Painting tips

Apart from the years of experience I have as an interior decorator, a number of years ago I worked in the paint department of a store similar to B&Q.  In that job, not only did I learn a great deal about the kind of painting problems that customer’s have and how to resolve those problems, but I also had extensive technical training on the paints I sold.

1.  Yellowing Woodwork

Have your white doors and skirting boards gone yellow?  The likely reason is they were painted using an oil based paint.  It is the oil in the paint that makes the paint go yellow.  You probably know that oil based paints are not environmentally friendly and cleanup is with white spirit.  YOU NEVER NEED TO USE OIL BASED PAINTS AGAIN.  It is now commonplace to use water based gloss and water based satin on wood which does not yellow in the same way as oil based paints do.

2.  Dark Coloured Paint

Did you know that the darker the colour of a paint, the longer the paint takes to dry?  Ignore drying times at your peril. The darkest colours must dry overnight between coats even if the recommended drying time on the tin of paint says less time than this.

Here is a story. I had a call from someone that had painted an interior wall black.  It didn’t cover well so this person painted the wall again and again and again.  The caller told me that after several days the paint still hadn’t dried.   Conclusion:  The paint will never dry.  The underneath coats were not fully dry before they were re-painted and they cannot  dry because they are sealed in.  This is a very difficult problem to resolve.

3.  Paint Shines When Painting Walls

I always recommend painting walls using VINYL paint which is a water based paint that is more durable than standard emulsion.  Vinyl paints usually come in VINYL MATT OR VINYL SILK.  For walls, I often recommend using  VINYL MATT as it is much more forgiving of any imperfections in walls.  This is particularly relevant for older houses.  However, in bathrooms and hallways, a silk finish may be more appropriate as silk  paint is more durable and easier to clean than matt paint.

4.  Hardening Times of Paint for Wood

Paints, particularly water based paints, will often dry to touch in an hour or two.  However paint for wood takes a month to fully harden so be gentle with freshly painted surfaces.

5.  Painting Radiators

Radiators are a bit of an eyesore.  If you are colouring your walls, why not paint the radiator the same colour as the wall? In the past it was commonplace to purchase a litre of oil based paint for the radiators.  You do not need to do that any more.  You can paint the radiator with the same paint as the walls, then apply a clear water based sealer specifically made for radiators.  If you use this sealer the wall paint on the radiator may crack and chip. Give me a call and I will tell you the manufacturer of this specialist paint.

6.  Painting Ceilings

Painting ceilings is a tough job and it is easy to have a patchy result.  These days, certain paint manufacturers offer ceiling paint that goes on pink and dries white.  However, professional painters don’t usually use these products.  Professional painters start painting from the window so that the light from the window will show what areas have been painted.  Note for DIYers it is much easier to do a good painting job on a ceiling in good daylight on a sunny day.

7.  Painting New Plaster

It is absolutely pointless trying to paint new plaster too soon.  The plaster must be completely dry before you start painting or the paint will come off later.  Ideally you should wait several weeks or even months for the plaster to dry.  You may remember that years ago if you bought a new house, the walls weren’t painted for six months.  Many times I have seen the results of painting newly plastered walls too soon.  The water pushes the paint off the wall.  As I tell my customers.  There are two reasons why paint comes off walls.  Damp and damp.  Damp from rising damp or penetrating damp and damp newly plastered walls being painted too soon.

Once the plaster is dry, you need to paint the new plaster with matt emulsion that is watered down.  This is called a mist coat.  I do one part water to three parts emulsion but the instructions on the paint container often states that 10% water is recommended.   It has been proven than watering down the emulsion allows the emulsion and ultimately the other coats of paint to adhere better than not watering the emulsion down at all.   Once this  mist coat is dry, you can apply any paint you like over it or wallpaper.

There is paint on the market that can be used on wet plaster for those who cannot wait for the plaster to dry but I am are sceptical about this product.

8.  Where to Purchase Your Paint – probably the most important tip on my list

I recommend that clients shop for their paint at SPECIALIST PAINT SHOPS used by the trade.   As mentioned before, I recommend using vinyl paint on the walls and to be environmentally friendly and for ease of cleanup, use acrylic paint on your woodwork (with water cleanup).

9.  Paint an Area Once

A common mistake made by DIYers when painting is that if an area looks patchy, they will go over it again immediately.  The problem is that if you keep going over and over the same area, you can create a mottled ‘orange peel’ look or even worse, the wet paint may stick to your roller and you will have destroyed a smooth wall.  You are far better off, painting a wall once and re-coating once the paint is fully dry. Two thin coats are always better than one thick coat.  I am not a fan of the one coat paints on the market.

10.  Painting off a Wet Edge

What this means is that you must keep painting so that the area that has just been painted is still wet.  You need to always paint off a wet edge to prevent overlap marks.   You must never stop painting in the middle of a wall. If you have to stop painting for some reason, stop at a corner. Where this is not possible,  you could feather the paint as far as possible.

11.  Painting Over Filler

For a good result you may have to prime or undercoat over the top of filler.  Then paint as usual.  If you don’t do this you may be able to see where the area has been filled.  The exception to this are the very light-weight fillers which you can very successfully paint straight over the top without priming.

12.  Removing Masking Tape

Take masking tape off as soon as you have finished painting.  You may get paint on your hands, but the tape will come off much more easily.  If you need to do two coats, take the tape off after the second coat very carefully.  If the paint is sticking to the masking tape at all, use a utility knife to cut the paint.

13. Painting Tiles

There are special paints for painting over tiles and they are usually oil based so cleanup is with white spirit.  The secret for success is to ensure that the tiles are ‘squeaky clean’.  Kitchen tiles are often greasy and this grease must be removed totally.  One manufacturer recommends using grout cleaner for the grout lines and a cleaner containing bleach for the tiles.  However, don’t use cream cleansers as they leave behind a residue and the paint won’t stick to it.

14.  Covering Stains

Don’t underestimate the difficulty in painting over an area where there has been a water leak or other stains such as felt pen.  If you have had a leak, obviously the leak must have been fixed and the walls fully dry.  There are various specialist paints on the market for covering stains. I find that spray paint for covering stains is not as effective as tins of paint to be brushed on. Give me a call and I will tell you which one I use.

15.  Painting Over Old Paint

Many times I go to homes where the paint is old and the paint is peeling.  The reason for this is usually because the previous painter did not sand the painted surface properly and/or prime the surface using the correct primer before painting.  For the best results when painting over old paint, I like to sand the surface, apply a specialist primer then apply a water based paint designed for use on wood.  As mentioned above, water based paints will not yellow in the same way that oil based paint do.


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