Painting Tips

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Surface Preparation

One of the biggest investments that most individuals would ever make in their lives is that of owing their own home. In order to ensure that this investment is maintained and protected paint selection, application and surface or substrate preparation are critical elements to consider.

Inadequate surface preparation is the biggest single reason why paint failures occur. Depending on the condition of the surfaces being painted, proper surface preparation might include cleaning, repairing, patching, sanding, masking and priming. The following steps below describe in general surface preparation for both interior and exterior painting:

Interior Surfaces: These must be free of dust, dirt and grime. Repair all gouges, cracks, holes etc. and sand the surface smooth.

Exterior Surface: These must be thoroughly cleaned of dirt, sap, mildew and any other substances that might inhibit adhesion or take away from the overall appearance and durability of the finish. Ensure that all loose and peeling paint are removed.

When is priming necessary?
Some surfaces must be primed before painting, to ensure the best possible results. Primers are normally used for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To fill and seal the pores in surfaces like bare wood or weathered masonry.
  • To provide a smooth, even surface for the finish coat, especially for enamel topcoats.
  • To cover the substrate, so the topcoat will hide better.

What Primer should be used on new walls on the Interior?
Concrete Primer thinned in a ratio of 4 parts primer to 1 part clean water may be applied before 2 coats of emulsion on interior walls

What Primer should be used on new walls on the Exterior?
For best results and true colour retention, Alkali Resisting Primer should be used as the primer.

When can new walls be painted?
New masonry should be allowed to dry out (cure) for 6 weeks before primer is applied.

What causes mildew?
Mildew is an airborne fungus that can grow on most surfaces, including painted ones. It can be black, gray, green or brown in color, and may look like dirt on the surface.
Mildew requires moisture, warmth, a food source and a surface in order to grow; the following conditions will increase the chances of mildew growth:

  • Warm, humid conditions
  • Poor air circulation
  • Protection from direct sunlight
  • Proximity to existing mildew

What causes peeling?
Peeling is the final result when a paint film loses its adhesion to the substrate due to moisture and inadequate surface preparation. Peeling may occur between coats of paint (intercoat failure), or all the paint coats may peel from the underlying substrate (total film failure).

  • Poor surface preparation – The following surface conditions may cause peeling if not prepared properly:
    1. Slick, glossy or non-porous surfaces
    2. Dirty, greasy or grimy surfaces
    3. Chalky surfaces
    4. Rusty or corroded metal
    5. New alkaline masonry
    6. Porous, weathered wood
    7. Galvanized metal
    8. Unsound surfaces (like loose, crumbling masonry, or surfaces with peeling or flaking paint or multiple paint coats)
    9. Damp surfaces
  • Application conditions – Peeling can also occur if the paint is applied in less than ideal conditions:
    1. If the temperature is too hot or cold, incomplete film formation may result in poor adhesion.
    2. If the paint is applied to a wet or damp substrate, or applied when the humidity is too high.

What can I do about peeling?

  1. Remove the peeling sections of paint, by scraping or wire brushing and lightly sand the surface to a smooth finish.
  2. Dull any glossy surfaces with light sanding using fine-grit sandpaper.
  3. Remove any sanding dust, ensuring a clean, smooth surface.
  4. Apply the appropriate primer, as per label instructions.
  5. Repaint the surface when the temperature and humidity is suitable for painting.

Painting Techniques

Employing varying decorative painting techniques is one method of creating the ambience you may want for your home.  With the use of application and painting materials you can give your home unique charm and character. Useful techniques include, colour blocking, sponging and wall stenciling.

Colour Blocking

Colour Blocking is a technique that can transform an entire space making an impactful statement. With three simple steps you can achieve visual interest without the need for an expensive piece of artwork.

Required materials

  1. Paint / coatings of choice
  2. Painter’s Tape
  3. Paint brush / Roller
  4. Pencil
  5. Level
  6. Ruler
  7. Paper

Step 1.

It’s always best to plan your design on paper before starting the actual application to ensure the end result has the finish you desire. The customary shapes for this technique are squares and rectangles which are mapped out in a geometric manner.  Using your pencil and ruler create your design to be translated onto the selected wall.

Step 2.

Begin replicating your design of shapes onto the wall using your pencil and ruler; the level can be used to ensure that the lines of the shapes are straight and even.

Step 3.

Using your Painter’s Tape, tape off the lines of your shapes for your design then you can begin painting the paints / coatings of your choice with your roller or brush.


Sponging is the application or removal of paint with a sponge onto or from the walls (or other flat surfaces). Following these three simple steps you can create texture to your walls in an economical and relatively quick method.

Required materials

  1. Sea Sponge
  2. Base colour of choice
  3. Wash / Glaze
  4. Paint brush / Roller

Step 1.

Using you roller or paint brush, apply your base coat to your walls and leave to dry completely.

Step 2.

Using a dampened sea sponge dipped in your wash or glaze begin your application by dabbing the sponge on the wall lightly. Try to use a spacing of approximately three inches apart in a random pattern and follow through with the application until the surface is covered evenly. More than one layer can be applied however only after the previous application has completely dried.

Step 3.

Evaluate consistency of the application after completion and should there be areas where too much of the base coat is visible you can reapply your wash / glaze in intervals to allow for drying.

Wall Stenciling

Wall Stenciling is a creative method for creating interest on your walls. Using stencils of your choice follow these two simple steps to give your room character.

Required materials

  1. Wall stencil
  2. Base coat
  3. Spray adhesive
  4. Acrylic paint
  5. Stencil brush / roller

Step 1.

Using you roller or paint brush, apply your base coat to your walls and leave to dry completely.

Step 2.

Spray the back of the Wall stencil with your spray adhesive to ensure it does not stick permanently to the base coat when it is positioned on the wall.

Step 3.

Stick your Wall stencil in the desired position on your wall and using a dabbing motion apply the acrylic paint around the edges of your stencil with your stencil brush.

Step 4.

Remove the Wall stencil carefully when finished (the paint does not need to be completely dry) and you can repeat the process for your design.