Do you have a question that has been puzzling you? Would you like some advice?

We’re here with years of experience and knowledge within the industry to answer any of your decorating questions. Take a look at some of the recently asked questions our Master Decorator has responded to. Alternatively if there is something you would like to ask then please ask away!

The best way to stop your brushes drying out is to wash them in the relevant cleaning solution (dependent on the filament type and paint type used) and then store the brushes in an air tight box. I personally use the Brush Mate Vapour Box. I know some decorators like to leave their brushes soaking in a cleaning solution between jobs to keep the brushes from drying out however this can damage the bristles and cause them to become misshaped. Before placing your brushes in you vapour box it is important to always check the recommended storage techniques stated on the packaging.

When spraying it is vital you wear the correct PPE protective clothing and take the necessary precautions to ensure you and your client do not inhale any hazardous substances. You should always be aware of who else is going to be within close proximity of the area you are spraying and ensure they are in the correct protective clothing.

When  I carry out any spraying project I ensure I’m wearing the following. A trade rated respiratory mask, prep Safety Goggles prep latex disposable gloves and a prep disposable work suit to protect my clothes.

It is important to remember to always follow the manufactures guidelines with regards to PPE and protective equipment and to always check  the safety data sheets as these will specify any precautions needed to ensure user safety is maintained.

There is not one single thing you can do to ensure your bristles don’t come out of your paint brush. Bristle loss it typically down to the brush you are using and how the bristles are secured in the ferrule.

 

If you use the Kana Professional Synthetic Brushes you will see a dramatic reduction in bristle loss compared to other synthetic brushes.

Using the Masq Painter’s Tape is certainly worth the time it takes to set up when cutting in, the lines you can achieve are truly outstanding. Using masking tape creates a much smoother finish as well as sharper lines giving a professional looking finish.

When using masking tape it is important to ensure you have selected the correct tack for the surface you will be working on otherwise you could end up damaging your wallcovering.

If the top of the wallpaper keeps coming away from the wall this is usually because it hasn’t been smoothed down enough for it to properly adhere to the wall.

If I notice the paper is dropping down from the top I usually brush out the paper again from the bottom to top and then do my adjustments to match the pattern back up again.

Its always frustrating when you have spent time matching up the pattern, so always ensure you smooth out the whole strip of wallpaper from top to bottom properly allowing it to adhere to the wall.

Assuming the skirting boards are already painted you will need to prepare them accordingly. First start off by filling any holes and allowing the appropriate time to dry. Once dry you can then begin your sanding back to provide a key for the new paint to adhere to.

 

Once sanded clean down and apply caulk if necessary and allow to dry. Then proceed to paint using your desired woodwork paint. As with everything in decorating, the lifespan of your work will depend on the preparation you undertake before painting. In some cases gripper primers may be necessary and knotting solution so be sure to check the manufacturers guideline to ensure your paint is compatible.

 

Lap marks and tramlines in emulsion are normally caused by 2 things. The first being paint overload and it not being distributed evenly. Therefore if you are heavy handed and load the wall will a lot of material, you will need o roller over it several times.

 

Lap marks or tramlines in emulsion is normally cause by 2 things. The first being paint overload and not rolled out enough. If you are heavy handed and load the wall with a lot of material ensure

you go over it to distributed evenly.

 

The second reason is usually uneven handling of the roller and cage. If too much pressure is applied to one side it can cause the paint to disperse unevenly leaving the dreaded lap marks. It is always best to stay central with the roller and don’t apply to much pressure. Allow the roller head to do the work for you.

When hanging wallpaper it’s important that the wall has been prepared accordingly whether that should be cross lined or sized.

 

If you are getting bubbles underneath your wallpaper this is because air has been trapped between the wallpaper and the wall. For the wallpaper to lay flush against the wall, the air needs to be removed.

 

This can be done using the Kana Premier Wallpaper Hanging Brush, start central on the wall and brush out the paper taking the air bubbles to the side of the paper for them to escape, repeat this process until all bubble and lumps are successfully removed.

The best way to estimate paint quantity is to first measure the room you will be painting. So for example let’s say the room in which you are painting is 4m x 4m this gives an overall square meter of 16.

 

On all paint cans the manufacture will stipulate the coverage so check this prior to purchase. But for an example (not accurate) using a regular vinyl Matt emulsion 2.5 ltrs will give you 12-14 Sqm per litre and would enable you to apply a second coat. The 2.5 ltr tin should cover approximately 30sqm but if it becomes close always buy more as the tins can have variations in colour.

Exterior paint going mouldy is normally a sign of contamination where the paint is not being able to prevent the mound growth. To stop this from happening, if you are starting a new masonry project it is important to always prepare the walls properly before applying the necessary amount of stabilising solution dependant on the substrate before applying the top coats.

Always check your manufacture guidelines on the product you are using. Once a top coat has been applied, to prevent mould growth you should clean the surface regularly using a cleaning solution or lock the colour in using a water seal product.

When choosing the pile length you need to think about what you will be painting. If I had a very smooth surface to work with I would more than likely choose a short pile/ medium pile roller head. However if I was to paint a rough cast exterior it would be long pile every time. The pile needs to be long enough to make direct contact with the substrate allowing it to work in between the gaps and provide the best finish possible.

It is important to look after all of your decorating equipment to ensure you achieve the maximum life and quality from them. Every decorator has their own ways of looking after their equipment. Some people simply wrap them in cling film awaiting the next use and others store them in a box. But I personally like to clean my rollers and brushes’ storing them dry. I use a conventional storage tub and secure the lid storing brushes in one and rollers in a slightly larger tub. In warmer seasons I leave my brushes suspended in clean spirit to stop them drying out. If rollers are correctly cleaned the pile should never bind and stay useable for longer.

It is not always necessary to prime walls every time you carry out a freshen up. In most cases a good rub back using the prep range of tools is adequate, providing a key for the new paint to adhere too. Priming may be necessary if you have used filler or any stain block as they can leave surfaces feeling a little rough.  Always check the manufacturer guidelines when using such products as they will specify the correct procedure.

Before starting any decorating project it is important to establish whether the substrate you wish to paint requires any priming or preparation. It is always best to check the manufacturers’ guidelines of the material you will be using as they will give clear instructions on the best way to prime and prepare the surface. Many decorators have different ways of priming surfaces such as using a mist coat or a primer sealer. For example fresh plaster requires sealing prior to painting.

Fresh plaster can be very porous and applying a vinyl product directly on to plaster will more than likely create a skin, not allowing the paint to soak in according. A mist coat allows the plaster to breathe enabling you to apply your top coats directly with no issues

When preparing for any exterior project the first thing you need to do is ensure the conditions are appropriate for the equipment and decorating tools you are going to be using. For example some materials are not meant to be applied above or under certain temperatures. So always check the manufacturers guidelines before starting.

Assuming you have already checked the manufacturers guidelines and your window has already been painted I would approach the exterior wood in the following way:

Firstly, prep and rub back the existing surface, this will provide a key and help with paint adhesion. Depending on the material you are covering a gripper adhesion primer may be necessary or an external undercoat.

Following successful application of undercoat, next prep the surface by filling any holes and other detailing such as scraping existing paint from any glass.  Once all the appropriate prep work has been carried out you should then be able to apply the top coats in your chosen material.

Ensure you follow guidelines on recoat times as if this is rushed in colder conditions the surface could bloom with an entrapment of moisture discolouring the surface. If you’re not confident in cutting in sash windows there are many Masq masking tapes available to help such as the Masq Gold Masking tape with up to 90 day UV resistance.

Assuming all surfaces are prepped and sizing has been completed I advise firstly to work out how your paper will sit and fall. By this I mean where the pattern will lay on the wall (eg. Whether the pattern repeat at eye height or centrally etc).

Once you have worked this out it’s normally best practice to dry cut all of your drop lengths prior to pasting, making for easier handling and faster application.

After you have worked this all out use either a plumb or a laser level to ensure the first drop is straight and hang accordingly once pasted. It’s best practice to regularly check your paper is level as if it begins to slant this will affect the overall finish. A few precautions when hanging paper always follow manufacturers guidelines on prep and soaking times and always have a wet sponge to clean off any excess paste that may get onto the face of your paper.

Washing walls is good practice for any decorator. Cleaning the surface of any contaminations prior to decorating is always best especially as unwashed walls can cause unforeseen issues later on when applying wall coverings.

When washing walls I tend to use the Beeline Sugar Soap or a decorating cleaning agent. Firstly I sand the walls back ensuring an even surface then apply the sugar soap accordingly. It is best to apply the sugar soap using a wet cloth that has been soaked in it. Allow to fully dry before applying any other material on top.

Firstly with any masonry project it is essential to ensure all objects that are in close proximity of where you will be working are covered as due to working outside wind can cause overspray. Therefore I suggest using (dustsheets) and (protective tape) for any downpipe or drainage hardware that cannot be removed.

Assuming the surface you are working on has been prepped and stabilised where necessary I’d recommend the following as a masonry kit:

If you have prepared your area well and have used the above products you will have a successful project with great end results.

To remove wallpaper easily and effectively you must first obtain what type of wall covering is used and which removal method would be best suited in removing the paper, whether it be via a wallpaper steamer or scoring tools.

If using a steamer there are many tang scrapers to assist with the removal of wallpaper once the adhesive begins to melt and lift. Be careful with the amount of heat you expose the wallpaper to as the plaster behind is porous and if exposed to excessive moisture it may cause cracking.

If you choose to use the scoring method run the Tri Scorer Wallpaper Tool gently over the surface making as many incisions as possible. Following successful completion and a fully scored area use a garden sprayer with concentrate solution (of your choice) to spray the paper allowing it to soak in (always following the manufacturers guidelines). This will then begin to breakdown the adhesive behind the paper and allow for easy removal.

Before you start filling holes and cracks it is important you determine the cause as the method for fixing may vary.

For this example I will be using a hole made from drilling, dependant on the depth you may need to check the filler you’re using (but assuming this has already been selected). Using a tang flexible filling knife scoop the desired amount of filler out and press firmly into the hole flexing the knife, allowing the filler to fill the entire hole properly. It may be possible to remove excess at this stage saving time on rubbing it back with sandpaper later.

Dependant on the filler or depth you may need to repeat this process again once the filler has hardened. Once the filler has dried you may need to use sandpaper to create a smooth finish.

With regards to hairline cracks it’s normally best to rake out any loose plaster or substrate prior to filling, this is to prevent reoccurrence of the crack. Simply use the corner of the tang multi-purpose tool to scrape away any loose or cracked substrate. Fill as above then paint as required.

Cutting in is an art in itself and one of the most important aspects of any decorating projects. Decorating is all about lines and if you can achieve straight sharp lines you’re onto a winner.

To achieve a high standard of finish there are many things to take into consideration but the most important is your choice of brush. Personally I like to use the Kana Oval Synthetic Brush for cutting in. (However you can use the Kana Synthetic Slant Brush for this aswell, its all down to personal preference).

Once you have selected your brush, apply the majority of the paint below the line you wish to cut. Turn the brush sideways picking up paint on route and use a side to side action allowing the bristles to drag in the line. Normally you would cut twice so if you don’t get it right first time then on your second time round you can tighten these lines.

The key to cutting in is choosing the right brush and not overloading with paint.

When touching up paint the success of patching, depends on how long the paint has been on the wall.

If you need to fill you must remember that the filler is a different substrate material to plaster, so care must be taken when patching in and rubbing back to help blend in as much as possible.

Following successful prep, filling, spot priming if necessary and painting you should be able to do a repair without it being noticeable.

However if the paint around the area has faded or aged and you apply brand new paint to the wall there will be a noticeable imbalance. Therefore in some cases it’s better to repair and repaint the entire wall or ceiling section for a higher standard of finish.

The type and style of filler is also a key factor in patching in as some fillers can flash through paint layers more than others, so do your research and select the filler that best suits your specific area.

When painting a ceiling the first thing you need to do is ensure that all of your soft furnishings and anything below the ceiling is fully protected. Once everything has been covered then begin with the preparation, assuming the coving (if any) and the ceiling has been filled and sanded, begin to paint. I find the best way is to start is with the coving, going approximately ½ an inch below the edge to ensure that when you cut in you will have a crisp white underside to establish your line. Once you have brushed the entire coving and cut into the ceiling you are ready to start rolling from one edge out. Always ensure you roll sustaining a wet edge, evenly rolling out the paint leaving no tramlines or lap marks.

Oil based gloss is more than likely the cause of yellowing on radiators. If oil based paints are not subjected to enough UV light the solvents will over time turn yellow. One way to avoid this from happening is to use a water based paint instead of oil based, however it is important to remember to use the correct adhesive primers before applying the paint and to always check the manufacturers’ guidelines before starting.

When choosing your paint brushes it is important to establish what you will be using the brush for and what type of material you will be using it in. Once you have thought about this choosing the right brush becomes instantly easier.  For example, if you are carrying out detailed or complex work then you would benefit from using a brush with a small narrow head which gives you excellent control and allows you to complete fine details. However if you are painting one large area then it would be beneficial to use a large brush that holds significantly more paint.

 

Natural bristle brushes are ideal for use in oil and solvent based paints whereas synthetic bristles are more suited to emulsion and water based paints.