Tag Archives: Painting

How to Choose a Paint Brush

Two groups of tools are needed for painting, one for preparing the surface and one for actually applying the paint. For a masonry wall, the minimum preparation is to wash down any previously painted surface. This calls for a bucker, sponges and cloths, strong household detergent or sugar soap (all-purpose cleaner), and rubber gloves to protect the hands.

If the washed-down surface has a high-gloss finish, or feels rough to the touch, use fine-grade sandpaper and a sanding block to smooth it down. Wet and Dry (silicon carbide) paper, used wet, is best for sanding down existing paintwork; remember to thoroughly rinse off the resulting fine slurry of paint with water afterwards. Use ordinary sandpaper for bare wood.

Defects in the surface need filling. Use a traditional cellulose filler (spackle) for small cracks, chips and other surface blemishes, and an expanding filler foam which can be shaped and sanded when hard for larger defects. To apply filler paste use a filling knife (putty knife).

To strip existing paintwork, use either a beat gun — easier to control and much safer to use than a blowtorch — or a chemical paint remover, plus scrapers of various shapes to remove the softened paint.

For removing wall coverings in order to apply a painted wall or ceiling finish, a steam wallpaper stripper will be worth the investment. The small all-in-one strippers which resemble a large steam iron are the easiest type to use.

Painting Tools

The paintbrush is still the favorite tool for applying paint to walls, ceilings, woodwork and metalwork around the house. Most are made with natural bristle, held in a metal ferrule which is attached to a wooden or plastic handle, but there are also brushes with synthetic fibre bristles which are sometimes recommended for applying water-based (latex) paints.

Brushes come in widths from 12 mm / 1/2 in. up to 15 cm / 6 in. The smallest sizes are used for fiddly jobs such as painting glazing bars (mulleins), while the widest are ideal for flat uninterrupted wall and ceiling surfaces. A wide brush can be tiring touse, especially with solvent-based (oil) paints. There are also long-handled brushes with angled heads for painting behind radiators, and narrow brushes called cutting-in (sash) brushes, which have the bristle tips cut off at an angle for painting into internal angles. For the best results, buy good-quality brushes and look after them, rather than buy cheap ones and tossing them after each job.

Paint rollers are used mainly for painting walls and ceilings with water-based paints, although they can be used with solvent-based types too. They consist of a metal roller cage mounted on a handle, plus a hollow sleeve that fits onto the cage and actually applies the paint. Some can be lined with an extension pole, which is useful if there are high ceilings or stairwells to paint. Most rollers are 18 cm/ 7 in wide; larger sizes are available, but can be harder to ‘drive.’ There are also shin mini-rollers for painting awkward-to-reach areas such as walls behind radiators. For any type, a roller tray is used to load paint onto the sleeve. Solid water-based paint is sold in its own tray.

The sleeves are waterproof tubes with a layer of foam plastic or cloth stuck to the outside. Another type maybe made from natural or synthetic fibre, and have a short, medium or long pile, to suit different types of surfaces.

Choose the pile length to match the surface being painted: short for flat surfaces, medium for those with a slight texture and long for embossed surfaces.

Paint pads are squares or rectangles of short-pile cloth stuck to a foam backing and mounted on a plastic or metal handle. The pad is dipped in a shallow container, or loaded from a special paint container with a roller feed, and then drawn across the surface. Pads come in a range of sizes.

Paint and varnish are also sold in aerosol form. This is ideal for small areas or fiddly materials such as wickerwork, but too expensive to use on large areas.

Lastly, do not forget the decorating sundries. A paint kettle is needed for decanting the paint and straining out any foreign bodies. Hand-held paint masks or masking tape are invaluable aids to getting straight edges and keeping paint off adjacent surfaces. Remember to provide dustsheets (drop cloths), which perform better than plastic sheets.

Wall Painting Ideas

Paint is a popular decorative finish for walls and ceilings because it is quick and easy to apply, offers a huge range of colours and is relatively inexpensive compared with rival products such as wall coverings. It can be used over plain plaster, or can he applied over embossed relief wall coverings and textured finishes.

Before starring to paint, clear the room and prepare the surfaces. Start by taking down curtains and blinds (drapes and shades). Remove furniture to another room if possible, or else group it in the middle of the room and cover it with clear plastic sheeting. Take down lampshades and pendant light fittings (after turning off the power supply). Unscrew wall-mounted fittings and remove the hardware from doors and windows if they are being repainted at the same time.

Access equipment

Normally most of the surfaces to be painted can be reached front a standing or a kneeling position, but some access equipment is needed for ceilings, the tops of room walls and the upper reaches of stairwells. A simple stepladder, ideally with a top platform big enough to support a paint kettle or roller tray, will be adequate for painting walls and ceilings.

Coverage will be less than is achieved with subsequent coats. Similarly, textured surface will hold more paint, again reducing the paint coverage.

For stairwells, use steps or ladder sections plus secured scaffold boards or the components of a slot-together access tower to set tap a work platform that allows you to get to all the surfaces without over-reaching.


Paint wall and ceilings in a series of overlapping hands. Start painting the ceiling next to the window wall so that deflected light on the wet paint shows if coverage is even. On walls, right-handed people should work front right to left, and vice-versa.

Texture paints

Texture paints are water-based (latex) paints thickened with added filler. Once the paint has been applied to the decorating surface, a range of three-dimensional effects can be created by using various patterning or texturing techniques. These paints arc ideal for covering up surfaces in poor condition. Most are white, but they can be over painted with ordinary wall-based paint for a coloured effect, if desired. Avoid using them in kitchens — the textured surface will trap dirt and grease making it difficult to clean.

Using Texture Paint

1. Start by gradually applying the paint to the wall or ceiling in a series of overlapping random strokes, recharging the roller or brush at intervals.

2. When an area of about l sq in. is covered, go over the whole area with a series of parallel strokes for an even surface texture.

3. Give the textured finish the look of tree bark by drawing a flat-bladed scraper over the surface to flatten off high spots.

4. Use it texturing comb to create overlapping swirls, working across the area. Practise on cardholder first.

5. Twist a sponge before pulling it away front lie wall surface to create small, over-lapping swirls. Rinse the sponge regularly.

6. You can buy patterning roller sleeves in it range of different designs for use with texture paints. This one creates a regular diamond pattern.

7. This patterning sleeve gives a random streaked effect when rolled down the wall. Apply the texture paint to the roller with a brush for fusing a patterning sleeve.

Painting Doors

The main problem with painting doors— or indeed any woodwork with a large surface — involves keeping what professional decorators call a ‘wet edge’. Obviously, the door has to be painted bit by bit, and, if the edge of one area begins to dry before this is joined up to the next area, the join will show when the paint dries completely.

The secret of success is to work in an ordered sequence, as shown in these illustrations of flush and panelled doors, and to complete the painting job in one continuous operation, working as fast as is reasonably possible. Windows are more difficult to paint than doors because they contain so many different surfaces, especially small-paned types criss-crossed with slim glazing bars (muntins). There is also the additional problem of paint: straying on to the glass. The ideal is a neat paint line that covers the bedding putty and extends on to the glass surface by about 3inches to seal the joint and prevent condensation from running down between putty and glass.

Remove the window hardware before you start painting. On casement windows, tap a nail into the bottom edge of the casement and into the lower frame rebate and then link them with stiff wire to stop the casement irons swinging about.

For the best results, remove sash windows from their frames before painting. Modem spring-mounted windows are easy to release from their frames. With older cord-operated types, remove the staff beads (window-stops) first to free the sashes. Although quite a major task, take the opportunity to renew the sash cords (pulley ropes).This makes it possible to cut the cords to free the window.


  1. Tackle a paneled door by painting the moldings (1) around the recessed panels first. Take care not to let paint build up in the corners or to stray on to the faces of the cross rails at this stage. Next, paint the recessed panels (2).
  2. Paint the horizontal cross-rails (3), brushing lightly inwards towards the pale red panel moldings to leave a sharp pattern edge. Feather out the paint thinly where it runs onto the vertical tiles at each end of the rails.
  3. Finish the door by painting the vertical center rail (4) and the tiles (5), again brushing inwards towards the panel moldings. Where the rail abuts the cross-rails, finish with light brushstrokes parallel to the cross-rails.

Varnishing Wood

  1. On bare wood, use a clean lint-free cloth to wipe the first coat on to the wood, working along the grain direction. When it is dry, sand it lightly and then wipe off the dust.
  2. Brush on the second and subsequent coats of varnish, applying them along the grain and linking up adjacent areas using light brushstrokes


Remove the door furniture and wedge open the door. Divide it up into 10 imaginary squares, and start at the top by filling in the first square. Finish the paint out towards the door edges so that it does not build up on external angles. Paint the next block at the top of the door. Blend the 2 areas with horizontal brushstrokes, then with light, vertical laying-off strokes.

Continue to work down the door surface block by block, blending the wet edges of adjacent blocks together as you paint them. Always aim to complete a flush door in 1 session to prevent the joints between blocks showing up as hard lines. Replace the door furniture when the paint is touch-dry.


  1. Stick masking tape to the glass with its edge 3 mm/in from the wood. Paint the surrounding wood, removing the tape when the paint is touch-dry.
  2. Alternatively, hold a small paint shield against the edge of the glazing bar (muntin) or the surrounding moulding while you paint. Wipe the shield regularly to prevent smears.