If you’ve ever heard the saying ‘decoration is preparation’ (no? Just me?) then you might not be surprised to hear that it’s true. Many of us are budgeting at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you have to put home improvement plans on hold.
You might well be thinking, though, that you need to do more yourself rather than getting someone in to sort the job. Whether you’re redecorating the whole house or just sprucing up one room, the painting and decorating experts at Toolstation have five tips to help you achieve a professional level finish you can be really proud of.
Spend 90% of your time on preparation
DIYers are often eager to get started but there are several steps that should come first. Realistically, you should spend most of your time preparing the surface and then finish off with painting. This way, your paint job will last longer and it’ll be far easier to get a professional finish.
Begin by filling any cracks and then sanding off the excess. Next, go in with a vacuum cleaner and sugar soap to dust and clean the walls. Remember, you’ll have to wash the sugar soap off afterwards.
Don’t forget to remove hardware
Removing ironmongery like door handles, hinges and window hardware can be boring and time consuming. But it’s absolutely worth it. No matter how good you are with a paint brush, if you leave it on, you’ll inevitably end up with paint on it.
When it comes to hinges, instead of removing the doors completely, systematically remove one hinge at a time, starting at the top. Re-install and work your way down as you paint.
Always mix your paint
If you’ve ever watched a professional painter and decorator, you might notice them begin by using a power drill and paddle attachment to thoroughly mix the paint. This is a great idea as some paints are prone to separate.
If you don’t have a paddle mix, a purpose made paint stirrer is the next best thing. A lot of people make the mistake of using a stick from the garden. This is best avoided because these don’t have the surface area needed to effectively agitate the paint.
Try adding water to water-based paint
This can be a bit of a controversial one, but some of the most experienced decorators swear by slightly diluting the paint with clean water. It can make water-based emulsion paint easier to work with as it flows more smoothly. And, against what you might think, it can cover a lot better.
In terms of how much water you need, remember you can add but you can’t take away. Generally, around 200ml is perfect for a five-litre tin of paint. If you’re painting new plaster, you could go up to 500ml though as fresh plaster really sucks out a lot of water.
Load up your brush first
Prep your brush by dipping the bristles in water and then spinning off the excess. This makes the application smoother because it helps to draw paint up the brush. As a bonus, it seems to make the dreaded task of washing your brushes easier too!