If you usually leave painting and decorating to the professionals, now could be a good chance to make up time lost during social distancing and save costs on your project by learning to do it yourself. 

 farrow and ball natural history museum collection - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Farrow & Ball's Natural History Museum collection

When you've spent a considerable amount on a home renovation project or self-build, one thing you won't want to do is let it down in the final moments with a poor quality job done on the painting and decorating.

However, in the current circumstances, with the potential of closed sites and delays to your build which may be costing you extra funds, as well as time, it could be a way to both stave away self-isolation boredom and keep your project on track. 

To achieve the best finish possible, keep these simple tips in mind when tacking a decorating job. 

Check in with your builders

If you are going to take the leap in decorating your home while work is underway, start by checking in with your builder or project manager. While they may not necessarily be the most happy to see you undertake the work, it's good to get an idea of where they're up to and find out about any spaces that shouldn't be painted yet, to manage expectations and avoid any future conflict further down the line. 

Prepare the walls and woodwork 

A build project should mean some brand new walls to paint - if you're painting on top of fresh plaster, the usual process is to do something known as a mist coat. This is a coat of watered down emulsion paint which absorbs into the plaster and helps the paint to form a better bond. Always start by giving the wall a rub down with fine sandpaper before you start. 

Where you're painting an existing wall, it's best to put the work in to sand down any flaking issues with plaster or existing paint, as a fresh coat of paint won't be enough to hide these imperfections. Any holes in the wall should be filled with filler and sanded flat before being painted. Likewise, use wood filler to fix any holes or joins in woodwork. If you've used real wood skirting, a thin layer of filler can also be applied over knots in the wood and then sanded down to help stop them showing through in the painted finish. 

Decorators caulk is used for around skirting boards and architrave. It is best applied after painting has taken place, but htis may depend on the finish you're looking to achieve and the colours used for both skirting and walls. 

lick room painting lifestyle - grand designs

Image: Lick is a new online shop offering paint, wallpaper and painting supplies delivered to your door, as well as peel-and-stick colour samples. 

Mask fixtures and fittings

Anything that can be removed from the room should be in order to avoid damage with paint, however, take special care in also masking socket and switches plates. If possible, loosen the faceplates so that you can paint around them more easily, placing them in plastic sheeting or a plastic bag to protect them from paint splashes. 

To prime or not to prime? 

When you're not sure whether to prime or not, it can be tempting to skip this step. We asked Lick, a new online brand offering its paint, wallpaper and painting supplies delivered to your door, to explain the situation where using a primer is important. 

"When you’re dealing with porous walls and ceilings. The more porous a surface is, the more likely it is to draw paint into its pores. This leads to an uneven finish; exactly what we don’t want. if you're using Lick paint, the likelihood is you just won't need to use primer paint. Essentially, we’ve carefully developed our paint to be ‘self-priming’ - meaning there is no need to buy separate primer paint. 

Don’t skip the primer on surfaces such as bare wood and newly installed drywall, which are known highly porous. Primer paint can also beneficial if you’re working with a glossy surface. These tend to be more difficult for paint to lock onto, but a light sandpapering and a coat of primer paint should do the trick to help the paint stick. Painting from dark to light? Treat the dark surface with two coats of white primer paint to tone it down."

Protect flooring 

While it may be tempting to scrimp on paying for floor coverings, it's an investment that not only protects the money you spent on the floors, but also saves time and fuss while painting, so opt for better quality plastic or canvas sheeting. If you're in the process of a build, it's likely that protective floor coverings will already be down, saving you a job. 

DULUX announces Colour of the Year 2020 Tranquil Dawn MEANING PALETTE 17

Image: Dulux's Tranquil Dawn 

Paint in the right order  

Always work from the top down, as this will mean you can tidy up any splashes of paint made lower down in the process. Start with the ceiling, then paint the walls before tackling the skirting boards. 

Work from the outside in 

Start by cutting in the edges, before tackling the larger area of the walls or ceiling. Try using as large a brush as possible, loaded with paint halfway up the brush, for a better finish around the edges. Use high quality painters masking tape to help get crisp lines if you're less comfortable doing so freehand. 

"Use a roller for the main area, working in a W or M motion," advises Lick. Leave a few hours in between coats and 24 hours for the final coat to dry before taking a final evaluation of your handiwork. 

Are you tackling some of the decorating in your renovation project? Let us know how by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page



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