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D.I.Y - Painting!

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Some people love to decorate their own homes! The excitement of shopping for those unique colours and finishing off a project yourself is exhilarating - but actually pulling off a flawlessly decorated finish can be incredibly challenging if you have never tried before. In this blog, we would like to share some of the best professional tips for achieving a professional looking finish every time you decide to pull out the old overalls! Grab the brushes and rollers and lets get started!


As with most tasks, ensuring you prepare efficiently is key to your success and is often rushed. A smooth and blemish free wall will allow for a smooth and blemish free paint job. However, a cracked and lumpy wall will get you nothing but a cracked and lumpy finish.


Step 1 - Preparing Your Work Space

Ensure the room or area you wish to paint is clear of furniture and other unnecessary obstructions. Cover the floor and any objects you cannot move but wish to remain paint-free with dust sheets or something similar that you can remove and dispose of once your work is complete. Keeping your workspace as clear as possible will help you to avoid any unnecessary accidents where tripping over objects could occur. It will also ensure that all areas are accessible as you begin to paint.


Step 2 - Prepare Surfaces

Remove all existing wallpaper first. The idea is to strip everything back to the plaster, then you can either use new wallpaper, or paint the plastered surface. Removing wallpaper can be difficult. Use a steamer to loosen adhesives before you begin scraping. Gently scratching the paper to allow the steam to penetrate where there are no joins can also make life significantly easier. Removing wallpaper can be a nightmare of a task and needs an entire tutorial of its own! The same goes for applying new wallpaper. Please keep following our blog pages for instant access to more free tutorials and guides to help you with your D.I.Y home improvement ventures!


Step 3 - Mist Coating And Priming

An initial mist coat or plaster sealant should have been applied to the plaster on any existing walls. As plaster is a powder-based substance, it will soak up the moisture in your paint which may cause discolouration and patchiness. Painting a freshly plastered room to a professional standard always requires mist coating or sealing first to prevent your final coat of paint soaking into the plaster. The mist coat can be achieved by using a watered-down, white emulsion paint (roughly 3 parts paint to 1 part water), or a plaster sealant of some kind. Give all new plaster a thick, single coat and allow it to soak in and dry before applying your first 'normal' coat of paint. Once the mist coat is applied to a newly plastered surface, the colour will help to reveal blemishes and imperfections. This step is very important and cannot be skipped!


Similarly, when re-decorating an old existing wall, it is good practice to undercoat with a white emulsion, an undercoat or a primer as this will also help to reveal blemishes and imperfections and provide a white background to emphasize your final chosen colour. When we are dealing with old existing walls, an oil-based primer is a fantastic option. These primers have superior stain blocking capabilities, and will keep any old stains from bleeding through into the new paint. Oil-based primers are also great at sealing out moisture, which can be a major problem for old plaster walls. A good primer can often conceal small blemishes and cracks that you might otherwise waste time trying to fix. Either way, once your chosen undercoat is dry, it's time to get started on step 4!


Step 4 - Rectifying Cracks, Holes And Blemishes

Start by filling any cracks or holes using a caulk or filler fit for purpose. Allow sufficient time for any filling substances to dry, then begin sanding and preparing your walls and ceilings until they are smooth and blemish free. A fine grit sandpaper is ideal for smoothing over any uneven surfaces and removing any excess filling substances. Once all surfaces are smooth and blemish free, a final wipe with a damp cloth can help to remove any dust and ensure your paint sticks evenly. Let everything dry thoroughly and then we are ready for the top coat!


Tip: using new brushes and rollers will ensure a better finish - avoid the cheap stuff! Cheap rollers and brushes can leave behind unwanted 'fluff' or 'bristles'.

Pay attention to the type of brushes and rollers used for specific types of paint. Natural bristles are made from some sort of animal hair, such as hog or badger. Synthetic bristles are often made from nylon, polyester, or a combination of both. Natural-bristle brushes are best for applying oil-based alkyd paints, and synthetic-bristle brushes are recommended for water-based latex paints - always consider your options for the best possible finish! Also take into consideration the type of fibre used when choosing a roller, as well as the size of the rollers as recommendations will change depending on the type of paint to be used and the textures of the surfaces being painted.


Step 5 - Masking tape!

Once you have prepared your walls and they are dry, its time for step five! It is always good practice to use masking tape to cover edges you do not wish to get paint on. 'Cutting in' efficiently requires considerably more skill and experience than most would imagine, but using a roll of tape doesn't! I must point out and strongly discourage free hand 'cutting in' if you are new to decorating. It is very difficult to do well and the exact same result can almost always be achieved by using masking tape. 'Frog tape' is a brand that we use often as it is sticky and durable, but can be removed from delicate surfaces with minimal effort and damage. However, this is a general recommendation and you should do your own research to ensure you buy a tape that is suitable for the surfaces you wish to use it on. If you must apply masking tape to painted or delicate surfaces, pay particular attention to the 'adhesiveness' of the tape by referring to the instructions written on any packaging. Each manufacturer of masking tapes should give you a good idea of what you can and cannot do with their product, and if you are unsure, read the instructions or ask a professional. Using the wrong tape may do damage to surfaces or previously applied paint when it is removed - so choosing the right tape is essential!


Step 6 - the final coat!

We've chosen our brushes and rollers and our final colours. Our workspace is clear of obstruction, old wallpaper is stripped, a mist coat, primer or undercoat has been applied and all filling, sanding and prep work is completed. Make sure to clean the area so that it is dust free to avoid any particles sticking to wet paint and now it's time for your top coat! Ensure that you stir your paint before you start, throughout the process and anytime you have a break and paint its left standing. Pour your paint into your paint trays and get your rollers and brushes ready!


It is good practice to begin with all the brush work - edges, corners, wood work etc, and always begin with the ceiling. Make sure to paint 3 or 4 inches inwards from any edges with the brush, this ensures that when you use the roller, you will be overlapping the paint without getting too close to the edge.

Paint walls and ceilings one at a time. You'll achieve a smoother, more seamless look by blending the wet paint you’ve brushed on with the wet paint you’re rolling. This is one of the best painting techniques for walls and is known as “working to a wet edge."

  • Working top to bottom, roll back and forth across the wall in a series of W-shaped strokes until the section is covered.

  • Before reloading your roller and moving to the next section, roll over the area you’ve just painted in a smooth, continuous stroke from top to bottom. These smoothing strokes help to even the coat and cover up lines and drips.

  • Lightly lift the roller off the wall to avoid leaving end marks and to seamlessly blend different areas.

  • Frequently remix your paint using a mixing stick or tool. You should do this any time you leave your paint sitting for an extended period of time.

  • Wait for 2 to 4 hours for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat. Follow the exact same process when priming your walls. Blend each section as you go.

  • Load your roller evenly and with enough paint, but not so much that it 'drips' or 'spatters' as you roll.

You may wish to apply a second coat of paint if the first isn't perfect. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before-hand and repeat the process. Once the final coat is dry, remove the masking tape - leaving tape on surfaces for longer than necessary can make it more difficult to remove without causing damage or leaving a sticky residue.


Step 7 - The Big Clean-up!

Once your walls are completely dry and you are happy with the finished result, you can begin removing the dust sheets and cleaning up any mess you may have made in the process!


Please note: Painting on woodwork and other surfaces will require a different process and a different type of paint. This will be covered in another blog at a later date! This guide is intended for painting on plastered walls only.


Thank you for taking the time to read our painting and decorating blog. Please note that this guide intended as general advice only, we take no responsibility for the outcome of any decorating work completed by people who rely on this information. Please do your own research separately in addition to reading this guide.


To hire a professional painter and decorator, please don't hesitate to get in touch!



Couple painting their home




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