Painting Tips And House Paint Ideas

Some answers to frequently asked questions about paint and painting that pop up from time to time. If you can't find the answer you are looking for here then send me an e-mail  and I'll get back to you with the answer.

Question: What are the main types of interior paint for ceilings and walls? Answer: Generally water based emulsion is the main type of paint used on interior walls and ceilings. Emulsion comes in different finishes – matt (sometimes called flat because of the lack of sheen) , soft sheen and satin. The higher the sheen the more light reflection it gives. Generally soft sheen or satin are used in kitchens, bathrooms or any other wet areas because the sheen will help the water or steam run off the surface. If your walls are in bad condition and you use a sheen finish it will highlight any imperfections, unlike a standard matt.

Question: Are there any other types of paint that can be used in kitchens and bathrooms? Answer: Usually a soft sheen or satin will do but there are some paints that have been designed to be more durable in kitchens and bathrooms e.g. Dulux bathroom paint has a mould resistant paint film, so they say, and is 10 times tougher than standard emulsion paints. Likewise their kitchen paint is more resistant to grease, steam and stains and also comes in a matt finish.

Question: Can you use interior emulsion outside? Answer: No. It’s not designed to handle the weather. You might have some left over interior emulsion and think it will save you money by using it outside instead of buying an exterior emulsion. It won’t. As soon as it rains you’ll regret it!

Question: What does keying the surface mean? Answer: To key or keying means to remove the sheen from a painted surface. We key a surface to enable paint to grip properly. If you don’t key a surface that has sheen, like gloss for example, your paint won’t stick. It might look ok to the casual observer but if it takes a bump of knock the paint will just peel away in strips.

Question: Do one coat paints work? Answer: It depends. If you are using a one coat paint to paint over a similar colour, for example white over white, then it should work out fine. Otherwise you may need two or more coats.

Question: What type of paint should I use on my radiator? Answer: You have a few options; you can use a radiator paint, gloss, satinwood or eggshell. Make sure to use an oil based/spirit based paint. There’s no need to undercoat. Make sure to key the surface before painting. You may need more than one coat.

Question: Can we paint over wallpaper? Answer: it depends on the wallpaper. When it comes to paint and painting over walpaper, Anaglypta wallpaper is designed to be painted over. Vinyl wallpaper won’t take emulsion; you can try painting over it with a primer first but theres no guarantee that it will work and is not recommended. Most other wallpapers can be painted over, but once painted the seams will probably stick out so you will need to fill these and glue back any loose paper. As a rule don’t apply more than one coat of paint per day because the water in the paint will react with the wallpaper adhesive and can cause extensive bubbling or even make the paper come away in areas. Even one coat will probably cause some bubbling, but don’t worry; these bubbles tend to pull back when the paint has dried.

Question: How many coats of paint should I apply? Answer: As many as it takes to cover! Generally if you are painting like over like,  it will cover in one coat but if you are changing colours it will usually take 2-3 coats.

Question: How long before I can apply the next coat? Answer: It depends on the type of paint you are using and drying conditions. If you are using a standard emulsion then it should be dry enough to repaint after about 3 hours. If the room is quite cold or its very wet outside drying can take a lot longer. The weather outside will affect the drying inside. If you are using an oil based paint like gloss, satinwood or eggshell then its best to leave it until the next day before recoating.

Question: Can I paint gloss over gloss? Answer: Yes you can. It makes sense to gloss over gloss if you are painting the same colour and the surface is sound. You need to ‘key’ the surface well first, dust it down with a dust brush and wipe off the surface with spirits on a rag.

Question: What’s the difference between water based and oil based paints? Answer: Water-based paints are quick-drying, easier to use and have a low odour. They are also better for the enviroment and often non-yellowing, plus they're easier to clean and the brushes will wash easily in water. That said, although they are faster drying, they can dry too fast. You can usually apply more than one coat in a day, but brush marks are more difficult to eliminate. Paints with a water base are often not as hard or durable as those with an oil base although they are rapidly improving all the time. Solvent (or oil-based) products take much longer than water-based products to dry and can have a very strong 'chemical' smell. They have high VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which can contribute to pollution and can sometimes yellow with age. Plus solvent-based paints do need to be cleaned from the brush with white spirit. These types of paints need to dry overnight before further coats, but the strokes left by the brush are a lot less noticeable as the paint levels out.

Question: I have a water stain on the ceiling, how do I treat it? Answer: First you need to make sure that the leak that caused the stain has been fixed. If the stain is dry to the touch you can apply a coat of stain block, it might take more than one coat to cover. Once the stain has been covered you can paint over with emulsion as normal.

Question: Can I paint over mould? Answer: No. If you paint over mould it will continue to grow underneath the paint and cause it to flake away. If you have mould you need to treat it first with a mould killer or some watered down bleach. Make sure to use rubber gloves.

Question: What are the types of paint finish that are available? Answer: From top to bottom the finishes are Gloss, semi-gloss, satin/silk, eggshell, flat/matt.

Question: How long will it take to paint my house? Answer: It depends on the size and your level of skill if you are doing it yourself. Taking a week off work to paint your house could end up costing you more than hiring a professional painter. Hiring a professional painter to do the job will speed up the painting process quite considerably and give you a better finish.

Question: The stain on my wooden decking/garden furniture is peeling away, how do I treat this? Answer: Decking stain shouldn’t be used on decks because it just doesn’t work long term. It coats one side of your decking leaving the exposed side to absorb water. The water moves through the wood and pushes the stain away. The sun light can also cause it to blister. If you have this problem the best solution is to sand off all the stain and then apply 2 – 3 coats of decking oil. Decking oil will preserve your deck for longer and won’t ever peel away because it isn’t a surface coating. If you have a new deck and want to apply a product then use decking oil. You will need to recoat every 2-3 years depending on the oil you use and if the deck is in a shaded area.

Question: Are expensive paints worth the extra money? Answer: Generally the answer is yes. A more expensive paint will cover with less coats, last longer and look better than a cheaper paint so in the long run it works out to be cheaper!

Question: The exterior of my house was painted recently and now the paint is coming away, why is this happening? Answer: This is a question that crops up from time to time. There can be a couple of reasons for paint coming away after a new paint job. One reason is the surface is chalky and hasn’t been stabilised. Another is painting when the temperature is 7 degrees or lower.

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