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Planning & preparation

  • The most important stage of any paint job is to thoroughly prepare the walls, ceilings and woodwork, to ensure they are free from grease, dust, holes and flaky plaster or paper
  • Lay out heavy-duty protective sheets to protect the floor and cover any furniture that you can’t remove from the room with dust sheets
  • Wash your tools thoroughly before use, even if they are brand new, as this will remove any manufacturing particles. Allow them to dry before starting
  • Always start by painting the ceiling first to stop drips falling onto freshly painted walls. Then it’s best to paint the walls, followed by the woodwork
  • Paint an entire wall in one go, as this will reduce the chance of visible lines where paint has dried at different times
  • Make sure that your room is well lit so that you can clearly see any areas that you have missed, and regularly check that the paint looks consistent from every angle
  • If you need any inspiration with colour schemes, experiment with some paint tester pots that you’ll find in store

Do it right

  • If you are painting a whole room, then using a roller will help you to cover large spaces quickly and efficiently
  • Rather than cleaning rollers and brushes between coats, simply wrap rollers in plastic bags secured with rubber bands, and wrap brushes in a few layers of cling film. At the end of the job, clean your brushes with water if your paint was water-based, or with white spirit if it was solvent-based
  • When painting woodwork, it’s best to use a water-based product as they are quick drying and don’t smell like solvent-based paint

Staying safe

  • As paint can drip and splatter, it’s best to wear safety goggles throughout the painting process
  • Take care when using a step ladder and be sure to move it regularly to avoid overstretching

Calculating the amount of paint you’ll need

  • First, measure your walls and ceilings.
  • Don’t worry about subtracting doors and windows as it’s always good to have a little extra.
  • Allowing for two coats of paint, check the paint packaging to see how much paint you’ll need.
  • Buy each type of paint in one go; this will make sure it’s from the same batch and will avoid any very slight differences in colour.

Painting the ceiling

Step 1

Once you are sure your ceiling is properly prepared for painting, and your tools are washed and ready for use, begin by stirring the paint with a paint stirrer or a clean offcut of wood.

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Step 2

Assemble a step ladder and put on your safety goggles. Then, transfer some of the paint into a paint kettle to avoid carrying the heavy tin up the ladder.

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Step 3

Start by painting a 50-70mm thick strip around the edges of the ceiling with a medium sized paint brush; this process is called ‘cutting in’.

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Step 4

Pour some of the paint into the paint tray and load the roller but be sure not to overload it as this will stop the roller from rolling smoothly.

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Step 5

To avoid visible lines where the paint has dried at different times, start by focusing on the area that you have just ‘cut into’ and blend wet paint with wet paint.

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Step 6

If you have ceiling lights, then you will need to cut in around the fittings.

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Roll with a mixture of up, down and W movements and continue until you have covered the entire ceiling. Once you have completed your first coat, follow the manufacturer’s instruction for drying time and then repeat the process for the second coat.

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Paint the wall undercoat

Step 1

Use masking tape to cover any fittings and woodwork that you are not planning to paint. It’s best to leave an overhang where possible to also protect from drips.

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Step 2

Use a medium paint brush to cut in and apply a coat of white emulsion. Don’t worry about blending wet paint with wet paint on these coats as they will be covered with top coats.

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Step 3

Use a roller to apply the white emulsion to the rest of the walls. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for drying time then repeat this process if the walls were previously a dark colour.

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Paint the woodwork undercoat

Step 1

Remove fittings and apply masking tape to areas you want to protect on the windows, skirting boards, architraves and doors. Then, open any windows you are planning to paint so they don’t get sealed shut.

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Step 2

Starting with the windows, use a small paint brush to give the woodwork an undercoat using interior woodwork primer. Then, after the recommended drying time, apply the undercoat paint.

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Step 3

Then do the same for the skirting boards, architraves and then doors. When doing the skirting boards, make sure the floor is fully covered with protective sheets and take particular care. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for drying times before continuing.

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Paint the wall topcoat

Step 1

To apply the topcoat, start by using a medium sized brush to cut in around the ceiling line.

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Step 2

Using the corner of the brush and smooth strokes, create a straight line. Remember to only cut in one area at a time so you can blend wet paint with wet paint.

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Step 3

If you get any paint on the ceiling, wipe it off immediately with a dry cloth. If it leaves a mark, then cover it over with emulsion once you’ve finished.

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Step 4

Be sure to also cut in around fittings, woodwork and corners.

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Step 5

Use a roller with an extension pole to paint the wall surface. Remember that rolling with a mixture of up, down and W movements will give you the most even coverage.

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Step 6

Start in the top corner and work roughly a metre and a half across and then move down. Repeat this across the wall.

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Step 7

Once the first coat is complete, check manufacturer's instruction on drying times. Then, apply a second coat of paint for a professional finish.

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Paint the woodwork top coat

Step 1

When applying the topcoat, start with the windows followed by the skirting boards, architraves and then doors. It is best to use a water based product as they are quick drying.

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Select the topcoat based on the style you want. There are many options available such as eggshell, matt, satin and gloss.

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Step 3

Interior woodwork paint is thicker than emulsion so can drip if too much is applied. Bear this in mind and don’t overload the brush.

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Step 4

When painting any edges that meet the freshly painted walls, take extra care and be sure to use a suitable sized brush. Correct any mistakes with emulsion when finished.

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Step 5

Check manufacturer's instruction for drying times and allow the first coat to dry completely. Then, apply a second coat for a long lasting, professional finish

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Step 6

Once the second coat has dried, carefully remove any tape and put fittings and fixtures back into position.

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