5 Trade tips and tricks for successful decorating

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Do you ever wonder how decorators make painting a house look easy?

Well it’s not as easy as you think but with these top tips, you can learn from the experts and carry out a painting job to be proud of!

Most “normal” people (?) take painters and decorators for granted, it could be suggested, after all, how difficult can it be to stick a brush into a pot of paint and rub it on to a wall?

Well, actually if you have ever watched a professional decorator at work, you may be surprised it is not an easy as they make it look. As professional decorators ourselves, we often get called out to quote to put right DIY disasters or poor quality work when someone who called themselves a decorator actually made a bodge up of the work, often because the home owner chose the very cheapest quote and now regrets it.

Why would a decorator bodge a painting job?

Well we live in a world where more or less anyone can call themselves a decorator, from off duty fireman and milkmen, to people on the dole and always for cash in their hand of course!

Well, very few of these part timers are any good, although of course there are exceptions to the rule, but if you want your home painted properly, (and bear in mind your house could easily be worth between £200,000 and £400,000), you …er…. really do need to dip into your pocket and get it done properly!

I mean, with all due respect to hard pressed families, what is the point of being a skinflint and choosing the cheapest cash quote? If your budget can stretch to hiring a painter, check them out thoroughly and bear in mind that the most expensive quote you may receive, may actually not mean it is the BEST quote or estimate!

THIS IS YOUR HOUSE! YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET!

In addition, as we said above, we get called out by embarrassed and well meaning DIY’ers as they attempted to paint their pebbledash, thinking it would be oh so easy, and then quickly realised decorating wasn’t as easy as he thought, and made a dogs dinner of the exterior walls!

We don’t mind and we are always very sympathetic, after all everyone needs to save a bit of money here and there nowadays but cutting costs on home improvements will come back and bite you one day I assure you!

Don’t worry, and don’t hide away, we have compiled a few tips to help you avoid the embarrassment of messing up your home painting project this year!

What if you, yourself want to have a go at painting?

No problem, and despite my dire warnings above (!) doing a spot of decorating yourself can be fun, and rewarding too. Who hasn’t felt that feeling of satisfaction when standing back from a wall you’ve just painted and thinking “I did that!”.

We bring some tips and tricks today, direct from the tradesman’s mouth, so hopefully you can say the above phrase with a smile on your face, and not, crying your eyes out.

Here are some trade tips and tricks for successful home painting.

Our five most popular successful decorating tips!

Tip one: You think it’s easy?

Don’t presume painting and decorating is easy, it is not. If it were easy there would be no need for the millions of decorating contractors across the world.

If you do not have the right tools and equipment, or the experience and confidence to do any painting, especially outside decorating, then leave it to a proper painter please! Getting a quote for house painting is quick and easy and a good painter will get the job done in no time at all, for long lasting results.

We recommend you get no more than 3 quotes and never ever choose the cheapest as it will be cheap for a good reason, rarely a satisfactory one at that.

Tip two: Preperation is the biggest part of any home décor job.

Always spent more time on preparation than you would actually doing the main painting in the first place. Good decorators spent about 60% to 70% of each job on the prep work, and then they have made the painting much easier for themselves and they will achieve a superior finish too!

This includes the use of filler, scraping away old paint, killing mould, grouting or silicone filling cracks, filling in the beading gaps around windows etc etc, it’s ALL got to be done before you even open the can of paint.

I know it sounds like “teaching granny to suck eggs” as the saying goes, but you would be surprised how many eager amateur painters make a right mess of the job and get themselves all upset and frustrated as they did not know how much prep work to do, or they thought that buying a “one-coat” paint will get the job done quicker! (It won’t by the way)

As a footnote, you should always avoid one coat paints due to their poor opacity, and there’s more info here about that.

Tip Three: Think quality in all aspects of painting and decorating

Always use the BEST quality tools, brushes, paints and rollers that you can possibly afford. It may seem extravagant on spending 7 quid on one brush when “Bob’s budget hardware” down the road have a pack of 3 for 2 quid, but you just try and paint with the cheap brushes and see what happens!

This is more true for the paint you buy. Always go for good quality, branded paint as poor paint will last half the time and in the end cost you TWICE the money.

You should also definitely avoid cheap brushes (for example) as they hold less paint, meaning that you have to work twice as hard for 50% less of a good paint finish. In addition, a cheap brush will almost certainly shed its bristles on to your paint, possibly ruining the job, especially if you are gloss painting.

If you ever tried to remove a hair from the middle of a freshly glossed door, with paint on your fingers, you will know what I mean!

Tip Four: Do all your cutting in and edges FIRST

A pro painter, whether they are painting internally or externally, will concentrate on the edges, under windows, around door frames, corners and nooks and crannies FIRST before applying the main bulk of the paint.

If you try this, and then start on your main bit of the wall, you will find the whole job will go far quicker and will produce much better results. Always start from the TOP of any wall, and work downwards and only ever dip the brush about a quarter of the way into the pot, or excess paint will flow down the brush onto your fingers, plus you stand the chance of drips too.

If you watch a pro painting contractor at work, take a closer look at his HANDS because the first thing you WON’T see is paint all over them, it will be on the wall, where it is supposed to be!

Pay attention to detail for the best quality paint finish

Pay attention to detail for the best quality paint finish

If you remember to put down dust sheets or old blankets, this also helps with a better job, after all, what is the point of spending 2 days painting and then another 2 days cleaning off all the paint spills and drips? Use masking tape and old newspaper and cover all window cills too.

Tip five: If you want to paint like a pro, dress like a pro, act like a pro, think like a pro and you WILL BE a pro! (Hopefully). Some final thoughts….

A lot of the time it is down your mindset and how seriously you take each painting project.

LEARN from the trade, there is plenty more advice around the internet than the five points we are giving you here today.

Make sure you wear overalls, or at best, old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Use a paint kettle (A small container for your paint, with a handle, that is easy to hold up a ladder. Only £1.68 from Wickes DIY Product Code: 607260). Always protect areas not to be painted from spills and drips. Keep all your tools in one place and clean them after use.

Make sure if you are painting room, do what the professional does and move all furniture out and of course take the pictures down AND the lampshade if you are painting the ceiling.

If you are painting or decorating externally, make sure you are confident with using ladders or scaffolding, clear away all plants and other obstructions against the wall and, if you have read this article all the way through, you should be confident enough to do some painting yourself.

Make sure you do the correct preparation and take the task of painting SERIOUSLY, for a quality expert paint finish that YOU can do!

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