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Click here for Painting and Decorating Tips and Advice: Tools, Troubleshooting, Wallpapering, Working with Tools and Painting FAQ's...

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The Basics of Painting and Decorating

Success in house decoration depends on something more than the use of good paint and a certain amount of skill in its application, essential though these two factors undoubtedly are. At least as important is a thorough knowledge and understanding not only of the properties and possibilities of the materials employed, but also those of the different surfaces over which they are used.
Another factor which may exert a substantial influence on the life and behaviour of paintwork is the weather and atmospheric conditions prevailing at the time of application.

Golden Rules:

Buy the best tools and equipment you can afford, especially paint brushes.
Buy good quality paint and materials. Buying cheap paint is often a false economy as many more coats are usually required.
Follow the manufacturers instructions on tins and other materials. don't always interpret too literally as there is usually a degree of flexibility, especially in diluting paints.
Complete all your preparation before you start to decorate.
Try to ensure that you have bought enough materials to complete the job. This is essential when buying wall-paper.
Don't rush the job. Give paints time to dry between coats.
Keep the area where you are decorating as dust free as possible.
Don't wear woollen garments, if possible wear cotton overalls or jeans and cotton shirt.

Preparation:

Good preparation is essential for a good quality finish.

How to prepare wood for painting:
Remove dirt and grease.
Remove all loose, flaking materials from the surfaces to be decorate
Scrape off all bits and lumps.
Fill holes and cracks with appropiate FILLER.
On previous paintwork wash down with hot water and SUGAR SOAP. Do not use household aerosol spray cleaners.
On good paintwork rub down with fine sandpaper or a WET AND DRY abrasive paper to give the new paint a key or wipe with sugar soap applied with a sponge
On badly damaged, cracked, bubbled or very old paintwork, strip back to bare wood using a chemical STRIPPER or BURNING-OFF.

New Wood. Painting new wood. Painting bare wood. how to paint...

Preparation of new wood is straightforward.
Clean off and dust before applying knotting if needed.
Knotting dries almost immediately so primer can be applied soon after.
Primer should be allowed maximum drying time, overnight is best.
When primer is dry, sand down, dust off and undercoat.
For a better finish apply two undercoats, allowing time to dry between coats.
It is a good idea to rub down with fine sandpaper after each coat.
For a superior finish you can apply two coats of top-coat, the second being applied within 24 hours of the first. If the first Finish coat gets too long to harden then the second Finish coat may eventually be susceptible to chipping off.

Sandpapering. How to sandpaper. Using sandpaper. Grades of sandpaper. Wet and dry sandpaper. Emery paper.

Wooden surfaces to be stained or painted by the decorator usually have major roughness already removed, but are seldom smooth enough for sand- papering to be entirely dispensed with if a first-class result is required. As with other seemingly simple operations, there is a right and a wrong way of doing this, and the importance of doing it properly is not always appreciated.

Providing the woodwork feels only slightly rough when the hand is passed lightly across it, fine sandpaper is generally most suitable. It should be held perfectly flat against the surface; when large areas have to be papered, a flat piece of cork, wood, or rubber can advantageously be employed as a pad, and the sandpaper wrapped around it will be kept in level contact with the wood. Ready-made sandpaper-holders are obtain­able and are very useful.

The most important points to observe are to maintain even pressure and never to rub across the grain of the wood. If undue pressure is exercised on any part of the Work, there is risk of leaving a faint hollow or depression, which, though it may not be obvious at the time, will probably be quite noticeable after the finishing operation has been completed. Unless rubbing is done up and down the grain, when applying stains, the stain may dry out patchily, with some parts darker than others.

In good-class work, any resinous matter in knots should be completely cut out, if this is practicable. Even a trace of free rosin in the wood will cause oil or spirit stains to creep away from these points, since the rosin tends to soften when wet material is applied.

Sandpaper is graded from very fine to coarse. Sheets are code numbered on the back to indicate the degree of coarseness. For most work a medium grade is adequeate.

For progressively finer work black emery paper is normally used, known as wet-and-dry because using it with water creates a very fine finish.

Decorating Tools
THE object of painting is principally for protection against atmospheric and other outside influences, to preserve materials, and secondly to decorate.The craft of the decorator has a long and interesting history, but until comparatively recently it had changed but little for hundreds of years. It employed a relatively restricted range of materials, most of which were "knocked up” by the decorator himself, using rule-of-thumb methods, but producing excellent results. Labour was cheap, time was of far less account than it is now, and houses, furniture, and other things were built to last; all these factors encouraged a high standard of craftsmanship which was, in fact, generally maintained. The change may be said to have begun in earnest after the 1914—18 war. It originated from the greatly increased cost of labour and thenecessity for speeding up work, both of which were legacies from the war. These have necessitated the introduction of many new materials and methods, involving in some instances a different technique of application and, in one or two cases, the reversal of time-honoured principles.The decorating trade is notoriously conservative and is inclined to be suspicious of everything that is new. The changes which have taken placein it have been forced on it by sheer necessity. It was not that the old traditional methods were not reliable but rather that many of them were no longer economic, since they required too much time and labour under existing conditions. There was also a tendency to use alternative materials for the decoration and protection of surfaces on which, hitherto, paint had been used as a matter of course. If paint, and with it the painter’s craft, were to hold its own it had to move with the times; the work of the paint research chemist and the enterprise of the paint manu-facturer made this possible.
Factory-made Materials

The outstanding difference between the trade to-day and that of prior to 1918 is the enormous increase in the use of factory-made paints and other materials. Ready-mixed paints are by no means of recent introduction: they have been on the market for well over a hundred years but in their early days they were often of inferior quality and the professional decorator, with few exceptions, had little use for them, regarding them as primarily intended for amateur use. True, he did not attempt to prepare his own varnishes or enamels, but his paint he made up himself as a matter of course, relying on white lead and adjusting the proportions of oil, turpentine, and driers according to the condition of the surface, as his experience dictated. Colour mixing and matching were everyday jobs and no one who was unable to carry them out with reasonable efficiency could be regarded as a skilled painter.Thanks to a more scientific approach to the subject and the volume and nature of the research which has been done on it, the present-day ready-mixed paint, as produced by any firm of repute, is a first-class material which is at least as good as, and in many ways superior to, anything which the decorator can make up for himself.

This is due not only to the careful selection of materials and improvements in machinery which enable finer grinding and more thorough mixing than is possible to the painter, but also to the degree of control and close supervision which is exercised over every stage in the operation. Provided that the decorator deals with a good firm, is prepared to pay a fair price, and follows the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions, he can use factory-made finishes with every confidence. Since paints, distempers, and other materials used by the decorator in the course of his work are now available in ready-for-use form of high quality in a range of tints more than adequate for all ordinary purposes, it may be asked whether there is much point in studying the various pigments, oils, thinners, and other ingredients employed in the making of finishes, or of attempting to master such operations as paint and colour mixing.

The answer must be that it is very well worth doing so, for the more the painter knows of and understands the materials of his trade, the better craftsman he is likely to be. If he relies exclusively on factory-made finishes he has little more claim to be looked upon as a decorator, in the fullest sense of the word, than has a woman, who depends solely on tinned goods, to be regarded as a genuine cook. It must be recognised that ready-mixed materials have come to stay and the saving of time and labour which their use permits more than out- weighs their disadvantages. For all their convenience, however, they have not proved an entirely unmixed blessing to the trade.

The golden rule is the same for decorating projects, buy the best that you can afford. This is especially true regarding brushes. Cheap brushes cast bristles easily and can be a nightmare to use when glossing woodwork.
Still, cheap brushes have their place. They are ideal for jobs where it is probably better to throw away the brush after use(e.g. using Knotting or catalytic compounds) or jobs which don't require a good quality brush (e.g. using bitumen or creosote on rough wood).
It is always sensible to look after all your tools and most of them will last for many years.

 

 

 

 

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