Ask a Decorator: Edition One

Ask a decorator is our new series where we take questions from our readers and answer them as best as we can.

Here’s edition one.

Why do painters wear white?

It’s just a clean, crisp, professional look. When you see a doctor or a cop, you know what they do for a living by looking at their uniform. It’s the same thing with painters.

Never sprayed uPVC window frames before, so what primers, paints and finishes are needed for the job?

Kolorbond, HMG or Selemix. No need for primers as they all have paint designed for the job.

I’ve got spots of dark paint on my white van exterior dulux how can I get them off without damaging the paint work?

A clay bar will take that off and it’s very easy to do.

Can I use vinyl silk paint on newly plastered walls if I mist coat first?

Silk is a pain for newly plastered walls even after misting. Get a durable matt from either Tikkurila or Dulux Trade Durable Matt. You need paint that will allow the moisture to breathe in the wall and won’t lift the paint away.

If you go to price a job and the house and cars are nice, should you charge extra?

No, because if you do a good job you’ll be well connected to other people who can afford to pay for your work. In the long run you won’t have to deal with as many people who want your labour for cheap.

Will Johnstone’s colour match a Farrow and Ball colour in Covaplus?

Interestingly, Farrow and Ball took Johnstone’s to court a few years ago citing copyright which should give you an idea as to how close they get to Farrow and Ball’s colours. Needless to say, you can’t copyright a colour and therefore Johnstone’s is still colour matching to perfection.

What’s your thoughts on apprenticeships?

The more effort you put into an apprentice the more you get back. But it is tough finding apprentices who are actually interested in the job.

I’m finally going to start using water based for my woodwork. Can you recommend a good quality brush?

You can spend lots on the fancy ones (and I do!) but to be fair, I’ve found the standard Prodec ones you get in a box set for around a tenner are really very competent. For woodwork, in water based, I always have 2 or 3 on the go at a time.

Use for an hour, then rinse and leave soaking in a 25% virisol solution. Rinse and spin the next brush and away you go. Do make sure you rinse well though, as you don’t want any virosol left on it.

Looking for a small delta sander that fits in between spindles. Is there such a thing?

The Mirka DEOS with the extended base plate is perfect for spindles.

An old decorator once told me that he used to mix in filler with his paint and water it down slightly so that it’s still the same viscosity and then roll on the walls. He said that was his trick to filling in minor little scrapes and holes in without having to apply filler. Would this actually work?

There are lots of short cuts and tricks of the trade. I have never heard of this one. If you want Easy Fill to go off quicker, put fine salt with it. Or, if you have a large hole and are in a rush, I use two part filler, then fine fill it straight after with Easy Fill, the heat from the two part soon makes it go off!

Full house, all the walls are silk redecorating in matt. What would your recommendation be? I was going to give the walls a good sand and crack on?

Bubbling seems to be the main problem painting over silk. I’d do a test wall first. No bubbling, then crack on. If it bubbles, sand the life out of it.

Have you got experience using Dulux’s “anti-crack” caulk? If so, is it any good?

I used the Dulux anti crack stuff for quite a while but still found it can craze sometimes. I’ve moved to the Brewers anti crack stuff which I’ve had not problems with as of yet. I also use the no nonsense caulk when I’m caulking where wood meets wood.

What would you use to strip the varnish on a wooden door? Need to get back to bare to get the desired finish.

Nitromors would be my go to. Products like Peelaway might be a bit too brutal on the wood.

I want to be a painter and decorator but I am afraid of heights. How do I overcome this?

You’ll need to either face your fears head on but if you can’t overcome it then you could specialise in interior instead and still earn decent money.

What mini roller sleeves are best?

I’d say Purdy or Two Fussy Blokes seem to be the best. Both brands give a really solid finish.