me to gain your perspective on the matter.

Having now talked it through, I can perfectly understand how some of our customers who visit your forum, may perceive that there has been little or no action on the part of ourselves in recognising their plight. On this we apologise, as this is absolutely not our intention.

As I explained, the situation is very much the contrary as we have been in direct dialogue with a number of our customers, carrying out rigorous tests in both our laboratories and their homes. As also mentioned, so far we have been unable to replicate the symptoms and therefore have now enlisted the services of a third party agent to carry out further independent tests. Again to reassure you and our customer we really are doing everything we can.

From our brief conversation I hope that I’ve been able to convey to you the level of our concern and hope that you will pass this on. I’m also pleased that you have accepted an invitation to visit our laboratories in order to see firsthand the steps we are taking to understand the issues being experienced.

As agreed, I’ve included my contact details and I look forward to meeting you in the near future. In the meantime, I’m happy for you to share our response on your forum and in doing so hope this will go some way to reassure our customers.
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Postby KM » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:07 pm

DIY Doctor,

Thank you for the update and it is good to see that Crown are at least looking into the problem. I am in Ireland and I have finally got the Customer Service department to agree to come to my home and inspect the room and collect samples of the paint for testing. I am no expert in the area of paint but this is a serious issue that Crown at least need to accept some responsibility for. It could possibly be even a health risk to be in rooms that are giving off these terrible odors and god knows what else. All I want is a resolution to the problem that ensure neither my or my family are at risk in any way from the odors coming from the walls.

I invited the Crown Customer services manager to take a sample of the plasterboard in my house which has been painted with their paints away with them to analyse but they dismissed this. I would have thought that this would be a logical thing to do.

We have been unable to use our room for over two months now and the latest from their CS department is that when the CS manager comes back from holidays they will send someone out to inspect (however I was told that the person calling out would not be an expert in terms of assessing what is causing the problem) and collect samples of the paint.

I am hoping to get a resolution to this issue soon.

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Postby Michelle26 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:02 pm

Been reading this thread for a little while. My situation very similar to alot of others. Decorated my 3yr olds bedroom 2 weeks ago with Homebases own paints, which I have now discovered are manufactured by Crown. Pretty much straight away I became aware of this smell that I really thought was gas. We had taken off the radiator to paint so I was very close to getting the gas people out. The smell comes and goes, definitely stronger when heating is on or sun is on the room. Hoped it would go altogether but has not as yet so I shall be passing my details on to the Crown Paint line for further investigation.
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Postby TheDoctor4 » Tue May 04, 2010 4:38 pm

Hi Michelle26

Can you please tell us where you got the information pertaining to Crown producing Home Base own brand paints from?

Having spoken to Crown paints they have categorically stated that they do not sell their products under any other brand name.

It would therefore be very interesting to find the source of this information!
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Postby LILYSDAD » Thu May 06, 2010 8:33 am

Two weeks of ammonia smell in my house after painting with BREATHEASY. I ve had tests completed by crown who reported back that no problems were found . I am currently awaiting advice from other sources ...The list of people affected is growing and i cant believe that simple tests cannot highlight the problem ..I just wanted Crown to put the matter right ,it would seem good customer service to do so...we cant all be idiots...will keep you informed.A big thank you to diydoctor for giving us this support..
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Postby KM » Mon May 10, 2010 9:52 pm

Well a Crown representative called to the house today to collect samples and surprise surprise he maintains he could smell nothing. Do they think we are idiots? We haven't used the room for two months because of the smell and he says he can't smell anything.... He is returning on Thursday with a colleague as the smell is much worse when the sun has been shining into the room and it was cold and wet today. I'm annoyed now with this whole issue! I just want it sorted and soon!!!!
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Postby TheDoctor4 » Thu May 13, 2010 3:35 pm

Greetings All!!

As you may be aware, DIY Doctor recently accepted an invitation to visit the Crown Paints head office and scientific laboratories in Lancashire to observe the efforts being undertaken to resolve the smelly paint issue.

The meeting in question took place on Tuesday the 11th of May 2010.

For an update click on the following link and visit our news page:

DIY Doctor has also been filmed by BBC Watchdog and we will let you know when this episode will be aired.
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Postby buttonmoon » Fri May 14, 2010 2:00 pm

This topic is a lifesaver, I have previously been driven loopy by the cat pee smell.
I decorated my bedroom in October 2008 and since then if I open any upstairs windows get the stench. I had been suffering warm days and nights with the wondows closed just to escape the smell.

I painted my room with crown emulsion in 'liqeur' colour on top of polycell smooth over as my plastered walls are from the 1960's.

Next stop a call to Crown although I will NEVER use their paint again ( only did this time as Dulux didn't have a shade I liked).
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Postby LMS » Fri May 14, 2010 8:36 pm

Hi everyone with stinky paint problems

Thankgoodness I found this forum, thought I was going crazy. We had our living room decorated useing Trade Crown Matt Emulsion about 3 weeks later we had THE SMELL. Like lots of others have had TRANSCO out to check gas leak (surprise, surprise NO leak). I agree it is worse when the sun shines. Watchdog is doing a feature about the problem next week (May 20th). Has the problem anything to do with what paint was already on the walls, think ours was Dulux Softsheen.
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Postby emmal781 » Fri May 14, 2010 9:03 pm

So pleased I found this site (although not as pleased as the cat)!
We have exactly the same problem as everyone else. Used Crown Breatheasy matt emulsion in our hallway/stairs/landing. The smell appeared the following day (once dry) and is definitely made worse on a sunny day with the windows open. We decorated a month ago and hoped that the smell would go but it hasn't altered at all.
I phoned Crown this morning and have had several phone conversations with them since. They were sympathetic on the phone and very helpful but led me to believe that this wasn't a common problem. Our main issues are as follows:
1/ Our children are asmathic (aged 1 and 2). They cannot tolerate a week of the strong smell from the sealant which Crown have told us to overpaint with. The Crown 'scientist' that I spoke to said that the children should not be in the house whilst the smell lingered. What am I supposed to do then? Will Crown pay for alternative accomodation for a week? Unlikely!
2/ I cannot attempt to mask the smell with air freshners due to the children's asthma.
3/ My house is like a prison due to all the doors having to be constantly shut to block out the smell from the centre of the house. This is also damaging my newly glossed (and not smelly) doors as my cat is constantly scratching at them to try and open them!!!!!
4/ I do not have the gift of time in being able to redecorate quickly and easily myself, albeit at Crowns expense. It took me 3 months to decorate it first time, only being able to do the odd hour here and there with two toddlers taking up all my time! If I had to paint on the sealant in small stages when I had time my children would have to move out for months!!!

I feel that a fair solution would be for Crown to appoint a professional to complete the job on their behalf. That way it would minimise disruption to my children and ensure that it was done in the quickest time possible. Surely this should be fine considering it was such an 'uncommon' problem!!!!!!

The smelly paint problem is being aired on BBC's Watchdog next Thursday. I guessing it would be helpful if people with similar problems let them know.

Sorry for the rant but I'm really hacked off now!!!!
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Postby thedoctor » Mon May 17, 2010 11:35 am

Hi people, since our press release we have found out that the Watchdog program will be screened next Thursday night (27th) on BBC 1 at 8pm.

There have been many more replies to the emails we sent out for feedback and it seems that more and more paint brands are coming out of the woodwork. It is not just Crown paints, Its all of them !! This entirely backs up Crowns theory of an Industry problem with something in the walls themselves being at fault but at the same time the assertion that it is only Matt emulsion is taken to task. Keep your posts coming in on this intriguing problem.

Here are some of the latest feedback mails sent to DIY Doctor:

I realised after talking to Crown that one of my offending paints was actually from Dulux not Crown, the other was from Tesco and to the best of my knowledge is nothing to do with Crown. So although I responded to the e mail from Watchdog I have heard no more.
However, the problem is not restricted to Crown and I would have thought that Watchdog should aknowledge this fact. If their programme discourages customers from using Crown paints and then they have the same issues with another brand they will receive lots of complaints.

Tesco told me to paint over it with fresh paint which has improved the situation somewhat although its a bit musty (hamster cage like) in the mornings! No mention of using a sealant first.
The dulux paint is in another room and I have repainted part of it but not all.

I can't help but wonder if we are missing something - a connection between whats going on?

My Tesco paint is in a bedroom and the Dulux is in the lounge which is underneath it.
The Tesco paint was unaffected by the sun but stank when the window was open or a draught created - like leaving the front door open for a while.
The lounge smells after leaving the window open but also when the sun is on it.
In the lounge is an understairs cupboard which also smells. No sun there but it smells inside when I go to get something out. If the cupboard door is left open for a period of time it stinks the room out.

In both rooms the walls have been painted in matt emulsion after silk emulsion that was applied within the last 5 years. The original paint would have been either Dulux or Crown as I hadn't tried Tesco paint until recently.
All the paint, old and new is in the cream/beige spectrum.
The paint in the lounge is the same as I used a few years back in the downstairs toilet which has not been affected by this problem. Have they changed the recipe?
Lastly, I don't know if there is a connection but both ceilings were painted using Focus goes on pink dries white matt emulsion on top of Crown goes on pink silk emulsion.

I look forward to hearing more on the website.

My house was built in the 1960's and the plaster is the original and previously papered in the 11 years I have lived here (and long before that), I did not paint on to old paint as the plaster was quite damaged so actually used Polycell Smooth Over first. And it is also the silk emulsion not matt.


Hi Mike

I refer to your point 3 in your latest newsletter on the Crown paint problem.

I too had this problem. I painted 3 rooms in my house. 2 with Crown paint, 1 with Dulux. The 2 with Crown gave off this smell. One of the rooms was newly built and had never been painted, it was bare plastered walls. The other I was repainting over previoulsy painted walls, which were orginally painted in Crown retail paint.

I have posted on your site and thats when I found out about where the smell in my house was coming from. I thought I was going mad before I found your site and I had drains, gas etc checked and the builders back out. So thanks for returning my sanity!

When I intially called Crown they said they had never come across this problem, but when the reps came out and I showed them the print offs from your site, they agreed to investigate, they also acknowledged the odour in my house. Crown did pay for my painter to repaint the problem areas (they offered this without me asking) and they also paid for Dulux paint as I did not want to use Crown. Although I did have to move out while the Akaline Sealer was getting applied as I had a baby and a toddler and the smell was lethal!!

The problem is gone now, although I do think there is a sort of chemical smell in the room now, but I presume that is the sealer and at least it doee not smell gassy!

So you see I have come across this problem with bare unpainted walls and painted walls.

Hope this helps in your research.

On one other point Mike. On Crown paint saying they did not check these social networking sites - when their 2 reps came out to my house they did not know anything about this problem and the Area Manager for Scotland was shocked my what was on your site. When they sent their technical guy up to see me from down South, he acknowledged that they were montoring the posts on your site but they were not replying to people. He also acknowledged that he had come across this problem before and thats how he knew the akaline sealer worked!! When I originally phoned their Paint Talk Helpline the customer adviser said they had never heard of this problem before, which annoyed me as I knew from your site, I was not the only one. All seems a bit odd!!

Last edited by thedoctor on Mon May 17, 2010 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby thedoctor » Mon May 17, 2010 11:37 am

Can someone answer this guys question please. Many of you will know which sealer works best.

We are having the same problem as many others on your web-site, with smelly emulsion paint (though it is Johnstone’s paint, rather than Crown or any of the other brands you list).

You mention that the problem can be resolved by painting over the offending area with “alkaline sealer” and then re-painting with emulsion paint. But I can’t find anywhere that sells “alkaline sealer”. What is it, and where can you get it from?
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Postby DMinDublin » Tue May 18, 2010 11:44 am

thedoctor wrote: But I can’t find anywhere that sells “alkaline sealer”. What is it, and where can you get it from?

I've just been advised by Crown to get this: ... Primer.pdf

Then overpaint with another emulsion colour.
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