How to achieve the ‘best possible surface’ for paint – creates a ‘flawless finish’

B&Q: Expert shares advise for painting a room

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Painting walls is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to change the appearance of a room. Whether the change will be positive or negative depends on how well Britons understand what they need to do in order to get professional results. Rob Abrahams, Co-Founder of COAT Paints spoke exclusively to on how to prepare a wall for painting.

He explained: “Prep is key when it comes to painting. 

“The aim of the game is to give yourself the best possible surface for all that lovely paint to stick to, and make sure the finish is flawless.”

The first step is to organise all the items needed for the task. These include:

● Sugar soap (or mild washing up liquid), bucket and sponge.
● Scraper and wall filler
● Stepladder
● Screwdriver (to loosen sockets and fixtures)
● 180 grit sandpaper (check the pack of the sandpaper)

The next step is to set up your canvas, which may seem obvious, but Rob noted that “many folks don’t give themselves enough room”.

He instructed: “Move your furniture out the way, cover it up and the floor around the area you’re going to prep – old bedsheets will do the trick.

“Take down any pictures and shelves and pop them to one side, removing any nails or screws from the wall where possible (to avoid damaging your roller later on).”

The expert urged homeowners to be careful with electrics when loosening the sockets to allow room to paint underneath the edges and get a “much cleaner painted edge”. 

For previously painted walls, take a look for any lumps and bumps or flaking paint areas.

Rob suggested: “You can scrape these back to a solid edge, then apply some wall filler. 

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“Once it’s dry, use a piece of 180 grit sandpaper to rub the area back to a smooth finish. Be a bit careful if your current paint is a glossy or silk finish. 

“If this is the case we would recommend either giving the wall a rub down to ‘key’ the surface or using a specialist primer to ensure your paint topcoat adheres properly, painting on shiny stuff isn’t ideal.”

Those with new plaster, it’s a slightly different story. Painting a newly plastered wall requires more prep as it needs to be sealed to provide a stable surface for the topcoat, according to the painting pro.

He advised: “Let the plaster dry to a uniform colour and finish, particularly watching for corners. 

“Now apply a mist coat of good quality emulsion with a ratio of water (according to the manufacturer’s instruction) or paint diluted 10 percent with water. 

“This mist coat will soak into the plaster, sealing the surface and preparing it for the top coats by ensuring the surface is the same finish.”

Now that you’ve done the prep to get to a smooth and stable surface, it’s time to clean any dust and dirt.

Rob said: “Grab a bucket with warm water and sugar soap (or a touch of mild washing up liquid) and clean the walls from top to bottom. 

“This step is another key one, don’t paint cobwebs in, they don’t look great!”

The expert explained that there’s no need to soak the wall, just a light clean down then once dry do the same again with cold water and you’re all set. 

This process will also highlight any final lumps or areas that may cause aggravation. 

Homeowners can always give these another sand down “to finish prepping like a boss”, says Rob. 

He continued: “Top tip as well, most folks leave the radiator in place and struggle to clean and paint behind it. 

“For a lot of newer properties the radiators are usually sat on two brackets, so it’s super simple to lift and lightly place on the floor or box while still attached. 

“Just make sure you’ve checked properly before giving this a go, but it can be a great time saver.”

With good-quality paint Britons shouldn’t need a primer but if the surface is glossy or silky or households have damp or staining they’ll need a specialist primer, says the expert.

To get the cleanest lines, the final step is to tape along skirting boards, door frames and down any edges or detail.

Rob suggested: “You can use our eco decorating tape or a good quality tape, don’t scrimp otherwise you’ll pay for it when you lift it up and the paint has found its way underneath. 

“Once you’ve taped it out just run your finger along the top edge to make sure it’s fully down, nice and straight.”

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