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Painting interiors – FAQs

Got a question about painting? We’ve answered the most common questions we get asked in-store.

What are the main differences between each type of paint?

For long-lasting, vibrant results, it’s vital to choose the right paint for the job.


For walls and ceilings, you’ll need emulsion. Emulsion is a water-based paint and can be applied directly onto previously painted walls, lining paper or textured wallpaper. It usually needs at least two coats and if you’re painting over darker colours or new plaster, maybe more. Emulsion comes in these finishes:

Matt Emulsion

Gives a flat, non-reflective finish that works well with uneven surfaces. Our range includes washable matt paints too.


This is our trade paint. It’s thicker than other paints and produces a durable, soft sheen finish.

Soft Sheen

Creates a subtle mid sheen finish that can be wiped clean.


Great for small rooms, this shiny, light reflecting emulsion helps to create an airy, open feel and can be wiped clean.

For bathrooms and kitchens, choose paint specifically designed for these rooms.

Interior woodwork paints

For any woodwork, you can use an oil-based paint or water-based wood paints. Oil-based paints tend to give a stronger and longer lasting finish. These are available in gloss, satin, silk and matt finishes:

Shop all Woodwork Paints

How many coats of paint do I need?

For walls and ceilings, it depends on the surface you’re painting on.

Painting on bare plaster

You can either use specialist emulsion for new plaster or you can do two mist coats. This means watering down a white or light-coloured emulsion, to consist of 40% water and 60% paint:



If you paint unthinned emulsion straight onto bare plaster it dries too quickly and doesn’t bond with the wall properly, so the finish won’t last as long. If you ever see bits of paint peeling off from newly painted walls, it’s unlikely that mist coats have been applied. After the mist coats, you will need two or three topcoats.

Painting over existing paint

If you’re painting over a light colour, you should be able to use two coats of any topcoat colour. If you’re painting a light colour over a dark colour, it’s best to do one or two coats of white emulsion first then two coats of your topcoat.

Painting interior woodwork

If you’re painting over bare wood, you will need to use one coat of primer first to seal the wood then one coat of undercoat before one or two coats of your topcoat. You can buy 2-in-1 primer and undercoatwhich can negate the need for a separate undercoat. On already painted wood, it’s still advisable to do one coat of undercoat before one or two coats of topcoat.

Painting techniques

Do I need to sand between each coat of woodwork?

If you use fine sandpaper to sand between each coat, it gives the paint a better surface to attach to and results in a good, long-lasting finish. This is known as creating a key for the next coat. Also, if you’re painting onto bare wood, give this a light sand before painting with primer.

What does cutting in mean?

Cutting in is the term used for painting areas that are too small for a roller. This is normally where two different paint colours or types meet, often where the edge of a wall meets the ceiling and skirting or woodwork. A smaller, angled paint brush will make cutting in easier.

Do I need a special paint for kitchens?

Yes. Kitchen paints are designed to resist heat and steam better than standard paints plus they’re generally grease proof so you can wash splashes and stains off more easily.

Do I need a special paint for bathrooms?

Yes. Due to the nature of bathrooms, bathroom paints are mould and moisture resistant and they can be wiped dry without damaging the finish.

Should I paint a room in any particular order?

We recommend you follow this order:

  1. Ceiling
  2. Walls
  3. Skirting boards
  4. Windows & doors

It’s best to paint top to bottom to avoid any paint dripping from the ceiling onto the walls or drips from the walls landing on the skirting or woodwork.

How should I store brushes and rollers?

Once you’ve finished the job and cleaned the brushes and rollers, wrap them in cling film, cardboard or kitchen foil and store them flat. If you stand brushes up, you risk the bristles bending out of shape.

How do I stop bristles falling out of a brush while I’m painting?

Before you start, gently work the bristles with your fingers or against a wall to get rid of any dust or loose bristles.

How do I paint a radiator?
  1. Turn it off and let it cool completely. If you can, remove it from the wall to make it easier to paint
  2. Wipe the radiator down to remove any dust or grease then rub it down with wet and dry sandpaper, making sure you get rid of any rust spots
  3. Now the surface is clean and dry, it’s ready for the primer. Apply the primer and allow to dry
  4. Use a specialist radiator paint or a solvent-based paint to paint the radiator. It’s likely you’ll need two coats so leave the first coat to dry for 24 hours before applying the second
  5. Once painted, let the radiator dry completely before turning it on again. When you do use it, it’s normal to smell paint but this should soon disappear


An angled paint brush will help you reach into the grooves of the radiator.

How do I stop bristles falling out of a brush while I’m painting?

We recommend using mini rollers with long handles as these are designed to fit behind most radiators.

How do I stop bristles falling out of a brush while I’m painting?

Absolutely, but you’ll need to roughen the surface with sandpaper first to remove any trace of sheen.


How do I choose a roller?

Rollers are great for painting large areas, especially ceilings. The type of roller you choose depends on the wall surface. The rougher the surface of a wall, the longer the hair on the sleeve should be.

Shop all Woodwork Paints

Short pile & smooth foam rollers

These perform well on flat surfaces (such as newly plastered walls).

Medium pile rollers

Good for slightly uneven or textured surfaces.

Long pile rollers

Best for heavily textured surfaces.

Sheepskin rollers

These have an extra long pile and are well-suited for very rough surfaces.

Synthetic fibre roller

Great for oil-based paints.



Always wash new rollers before use to remove any manufacturing residue or dust.

How do I clean brushes after painting?


If using the next day, place brushes in a jar of water so they don’t dry out. To store your brushes, rub excess paint onto newspaper then rinse under cold water. Clean with a little detergent and warm water then rinse well and pat dry.

Oil paints

If you’re using the brushes the next day with the same colour paint, wrap them in cling film. For storage, use white spirit to clean them then press them dry with paper towels.

To remove hardened paint

Try dipping the brush in paint brush cleaner to soften it. Don't soak for too long because you could damage the bristles. Repeat as needed then rinse in hot, soapy water and hang up to dry.