The key to painting & decorating is good preparation. It can be all too easy to start slapping paint on the walls without fully knowing the outcome and you may end up doing more harm than good!  However, as with all aspects of DIY, it’s a skill that you can learn, and we’ve come up with 10 top tips to get you started. So whether you’re a novice or a seasoned expert, there’s something here for everyone with our Beginner’s Guide to Painting & Decorating.

Prepare your Work Area

Take everything off the walls and remove small furniture and personal items from the room. Move large furniture into the centre of the room and cover with a dust sheet or drop cloth to protect them from any unforeseen spillages or splashes. We also advise covering the floor with polythene sheeting for added protection, as carpets can be expensive to replace.

Wash the Walls

Wash the walls and ceiling with a Sugar Soap solution or warm water mixed with a small amount of dishwashing liquid, to remove any grease or dirt. We recommend using a sponge or scouring pad to remove any stubborn marks and be sure to rinse the walls off with clean water afterwards to remove excess soap residue.

Fill Holes & Cracks

Wall Filler 2Inspect your walls and ceiling and remove any nails or wall fixings, unless you plan on re-using them once you’ve finished decorating. Fill any holes or cracks with multi-purpose filler and sand the surface once it’s dry to give a smooth finish. Remember, filler compounds often shrink when drying so you may need to apply a second coat for best results. If the walls are in a particularly bad state, it may be worth speaking to a local plastering & wall boarding specialist to  re-plaster your walls.

Tip: Wrap sandpaper around a wooden block to give an even finish on flat surfaces.

Protect Fixtures & Woodwork

Tape the light fittings, skirting boards, window and door frames using masking tape or blue decorators tape. Unscrew light switches and power sockets and edge them away from the wall just enough to allow you to paint underneath. Be very careful not to touch any wires, as mains electric which can be fatal, and remember to remove the tape before the wall dries to avoid peeling off any paint.  

Choose a Colour

Choosing colours can prove tricky as there are thousands available and many often look different when applied to a wall. You can purchase a range of ‘Tester’ pots relatively cheap from your local home depot store and these allow you see exactly what the colour looks like on your walls. Paint small tester squares (100mm x 100mm) and remember to apply two coats to see the true colour.

Tip: You may need to apply primer under the test squares when painting over a dark colour.

Get your Tools

Before you start decorating, make sure you have all the right tools to hand:

  • 230mm Roller with Extension PolePaint Pot
  • 100mm Roller
  • Selection of brushes (12mm, 24mm & 50mm)
  • Paint Roller Tray
  • Mixing Stick
  • Dry Cloth

Tip: Stretch an elastic band over the paint pot to remove excess paint from brush and avoid drips.

Prime the walls

Apply a base coat or ‘primer’ to your walls before painting to get a long-lasting, even appearance. This is especially important when painting a light colour onto a dark surface, as it will bring out the true colour and help you avoid a 3rd or 4th coat! You may wish to tint your primer with some of your chosen colour to give a more vibrant finish.

Cutting In

Choosing a suitable place to start, carefully paint around the edges of the wall and fixtures & fittings using a paint brush. Cut in approximately 50mm to allow yourself enough room to manoeuvre the roller when you come to painting the rest of the wall. If you’re lucky enough to have a helper, we suggest one person does the cutting in while the other follows behind with a roller to cover the remaining wall. This will not only speed up the process but also avoid the need to keep switching tools.

Using A RollerPaint Roller

Pour paint into the paint tray, dip the roller in the paint and then roll it back and forth across the ribbed area to remove excess paint. Use slow, vertical strokes to avoid splatter and finish off with parallel movements in one direction. Work systematically from the wet edge and try to blend in strokes to avoid leaving ridges of paint. Use an extension pole when painting the ceiling or high walls, and the smaller 100mm roller to paint behind radiators.

Clean Up

Once you’ve finished painting, you need to clean your brushes and rollers to preserve them for your next project. Most emulsions and water-based paints can be removed from brushes and rollers using warm water and a bit of elbow grease, but you may need to use white spirit to wash away acrylic and gloss paints. You’ll need to apply at least two coats of paint to the ceiling and walls, so why not try sealing your roller and brushes in plastic bags after each coat, rather than washing them, to save yourself a bit of time.

So there you have it….10 top tips to help you perfect your painting and decorating skills. It’s important to remember that DIY is a learning curve and although you may not get everything right the first time, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. However, if you find it tricky, or do not have the time to do it yourself, why not call CPM Painters & Decorators? Call us today on 01392 925045 or contact us online for your free, no obligation quote.