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DIY Calendar: September - Stripping Wallpaper and Painting Safely

September is a good time to head indoors and start looking at doing up your interior in preparation for the festive season. It's a good idea to start painting your interior in September, while the weather is still good enough for you to leave your windows open for ventilation.  This month, we'll look at repainting your home safely and efficiently.

Preparing for Interior Decorating

As with any other form of painting, careful preparation is essential.  You should take care to strip any old wallpaper thoroughly (use a steam stripper if possible), and remove as much old paint as you can.  In some cases, you can get away with painting over the previous layer of paint, but this isn't always ideal.

Once the surface has been stripped, wipe it down with a damp sponge to clean it in preparation for painting.

wall with wallpaper stripped Wallpaper stripped off the walls. Photo: Micky Aldridge

It's a good idea to move as much of your furniture as possible into the middle of the room before you start work.  Cover your furniture with dust sheets while you're painting - even if you don't think there's any possible way that paint could travel that far, you'd be amazed what can go wrong - paint splashes can travel a long way, so it's worth protecting all of your furniture.

You can buy plastic covers to lay over your carpet while you're painting, but you may want to go one step further and use a combination of newspaper and masking tape to protect the parts closest to the wall.

Give yourself plenty of time to finish the paint job.  You don't want to end up rushing the job and ruining the finish.

Depending on the kind of paint you are using, you might want to lay a primer coat before the main colour.

When you have finished painting, give the paint plenty of time to dry.  Don't put everything back in place yet; you might want to add a second layer to ensure that the paint looks as good as possible.

Safety and Older Homes

There are many safety issues to think about when painting indoors.  The first one that you should think about is ventilation.  While modern paints are far safer than the paints of several decades ago, solvent based paints in particular aren't something that you would want to be inhaling the fumes from for many hours per day.  Try to select an environmentally friendly paint type that is designed for use indoors.

Paint tins Paint tins. Photo: Little Greene Paint Company

You should be particularly careful when stripping old paints, especially if you have any reason to believe that those paints are from many decades ago.  Very old paints were often based on lead, and can be incredibly toxic if inhaled.  Long term exposure to lead can cause liver, kidney, and even central nervous system damage.  You can reduce the risk to your health if you wear a mask while working, and keep the area as well ventilated as possible.

One final area that you should pay careful attention to is ladder safety.  Ladder related accidents are far more common than you might expect and most of these accidents are easy to prevent. Make sure that you choose the right size of ladder for the job, and that you place them on a flat, non-slippery surface.   Always wear shoes with a strong grip when you are climbing on a ladder.  Never climb ladders in bare feet, and never climb to the top rung, over-reach, or lean too far when you are working on a ladder.

Do not jump from a ladder.  When you are finished with working on the ladder, climb down slowly.  You should always use the three-point rule, always having two feet and one hand (or two hands and one foot) on the ladder, stabilizing you in case you fall.

This entry was posted in Blog, DIY Calendar on September 1, 2013 by UK Oak Doors Admin.

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