This week, I’m between jobs (technically, I’m on holiday from Fujitsu, but I’ve already worked my last day there). I was going to spend time sorting out the myriad things that never get done in my home office but, unfortunately, some decorating (ahead of a replacement bathroom) has got in the way and this got me thinking about some decorating tips I’ve picked up over the years:
- Cheap paints can be a false economy. Almost every wall I’ve ever painted with a DIY (B&Q, Homebase, etc.) paint has looked tired after a while, whilst walls painted with branded paints seem to have kept their finish for longer. I don’t know how much difference it makes but I always buy Dulux Trade paints from my local decorators’ merchant (Brewers) rather than the consumer Dulux paints from a DIY shed.
- Having said that it’s sometimes worth buying branded paints, there are jobs where it’s just not worth the expense. All of our ceilings are painted with white emulsion (Albany Supercover), and the high-traffic rooms with magnolia walls (like our halls/stairs/landing) also use decorators’ merchant paints. I’ve just accepted that they need painting more often anyway!
- There’s no such thing as “one coat” paint – it’s pure marketing! Some paints are thicker than others though and you might get away with fewer coats (for example two coats rather than three when trying to cover a bold colour).
- Kitchen and bathroom paint is not just a way to sell a more expensive product – it really is moisture-resistant (and I really do wish I’d used it in our en-suite…) but there is an alternative. For my current job, in order to have the finish that I want (matt ceiling, soft sheen walls), I used the same paints as normal but added some VC175 mould-killer to the paint before applying it (as recommended by the Manager at my local decorators’ merchant).
- Brushes and rollers can be wrapped in cling-film overnight; trays of paint can be placed in a bin liner (folded over to keep the air out). This saves a lot of paint wastage between coats, when you need to come back to the job the next day anyway! Of course, brushes, rollers, etc. should always be properly cleaned when the job is finished.
- Most decorating jobs will need some holes filling, or minor repairs to plasterwork. After years of fighting with (and losing to) consumer-marketed products like Polyfilla (from Polycell), I found a product that’s really easy to work with and does a great job – unfortunately it only comes in large bags! It’s called Gyproc Easi-Fill and it’s made by British Gypsum. (This tip came via a professional plasterer and was recently reiterated by our bathroom fitter.) Even though I’ve only used a tiny amount of our huge bag of Easi-Fill over the years, it doesn’t seem to have “gone off” and is still working well – I’ve also used it as plaster for modelling purposes.
- Baby wipes are great for cleaning up – like if you didn’t mask a door handle (because you weren’t painting the door) but it got splattered with specks of emulsion from the roller… actually, baby wipes are great for cleaning all sorts of things!
Just bear in mind that I wouldn’t take IT advice from a professional decorator – so those who paint people’s houses for a living might not entirely agree with my decorating advice!