The secret is to make sure you have the right product for the task you’re doing, prepare properly and have the correct tools to hand. You must check the paint you choose is appropriate for the surface or area you are decorating to ensure long-lasting results.
It is vital to prepare correctly before you start to get a good end result with smooth walls and solid colour coverage.
- Fill all dents, holes and cracks in walls.
- Wash down surfaces with sugar soap as it cleans away grease, dirt and nicotine, and provides a good surface on which to paint.
- Gather all tools, products and protective clothing you will need for the whole job, so once you start, you can keep going.
Clear your working space. Remove all furniture or pull it away from the walls to give yourself space to work. Remove all pictures and mirrors. Cover everything with a dust sheet including floors right up to the skirtings and protect the tops of your skirting boards with masking tape. Tape round plug sockets and light switches, too.
Stir your paint thoroughly and decant some into a small paint kettle or clean container. Dip a brush in the paint – the bristles should be about one-third covered. Don’t overload the brush or the paint will run, but don’t have too little either. You will get the hang of how much you need as you work.
Keeping a steady hand, use the brush to paint round all the edges of the room - this is known as cutting in - at the top of the wall, at the bottom where it meets the skirtings, and the corners where two walls meet. Also go round all window frames, plug sockets and light switches – all the places a roller can’t get to easily.
Tip paint into the reservoir in a tray and load a roller by dipping it lightly in the paint and roll gently on the ribbed part of the tray to coat. Don’t overload the roller. Apply the paint in a W shape to get good even coverage. Remember paint can look very patchy as it dries, so don’t worry. Let the first coat dry thoroughly before applying the second.
Have a damp cloth at hand at all times so if you get paint where you don’t mean to, you can wipe it off immediately. Never let it dry as it will take a lot longer to clean it off.
Emulsion is used on interior walls and is available in a huge range of colours. The main properties of emulsion are:
- Available in matt (flat) finish or silk/soft sheen that has a slightly shiny surface. Matt emulsion marks more easily than silk, but disguises imperfections better. Silk is harder wearing, so is ideal for high-traffic areas such as hallways.
- Covers plaster, wallpaper, brick, stone, concrete and previously-painted surfaces.
- You can clean brushes and tools without chemicals as it is water-based. Just use water.
- One-coat emulsions are also available which are slightly thicker in consistency, hence only needing one coat. Be aware that coverage may be less than standard emulsion.
This is for interior woodwork such as doors and skirting boards. Its main properties are:
- The solvent base makes it harder wearing than other water-based paints.
- Available in different finishes – typically gloss, satin or eggshell.
- It is thicker than water-based paints, so is more difficult to apply. Stir thoroughly before use and avoid overloading the brush. Always finish with very light strokes in the direction of the grain and don’t go over an area that has started to dry, or you will leave brushstrokes in the paintwork.
- Make sure you rub down with fine sandpaper in between coats.
- Tools must be cleaned with white spirit.
Kitchen and bathroom paint
This is specially formulated for use on walls in humid areas. It has a mid sheen appearance when dry and has good moisture and grease-resistant properties. It will withstand cleaning well, too.
These are relatively new and have a formulation that allows them to be painted onto lots of different surfaces. This means you only need the one paint to cover walls, ceilings, radiators and woodwork.