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Preparation Pays

Good preparation of all surfaces is vital to top quality decorating. This means removing all dirt, grease, loose and flaking materials; repairing cracks and holes removing decay, whether you are planning to decorate inside or out.

It is a good idea to allow a little extra time and effort to thoroughly clean and dry the surfaces to be painted. Here you can see how best to prepare the majority of surfaces found in the home for painting and how to remedy any faults before you start.

New Plaster
•  Plaster must be clean and dry before painting.
•  Rub off any surface salt that emerges with a dry cloth. Do not wash it off – this will simply wet the salts which will then be re-absorbed by the wall.

Previously Painted Walls
If the walls and paintwork to be repainted are sound, wash over with diluted washing-up liquid to remove dust and grease. Wash from the floor upwards to ensure no streaks will appear from water running down. Rinse clean and allow to dry.
•  If there are any cracks, repair with a filler but do give this time to dry.
•  It is vital to remove all loose paint with a scraper and brush. When a sound edge is reached, smooth this over with sandpaper to blend the edges together. 
•  Repair any obvious patches or cracks with a filler.
•  Where the surface still remains loose or powdery, a binding coat of Stabilising Masonry Primer should be applied.

It is not advisable to paint over damp areas. The only real solution to this problem is to find out why it is damp and treat it correctly - this may entail seeking specialist advice.

Mould Growth
Mould is usually due to a build up of condensation so improving ventilation will help.
The affected surface should be sterilised with a 1.8 solution of Sandtex Fungicide, always following the manufacturer's instructions.

Filling Plaster Cracks and Holes
•  In cases where the wall has larger holes and cracks, cut them back to a sound edge removing all loose material. Dust over apply a filler.
•  If the hole is quite large, fill in stages, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before applying the next. Sand flat when dry.
•  Small cracks should be smoothed over with a fine 'surface' filler.

New Metalwork
•  Do not leave new metalwork bare, as this encourages rust to form.
•  Dust away any metal scrapings and apply Crown Universal Primer.

Previously Painted Metalwork
•  Remove loose rust with a metal brush or scraper.
•  Use Crown Universal Primer on bare patches before applying paint.

Pre-1960's Lead Warning
Special precautions should be taken during surface preparation of pre-1960’s paint surfaces as they may contain harmful lead.

New Woodwork
•  New woodwork may have rough edges and splinters. These should be sanded down and any rough edges rounded off.
•  Where the wood is darker due to knots or resin, over paint with knotting to prevent show-through.
•  To give a smooth, solid finish, fill cracks and joins with a filler before you paint. Open graining and scratches can be smoothed over a finer filler and then when dry, rubbed over with sandpaper and dusted off.
•  Prime with one coat of Crown Universal Primer which should be well brushed into the wood.

Previously Paint Woodwork
•  On sound woodwork, prepare for painting by washing down with diluted washing-up liquid and rub over with wet and dry paper before a final rinse. Wash from the bottom upwards.
•  Where paint is loose, remove it with sandpaper and dust clean. Any cracks or joints should be filled and sanded smooth when dry.

Stripping Paint
There are three ways to remove old, blistered and cracked paint – with a blowtorch, a hot air stripper or a liquid paint stripper. The latter is best for metalwork as the heat from the blowtorch and stripper may melt soft metals. When using any of these methods ensure that the floor area or window panes are well protected with hardboard or similar material.

•  A blowtorch or hot air stripper blisters the paint so it can be scraped off easily. Always work from bottom to top, removing paint as it blisters with a scraper. Use a shavehook to remove paint lodged in cracks and mouldings. Either or these methods can be used on wood. Always keep the flame or air stream moving so the surface does not scorch.

•   Ideal for use on metalwork and carved wooden surfaces, liquid paint stripper should never be applied near a naked flame as it may produce toxic fumes. Protect hands and clothes with rubber gloves and overalls. Ensure children and pets are kept well way from the area. Always apply the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions, working on small areas at a time.

•   Once the surface is cleared of old paint, wash it down thoroughly with diluted washing-up liquid, then sand smooth and dust. Allow wood to dry completely before applying new paint.

Selecting the right product
Paint can generally be divided into four categories:
•  Emulsion paints - for walls and ceilings.
•  Gloss paints - for wood and metal.
•  Exterior paints - for outside use.
•  Preparatory products - for use with all the above.