Painting and decorating is a great way to make your property look and feel like your home.
You can add your own taste and look to any room, and choose to decorate in a way that works for you.
Done properly painting and decorating will add value to your home both financially and personally making it a great place to live.
Use the tips below to help make painting a decorating an easy, fun thing to do by making the DIY tasks simple and quick.
Preparation is the most important thing when painting, make sure to remove and repair any damaged or rotten material before painting.
Having a good solid base to work on means the finish will be much better and last a lot longer than if you don’t.
Sanding mouldings and small intricate shapes can be a long process, use preformed foam or a cork block to make sanding curves easier and create your own shapes by using off-cuts.
Stick sandpaper to the face of the moulding you want to copy, then holding the moulding firm rub the foam over it until it takes the shape, then using some light contact adhesive stick sandpaper to the foam and the sand the moulding.
Use a really high grit wet & dry paper (500+) to rub down between topcoats to give a glass-like finish, rub once dry then once wet and wipe clean with a clean lint-free cloth or kitchen towel.
When masking off before painting use ‘Fog Tape’ for accurate clean lines and always remove the tape well before the paint dries, this way you will create a clean fresh line.
If you wait too long the paint will more than likely stick to the tape and tear away leaving a rough damaged edge.
When masking awkward areas like door hinges or handles, use some Vaseline, as paint won’t adhere to it, then wipe them clean when you finish.
Keep brushes wrapped in cellophane or clingfilm between applying coats of paint, this way they won’t dry out and you won’t have to wash them out every time you use them.
Note: don’t leave them wrapped for more than a week otherwise the paint can harden and it will be a difficult and messy job to clean them properly. (see our next tip)
Cleaning old brushes in warm vinegar, fill an old jar and tie/tape a nail across the handle the brush and leave to soak in the jar, then use an old fork to rake out the old paint, you may need to do this a couple of times for really stubborn paint, then rinse under some clean with fresh water.
Once clean you can use a cable tie to hold the bristles in shape whilst they dry out.
Using a professional quality brush with natural bristles will get you fantastic results and is better than buying a cheaper brush only to have it shed bristles and last half as long.
Check the quality of the brush look for a quality wooden handle and try folding the bristles over at 90 degrees against the palm of one hand, all the bristles should bend evenly with no breaking and return to a relaxed straight position when released.
Keep clean brushes in a cool dry place and wrap a cable tie around the bristle to help them keep their shape, avoid pulling the tie too tight and don’t use rubber bands as they can degrade over time and can make a mess of the brush.
Rollers and trays
When painting a room you will probably need several coats that need to dry fully before re-application, keep rollers and trays wrapped in a plastic carrier bag or cellophane to keep them moist overnight. It will save you wasting paint and having to wash them every time.
If you have a large area to paint choose a larger roller. A 12” wide head will cover 30% more than a standard 9” meaning that you will spend less time refilling the head and rolling.
You can line your paint tray with cellophane before you load it with paint, and when you are finished for the day unwrap it and simply throw the cellophane away, saving you lots of time and hassle cleaning the tray.
Use a long-handled or telescopic roller to reach high spots and ceilings, this saves you having to climb up and down ladders and makes painting much quicker and safer.
Before you open a new tin of paint stick either masking tape or white sticky labels to the side of the tin, then when you pour out the amount you need make a mark and date the level remaining, this way when you come back next time you will know how much paint you have left and when it was last used, saving you having to open the tin or running out halfway through a job.
Always transfer paint from the original tin into another tub for painting, then replace the lid. I use an ice cream tub, this way you can avoid contaminating the paint with bits, loose bristles and debris picked up during the day.
Use a couple of small screws and some string or wire to wipe the excess from your brush. Put two small holes near the top of the paint tub opposite each other, then wind in the screws and tie the string around them and across the open surface of the tub this will keep the brush away from the edge and keep the tub clean avoiding mess.
You can use a heavy-duty rubber band instead but these can slip off and break.
An old trick to help remove the smell of fresh paint is to put half an onion in the same room, I am not sure if the smell of onion is much better than fresh paint but give it a try, oh and open as many windows as possible to let the fresh air in.
If you need to use up old gloss paint it can usually be reinvigorated by thinning with a little white spirit and then straining through muslin or an old pair of tights.
Avoid issues with paint finishes by removing moisture in the room, try to keep the area well ventilated to help avoid fumes and smells, this will also help avoid hazing or blooming which occurs when painted areas are affected by condensation.
To cover and stop water stains coming through ceilings or walls, use an oil-based paint before covering with emulsion.
Treat freshly plastered walls and ceilings with two or three light ‘Milk coats’ also called ‘Mist coats’, to create a good surface for the emulsion to take to, mix up some cheap white emulsion with water 50/50 then apply with a large roller, remember to go slowly and cover floors with old blankets to avoid splashing.
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