Hire a Professional Decorator

Ask a Decorator: Edition Two

Welcome to edition two of Ask a Decorator – a series in which we take user submitted questions and answer them as best we can.

Without wasting too much time, let’s see what we’ve got…

What’s the Graco Max Ultra like for painting cupboards?

It’s perfect for projects where you have cornices. I’d say in 2 days max of working with it, it pays for itself. It does not replace a normal spray pump, but in projects where you have to do detailed cornices is perfect. It’s also good for skirtings and frames. Not impressed with it for wider boards like flat doors or flat wardrobe doors. I am not a specialist technician, but it seems to have a pulsating flow instead of a continuous flow like standard airless and you can notice it on wider boards. But for narrower surfaces like corniches, skirtings, frames, spindles etc. it is perfect.

What’s a useful trick you’ve learned whilst working in the trade?

I remember working with someone who used cling film as a quick covering for banister handles. It actually worked a treat which was surprising. Best of all, it’s free…if you raid the customer’s cupboards. Just kidding…

What’s your opinion on paint conditioners?

Extenders, when used in the recommended ratio, do very little for level and flow. When overused they will compromise adhesion and reduce hide. Not worth it in my opinion.

I’m dry-lining a room. Do I need to do a mist coat on the plasterboard?

Here’s the thing – the actual board won’t need a mist coat but the actual filler will. In that instance it makes sense to mist coat the lot to get an even finish.

I usually paint and decorate for family and friends and have been asked to paint the exterior of a semi-detached house. It’s pretty standard, two stories with render on the walls. Any ideas what I should be charging, it’s my first blast at an exterior?

So if you put all the days it will take together plus materials and a danger bonus for working off ladders, then take the 15% family discount off. I would charge around £650 for a week with the discount.

Do you split out materials and labour when quoting or just a total price?

You’re losing thousands each year by separating labour and materials. I would charge everybody for a 2.5L satin and undercoat. Then carry them on to the next job who also get charged for them. It’s a business not a charity – you do the running around quoting, samples, fetching materials etc so you need to be paid for that too.

Have you used Eco Ezee brushes before? What are they like?

I love the Eco Ezee brushes. Not sure if you’ve heard but they’ve changed their name to Eco Union now and improved on what I already thought were brilliant. I like the slimmer brush, which they still do plus they do a ticket traditional style as well. Having tried the 2½ slimmer Eco Union I have to say I can notice a difference to the 2.5″ Eco Ezee brush I have.

The bristles are a lot softer and it doesn’t show as much brush marks in emulsion as my old one. But it still cuts in as sharp as any dedicated cutting in brush… if not better. Can’t wait to try the thicker brush and I might even order the 4″ as the old Eco Ezee brush is one of the best emulsion brushes I’ve used in years. Overall, big thumbs up from me.