Robust but Classy Decorating in Flats

Robust but Classy Decorating in Flats

This week’s blog is a continuation of last week’s decorating tips.

I like to emulsion the walls before gloss-painting the woodwork, so that any spray splats on the woodwork can be sanded off when dry.

New plaster should first be ‘mist-coated’ with a 50/50 mix of water and paint and a bit of PVA adhesive. This penetrates the plaster surface better, providing better adhesion. Failure to do so may result in paint peeling in damp conditions in bathrooms and kitchens.

Rollering is quicker if you do it systematically in rows rather than dodging about in all directions. For ceilings use a roller extension handle which is easier than a stepladder. Minimise spray by rollering steadily and not too fast.

Consider silk finish paint for high-traffic areas like hallways and  kitchens. It doesn’t collect the dirt like matt and is easier to clean.

For the woodwork there is a definite process. For typical run-of-the-mill rentals the following will give a reasonable finish fairly quickly:

1. All old gloss paint must be sanded lightly to provide a key. Failure to do this may cause new paint to peel especially if it has a rough life in a rented property.

2. Thoroughly dust off the woodwork with a soft brush and use a hoover to clear the room of dust.

3. Fill any dents with plaster-based filler and use flexible caulk to fill internal gaps such as between skirting and walls.

4. When the filler is dry, sand it flat. Dust off the woodwork lightly and hoover again.

5. Spot-prime any bare wood and filler. I don’t recommend acrylic/ water based ‘quick drying’ paints over old oil paint as they can peel if treated roughly. On new wood they’re fine.

6. Apply undercoat.

7. Lightly sand the dry undercoat to remove ‘nibs’. Dust off again. Probably no need to vacuum as it can just spread stray dust at this stage.

8. Apply top coat thinly to avoid runs.

I never use ‘one coat’ paint. It doesn’t do what it says on the tin!

Water-based materials and battery tools stored in the warm

Tip – In cold conditions take home gloss paint to keep it warm for the morning. While working keep it warm in a bowl of warm water. It’ll spread much more easily and run less.

Tip 2 – You can store rollers and emulsion brushes wrapped tightly in polythene bags for several days. Store oil brushes in water, with the bristles completely covered. Flick the water out before using them again.

Tip 3 – Don’t let water-based paints (or any water-based products) get frosted. It breaks down the polymer binders which make it set properly. You can sometimes tell if paint has been frosted as it loses its thick, viscous consistency and seems runny. Likewise PVA dries chalky white, not translucent. Some rechargeable batteries are also damaged by frost.

Next week I’ll talk about getting rid of Artex, the bane of many a renovator’s life.


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