How to paint your way to perfection

Painting walls isn't simply a matter of slapping it on, so read our easy guide to attain a perfectly painted room.

Top tips when painting your home

1. Pick healthier paints

Water-based paints and varnishes have a lower volatile organic compound (VCO) content than solvent-based ones. This means they do less environmental damage and pose less of a health risk to people using them regularly.

 

2. Roll it on

It’s worth buying a good-quality paint roller with a cage that spins freely and springs back into position when you squeeze it. Look for a comfortable handle with a threaded insert to take an extension pole—a telescopic one is the most versatile.

Read more: Should you use a brush, roller, pad or spray gun?

 

3. Choosing your sleeve

For a good finish on a very smooth surface a mohair sleeve with a short pile is best. A sleeve with a long lambswool or synthetic fibre pile forces paint into every crevice on a highly textured surface. If the standard of finish is not important, use a cheap foam roller.

 

4. Natural versus synthetic

Synthetic-fibre brushes will perform as well as all but the finest hog-bristle brushes and suffer far less from hair loss in use. They are also easier to clean than bristle brushes and keep their shape better too.

Read more: 5 colour rules when painting bedrooms

 

5. Try a paint pad

If you’re applying thin coats of paint to smooth surfaces, a paint pad is best. They’re easy to clean too.

 

6. Obliterate stains

Wax crayon and felt-tip pen marks will eventually show through layers of conventional paint. Smother them permanently with an aluminium primer-sealer or with a proprietary stain-block.

 

7. Hide imperfections

Gloss paint shows up every blemish in a surface. If your woodwork isn’t perfect or you don’t want to spend long hours on preparation, use a more forgiving matt or eggshell finish instead.

Read more: A simple guide to painting techniques

 

8. Reaching behind a radiator

Use a radiator roller or brush—both have long handles that let you get to the tricky out-of-the-way bits. Be sure to remove dust and cobwebs before you start. Mask the newly painted wall with plastic sheeting or hardboard when you come to paint the radiator itself.

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