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Maximise Your Decorating Potential - part one

“If you want a good finish you need a good start” 

blue paint and roller

Painting walls, doors and other such areas around the house is one of the most common decorating DIY projects we are likely to take on. Many DIY jobs have acquired unwarranted but popular phobias through the swapping of horror stories down the pub. Drilling through a wall to put up some simple shelves only to burst a pipe is a classic. This coupled with a misunderstanding that some decorating and DIY jobs require a detailed knowledge of technical terms and a wealth of experience to be completed means that people are far more likely to pick up a roller than a router.

Decorating Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Painting falls in to the bracket of ‘Easy to learn, takes patience to master’ and costly mistakes are commonly made that can be avoided with the right preparation. Professional decorators will tell you preparation is as critical as the care and attention you spend during the main job. In a two part article we’ll help you avoid the classic errors in painting and decorating that can be prevented with easy preparation techniques given to us by decorating professionals.

paint splash


Obviously, before starting any of these take the utmost care to remove as much furniture from rooms you are working on and cover remaining furniture and flooring with sheets before decorating starts. Ensure people and pets won’t make a surprise appearance during the job as the only brushes you need should be on the end of a wooden handle not the tail end of the cat.


Wash Down Old Painted Walled Surfaces

Rushing into painting walls because you want to complete the job over a weekend will mean the finish will suffer. Small amounts of grime and dirt will still be covered by most decent paints but washing the walls with sugar soap in the weeknights before the weekend will pay dividends. Sugar soap is cheap to buy and available in concentrated liquid or powder form. Simply dissolve the sugar soap in water then apply with a sponge to the entire surface. Before washing it off allow a few minutes for it to take effect removing the grime or nicotine stains, it will also provide a better surface for the paint to adhere to afterwards. Rinse it off thoroughly to ensure any residue doesn't dilute and soften the paint.

Filling Holes and Cracks in Walls

cracked wall


Unless you are painting a new wall it’s more than likely you will come across some imperfections in the surface which when painted will catch the light and spoil the finished job. Small imperfections can be easily filled without fuss but for larger problems like cracks you’ll need to ensure all loose material around the problem area is removed. Cut away the unstable material along the crack with a knife to leave a sound surface for the filler to adhere to. Filling large holes and cracks with a filling knife is a knack worth perfecting but in the event you over-fill simply sand down the excess once it has dried.

See part two of this article for further tips on maximising your decorating potential which covers plaster, sanding down and masking off.

Images courtesy of

This entry was posted in 'How To' Guides, Blog on March 9, 2012 by will.

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