Paint Like A Pro
Thinking of decorating and perfecting your pad? Then here are Luci’s top decorating tips and techniques on painting like a professional.
SANDING IS KEY
If you want a great finish you have to put the effort in first. Super smooth surfaces mean perfectly painted walls and woodwork. Sand everything with fine sandpaper and always sand in a horizontal direction. Sand skirting boards, walls and ceilings as these really catch the light and show up bumps. Use a sanding sponge to get into crevices and corners.
Fill holes and patch cracks with flexible filler before you start painting and don’t forget to sand again. Never paint directly over filler because it will suck the moisture out of the paint and appear as a flat, matt mark on the wall after the paint dries. Always use primer to cover filler.
Pros use canvas or cotton twill cloths to protect floors and furniture for a reason. Plastic is messy and thin cotton sheets won’t stop splatters and spills from seeping through. Plastic catches spills but the will paint stay wet for a long time and invariably ends up on your shoes or in my case on dog and gets in rooms it wasn’t intended to be in! Try your local Screwfix for these.
PERFECT PRIMER Prime walls before painting. We recommend using a tinted primer in grey or a colour similar to your paint. This will give you sharper brighter colours and you will need fewer coats. Use the correct primers and undercoats to allow paint to do its job properly. Little Greene make two versions of a combined primer and undercoat: a high quality oil based version (the traditional choice) and a quick-drying water based alternative. Both are available in a full range of colours so you can achieve great depth of accurate colour in fewer coats.
To get a straight paint line on walls which meet textured ceilings simply run a flat ended screwdriver along the perimeter of the ceiling and scrape off the texture. The screwdriver creates a little moat for your brush bristles for neat edge and you won’t notice the missing texture.
A right decorating disaster is carefully using tape only to discover when you peel it off that the paint had bled through. Avoid this by properly sticking the tape before you start. Stick the tape on with your fingers and then run a plastic putty knife along it to press it firmly down. Do not use masking tape as it leaves a sticky residue and crinkles up which causes the paint to bleed. Instead use painters tape. Available from good decorating centres such as Ace Décor.
ONE AT A TIME
Don’t get bored and start dabbing paint on here and there. A professional look means cutting in one wall and using your roller to paint the whole wall before going on to the next.
TAKE A BREAK
If you need a little breather or a brew just cover your paint bucket, roller tray or container with a damp towel. This will stop your paint and tools from drying out when not in use or wrap brushes in a plastic bag.
Taping windows takes forever and you usually end up with paint on the glass anyway so professionals just paint carefully and when fully dry use a scraper with a razor blade to quickly but carefully remove the excess from the glass.
Regardless of the quality of your rollers always wash them before using for the first time. This will save getting fluff on your new paintwork. Use water and a small amount of liquid soap then massage up and down the roller to get rid of loose bits. Then squeeze out excess water. No need to dry – you are ready to go.
TAP TAP TAP
My best decorating tip ever, courtesy of Luci Living Design’s fantastic decorating contractor Ray Holding. Never scrape paint brushes on the side of the tin to remove excess paint. Dip about 3-4 cm of brush into the paint and then tap the handle of the brush several times on the side of the tin to distribute the paint evenly through the brush. No more drips!
Quality does count when it comes to perfect painting. More expensive paints have much more pigment and resin in them and although it may look the same as the cheaper stuff there are big differences in the ingredients and therefore in the finish and long-term performance. At Luci Living Design we recommend Little Greene and it is made in Manchester which makes us love it even more.