Paint top tips

This guide aims to give you painting tips as well as answering some frequently asked questions on how to paint around the home to ensure a professional finish.

Buying the correct paint for your project

There are a few key elements to think about when you are buying paint. This section will ensure you are purchasing the correct paint for your project.

There are a few key elements to think about when you are buying paint:

  • The type of paint you need for your project, depending on the room and whether you are using it on walls, woodwork, interiors or exteriors
  • The finish to give the desired effect
  • The colour of the paint

Our number one tip for buying paint is to test samples. We offer sample pots as well as free colour cards so you can test the colour and finish before committing. Bear in mind that paint colours can look different when exposed to different light so observe the samples during different times of the day to ensure you are happy with the chosen shade.

Read our paint buying guide for information on each paint finish to help you work out which is best for your project.

Check the paint’s coverage to help you work out how much paint you will need.

Paint preparation

Paint preparation is a really important step in any paint project, with some surfaces and paints requiring more prep than others. Always refer to the tin or the brand's instructions or call us on 01761 404505 or email us.

Remove any wallpaper, ensure it is clean of any dirt or dust, fill and sand any holes or dents and prime the surface if necessary. Read the brand’s instructions to be sure.

It is likely you will need the below:

  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paint stirrer
  • Masking/decorators tape if you are painting around tricky areas such as window sills, door frames and skirting boards. It is recommended to use a high quality tape for best results.
  • Roller extension pole if you are painting high walls or ceilings
  • Sturdy ladder
  • Dust sheets to protect the flooring and furniture within the room
  • Paint cleaner for if you are using solvent-based paint

Having the right tools at hand is as important (or more) than the job itself, it is common to need both a brush and a roller for paint projects. Paint brushes are ideal for smaller paint jobs, from painting tight wall corners to touching up skirting boards. Paint brushes vary in size, design and bristle type. Each paint brush is suitable for a specific application so read the manufacturer’s instructions.

Paint rollers are designed to efficiently paint large flat surfaces, such as walls and ceilings. A paint roller can hold more paint than a paint brush and will distribute an even layer of paint quicker. Similarly, to paint brushes, paint rollers also differ in sizes, styles and material. You will need a paint tray if you are using a roller to hold the paint and apply it to the roller.

How to paint

This section aims to cover top tips for painting, covering walls, ceilings, staircases, furniture and behind radiators. Be sure to read the instructions on the paint tin as well as following our steps.

Once the surface is prepped appropriately, it is ready to start painting.

Use the masking tape to tape around skirting boards, windows, door frames and plug sockets.

Use a paint stirrer to ensure the paint is mixed thoroughly and there are no unwanted lumps. Take a brush and paint around the tricky areas, also known as ‘cutting in’.

Once done cutting in, you can apply paint to the rest of the walls using your roller. Load using the paint tray to ensure even coverage and apply using a parallel M or W motion. Roll as far into the painted sections as possible to remove brushstrokes.

Leave the paint to dry fully. It usually takes a few hours but it’s best to leave it overnight if possible. You may decide the walls need another coat of paint to achieve the desired effect. Repeat the same process as earlier.

Ceiling can sometimes be overlooked, but painting with a flawless finish will leave your room feeling much fresher.

Ensure you use a dust sheet to protect the flooring and any furniture within the room from any paint drips.

Start off by cleaning your ceiling, removing any dusts or cobwebs. Use the masking tape around the edges where the walls meet the ceiling and any cornices or down lights.

Same as when painting a wall, use a brush to cut in around the edges and any trickier places to paint before grabbing your roller.

Load your roller evenly and begin in one corner of the ceiling, moving in a parallel motion. Roll as far into the brushed sections as possible to remove brushstrokes.

Leave the paint to dry fully. It usually takes a few hours but it’s best to leave it overnight if possible. You will likely need to apply a second coat of paint, following the same process as earlier.

As a staircase experiences high footfall, ensure this project is started early or when the rest of the household don’t need access to the rest of the house. Sometimes this means you may have to paint the staircase over the course of a few days.

Start off by prepping the stairs, removing any old carpet, repairing any loose or broken areas and filling then sanding any dents. Vacuum any dust or dirt and clean with a cloth and cleaning solution.

Tape off areas if needed, such as where the walls meet the stairs.

Its important to consider whether you start at the top and work your way down, or vice versa, and plan depending on where you want to finish as you will be stuck on that floor once it’s complete while the paint dries.

Use a small brush for any details and hard to reach angles such as where the stairs meet. Apply paint to the rest of the stairs using a small foam roller. Don’t be tempted to apply the paint in thick coats. Wait until each coat is fully dry before applying the next. It is likely you will need at least two coats of paint. Ensure the paint is completely dry before anyone walks on it.

There are two ways to paint behind a radiator:

  1. By removing the radiator
  2. By painting around is as much as you can

Removing the radiator

This is the more difficult option of the two and only worthwhile if you have another pair of hands or someone who can remove the radiator for you.

Prepare the area by laying down dust sheets, turn the heating off well in advance and turn off the radiator valves by twisting them anti-clockwise. When it comes to turning off the lockshield valve, count how many times you need to turn it and write down this number. This is so you can bring your radiator back to the same ‘settings’ once you turn it on again later.

Remove the radiator from the wall by using a spanner to loosen the nuts between the valves and the radiator. Carefully lift the radiator away from the wall and drain the water into a bucket before placing it down on the dust sheet.

Now the radiator is out of the way, clean the area where the radiator has been. Use either a brush or roller to paint a layer of your chosen paint to the wall.

Wait for it to fully dry before reattaching the radiator to the wall. Put it back onto its wall brackets, replace the nuts and tighten the valves. Open the radiator vent at the top in the same way you would if you were bleeding it, leaving it open until water starts to come out.

Painting around the radiator

If you want to give the space behind your radiator a refresh without going to too much hassle, this option is for you. You will need a long and thin paint roller for this task.

Before painting, put a dust sheet over your radiator to protect it from paint splashes.

Use your long paint roller to get behind the radiator, being sure you are covering any areas visible to the eye.

Wait for the paint to dry fully before removing the dust sheets.

Painting furniture is a brilliant way to give loved pieces a fresh new look. When painting furniture, preparation is key to ensuring a flawless, long-lasting finish but this depends on the type of paint you use.

Always start by removing any hardware such as handles, as well as doors and drawers to make it easier to paint the entire piece.

For ease, Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint can be used for furniture upcycling with no preparation or priming needed. All that is recommended is that you finish with either Chalk Paint Wax or Lacquer for protection.

If you are using another type of paint, for example an acrylic eggshell or gloss, it is likely you will have to do some prep work such as sanding, cleaning and priming the wood first. Its always recommended to check the paint brand’s own instructions or contact our Customer Service team if you aren’t sure.

Once finished, leave the paint for around 6-8 hours to dry fully. Painted wood will also need time to cure which means that all of the water or solvents in the paint have fully evaporated. Painted furniture that is dry but not cured will dent easier than paint that is fully cured so it is important to bear this in mind. There is not an exact time period that it takes for paint to dry and cure as it depends on a number of external factors, but it is best to leave the item for as long as you can.

Cleaning & storage advice

Knowing how to properly clean and store your tools is important to ensure you can use them time and time again.

Storing leftover paint is easy as long as you keep the tins away from direct sunlight and in a frost-free environment. If you only have a small amount remaining, pour it into old jam jars and store it in a safe, dry place. It’s a good idea to keep paint rather than dispose of it so that you have it for any future touching up that will most likely be needed from general wear and tear.

Once you have finished painting, be sure to clean your brushes and rollers properly so that you can use them again in future. Firstly scrape off as much paint as you can.

If you’ve used a water-based paint such as water-based eggshell, soak your brush or roller in warm water for a few hours, dry with a clean cloth and leave somewhere to dry.

For solvent-based paints, use a small amount of solvent-based cleaner into a small jar or container and soak for a few hours. Work the brush or roller against the sides of the container to get the cleaner to the base of the bristles. Dry with a clean cloth and leave somewhere to dry. Be sure not to pour solvents down the sink once you are finished. Instead, place a lid on your container and leave for 24 hours. The paint should sink to the bottom, meaning you can tip the remaining solvent cleaner back into its original bottle for future use. Leave the paint to fully dry in the jar before disposing in the bin.

If you are in the middle of a painting project and want to keep your brushes from drying out, wrap the head of your brush or roller in cling film and secure in an airtight plastic bag.

Once you’ve finished painting, make sure your brush or roller is clean by following our cleaning advice, leave out to dry and store as you wish.


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