Miscellaneous painting and decorating tips

This content is 9 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

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!

3 thoughts on “Miscellaneous painting and decorating tips

  1. You must have known I’d be forced to reply in one way or another… ;-)

    One coat is definitely possible – just don’t buy anything that says “one coat” on the tin! Mythic Black Label is a good example of a self priming paint that you can definitely get away with one coat in some (clearly not *all*) circumstances. But you do pay the price. It’s a cost of labour vs cost of paint thing (two coats = more labour, one coat = more expensive paint).


    I use the Kovrd 3 In 1 Paint Tray Storage Bag & Quick Drop now rather than cling film and bin bags and can thoroughly recommend them. Not only do they keep your tray, rollers and brushes good between coats or days, they also work well to contain everything should you need to move things around between rooms or transport from one location to another.


    And my last tip is to also use the “trade” versions of things like rollers, brushes and paint trays etc. as they’re much more cost effective in the long run and cause much less distress in use. I personally like the SIMMS paint tray and disposable plastic liners for example – makes clean up a breeze.


    DISCLAIMER – also another IT guy at the end of the day!

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