PAINT: a true picture Of all the renovating and decorating jobs around the house, painting probably makes the greatest impact. It is relatively inexpensive and can be tackled by even the most amateur Rembrandt. But it can also be confusing – ascertaining which paint goes where, deciding on the correct method of application, correct preparation of surfaces and often the hardest decision of all, color selection. In terms of physical work, the preparation of surfaces can be the most onerous and time consuming task. It is amazing how many times friends and family offer to help with the painting after you have struggled with the scraping, sanding, filling and washing down! It’s tempting to say “no thanks. This is the good bit”. However, the paint you see on a finished wall is only part on the entire picture. If done correctly, a paint job should include two or more of the following components: Filler. Used to fill imperfections and irregularities. Primer. For metal, galvanized iron and timber-prevents corrosion and penetrates the surfaces to give a sound key for finishing coats. Sealer. For stained and porous surfaces. Prevents contaminations of surfaces coat and prevents other coats from being absorbed into the base material. Undercoat. Conceals previous color, covers minor imperfections and provides a uniform base for the top coat. Top coat. Provides the decorator finish, final color and protections. There are a number of different varieties of top coat paint and it can be confusing deciding on which finish you want. The following is a guide to the various types of paint, where and how to use them and their benefits and disadvantages. Interior Acrylic, water based paints Easy and quick to use, clean-up and thin with water, low odor, flexible, retains gloss and color for a long time, non-yellowing and quick drying (generally touch-dry in 20 minutes and can be re-coated in two hours). This type of paint is not always suitable for areas of high humidity. Best applied with long bristled, full bodied brush or roller (different naps for different paint types – check with professional paint suppliers). Flat Suitable for interior walls and ceilings in dry areas. May be washed with care (best to wash entire area rather than small section). Low light reflection makes it excellent for older homes as it hides imperfections in plaster. Low-sheen and Satin Good for interior walls and ceilings. Hard wearing can be scrubbed (however vinyl and cheaper paints can be adversely affected by household solvents). Ideal for living rooms, and bedrooms, also available for wet areas. Semi-gloss Can be used on interior walls and ceilings, but it best used in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where cleaning is frequent and moisture accumulates. Gloss For use on all interior surfaces, walls and ceilings in wet areas and those areas traditionally painted with oil based enamel such as skirting boards architraves, door surrounds, etc. Adheres well to old enamel finishes and resists yellowing. Ceiling paint Higher degree of opacity than standard wall paints. One-coat ceiling paints cover well with just one coat on most surfaces. Enamel gloss Better durability in humid areas and is more knock resistant than water based paint. Best applied with a medium length bristle brush or short-nap roller. Clean up and thin with turpentine, strong and long lasting odor, slow drying (generally touch dry in six hours and can be re-coated after 12-24 hours). Can only be applied to dry surfaces, non flexible, less color and gloss retentive than water based paints. Exterior Paints Most exterior paints these days are water based acrylic which offer a protective, flexible and tough finish guaranteed to last for up to ten years. Because of their make up and opacity, they seldom need an undercoat or primer, except in the case of bare (non galvanized) iron and some timbers. The range of colors available is extensive. Generally, the same paint can be used on masonry, timber, bricks, fibro, cement and galvanized iron and most brands come in gloss and semi-gloss/low- sheen/satin finish. There are also products specifically recommended for bare timber such as fences, decking, pergolas and outdoor furniture. The two best known brands of exterior paint are Wattyl Solagard (and now Solagard Plus) which was formulated 20 years ago and Dulux Weathearshield. Each is simplicity itself to apply and need little if any preparation beyond filling unwanted cracks.
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