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Painting & Decorating Hints & Tips

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      06.10.2012 09:56
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      Decorating tips

      When we moved into our first married home together six years ago, my husband and I chose a brand new spanking house that had just been built by the Twigden builders and obviously needed nothing doing to it. I love new houses for their modern crisp look and for the fact that they are ready to move into and you do not need to do any decorating to them. We even got to choose some of the decorations ourselves such as the colours of the tiles and things like that. I would love to buy a run down home in the future and do it up ourselves but for that time in our life when we were both working long hours in London a new home was just what we needed. Fast forward about four years and a new home definitely needs some touch ups. The paint that the builders used was quite a low quality paint so it came off quite easily. We found that if there was any mess on the walls if we tried to rub it off with a damp cloth the paint would come off too so that wasn't good. Also, a new house is quite a plain blank canvas of plain white walls and so a few years in you want to add your own stamp to it and do something different with it. When we started to decorate we did a number of things that I think are a good idea and worth sharing with everyone. We decided to add a feature wall to our living room. We have a fireplace with a section of wall that juts out so this was perfect to become a colour of some description to add some decoration to the the room. We sort of had an idea of the colour we wanted, either a nice teracotta red or a purple shade of some description. So, what we did was go to our local B&Q and get some paint pot samples after deciding on some colours we had see. You have to pay for the paint pot samples but its only a couple of quid and then they are yours to keep. Then we painted on each colour onto a section of the wall in question and left them there for a few days to see which colour would work and which didn't work in the room and which we really did or didn't like. We even left them up when our friends came round to get their opinions too. I always thought I would want the teracotta shade but once it was up I fell in love with the purple colour we chose and now its on our wall and looks lovely. One tip I would definitely give is to keep a little bit of the paint you have painted the wall as about a year later we made a mark in the paint, chipping a little bit off so it exposed the white colour underneath but as we had kept the little sample pot we were able to touch this up and it looked as good as new again.  Another thing that really helped us and shortened the time of our house painting was by using rollers instead of paint brushes. We had a lot of white walls that we just wanted to repaint and I had never done anything like that before. We covered our floors with lots of old sheets and towels to make sure we didn't get any drips but with a roller it's a lot cleaner than a paint brush and we had hardly any spills. I also think a roller is a lot easier to use as you can cover a big amount of wall with just a few rolls and I think it gave a much nicer look and finish once we had completed the job. The rollers also worked really well when we came to do the ceiling as we could just reach up and roll and the action was quite smooth. A good tip is to have a big roller and then a small roller for the smaller jobs such as round light sockets and things like that. I would also say its very handy to have a wet cloth very handy because if you do have any spills you can just mop them up quickly and not make a mess. Try if you can and decorate during the spring/summer months when you can keep the doors open as this means the smell of the paint will fade quicker and also the paint will dry a bit quicker too although you can buy quick drying paint which did dry fairly quickly and I was quite impressed with it. We painted for a couple of days and then went away for a few days so we gave time for the walls to really dry before we were in the house again and I also think this helped a great deal. A few fun decorating tips!!

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      07.01.2011 16:17
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      Gives a new lease of life to tatty old furniture

      I spend some of my spare time refurbishing wooden furniture (mostly pine and oak tables and dressers) and although I am a total amateur, during the time I have been doing this I have picked up a fair bit of experience, much of it through my own mistakes. I find the whole process relaxing and rewarding. I am lucky enough to have a small workshop, kitted out with all my bits and bobs, with music system and beer fridge etc, but you can just as easily set up in your garage or even a spare room. It gives me time away from my other half and if you knew me than you'd know how much she values that! It also keeps me out of mischief/the pub and gives me a sense of tremendous well-being. I'd like now to pass on my top ten tips about preparing and painting/finishing real wood furniture Good preparation is the key to a good end result 1. Make sure you remove any surface finish from the wood to be finished. If this is new bare wood, that's fine, but often, on pine tables and the like, you will have a varnish or a build-up of wax to remove. You can get a proprietary product to help with this but using strong chemicals can be expensive and hazardous to health and as well as stripping off the finish, you can also weaken any glued joints in the piece. There is no substitute for a thorough sanding 2. Sand down the wood to provide a good base to which the paint can adhere. I use a mid-range sanding machine which is normally quite sufficient and if you get one that allows you to use a flat or a pointed end, you will be able to get into all the corners. I also use ordinary sanding sheets by hand on all the fiddly bits that cannot be accessed by the sander. Don't sand and paint in the same area for obvious reasons - sanding is best done outside and best also to wear a face mask. 3. The sanding process will help to remove most if not all of the scratches on a table top for example but there may be a few deeper dings and gouges which you may want to consider filling. I tend not to fill these and rather let them remain as part of the character of the piece. If you want a perfectly smooth finish, again a range of proprietary fillers are available. If, however, you ultimately intend to stain, wax or varnish the finished piece, make sure you get a filler that will accept the stain or you risk making it very noticeable. 4 Move from a low to a high grade of sandpaper if you want a really smooth rather than a rustic finish. Maybe Grade 60 to get the rough off, then move through Grade 120 and maybe finish off with a 240 or 400 or even 600 for a silky smooth finish. 5. If you plan to paint over pine which has a lot of knots in it, invest in a small tin of knotting solution. This should be applied by brush to any knots after sanding and this seals the knot and avoids any subsequent bleeding of resin or sap which can come right through your paint and spoil the finish. 6. For bare wood , you will need in most cases to apply a primer/undercoat. I tend to use two coats whether on bare wood or sanded down finishes Water based primer is preferable if you are using a water based topcoat and that way you can wash all your brushes in water rather than in white spirit. 6. You will have considered what finish you want on the finished product. I tend to use water based eggshell to give a soft semi-sheen washable finish. Try out paints you like via the tester ranges typically available. and use good quality paint and brushes which will aid application and ensure you get a good final finish. Whatever you choose, follow the manufacturer's instructions closely. I would stress two particularly important points - a) make sure you lightly sand with fine gauge sandpaper between each coat and b) ensure that you allow plenty of drying time between each coat. Many a piece will have been ruined by people who are anxious to crack on and finish and who have not shown the patience to wait to let the previous coat of paint to dry thoroughly. I invariably wait 24 hours between coats to be on the safe side. 7 Apply at least two topcoats. Invariably I use three. This means that the job will take a little longer to complete, but you will get the best possible coverage. 8. Before you apply any final coat of wax for example, go over every inch of the painted areas and make sure you touch up any pieces you may have missed and allow to dry fully. For example, if you have painted table legs upside down (not you, the table!), then turn it back up the right way and you'll see bits you missed. Work in a good light whether natural or artificial. 9. If you are going to leave a table or dresser top as bare wood and in most cases this is preferable to painting, then make sure you clean off any sanding dust properly before applying any finish. A good way of doing this is to wipe it down with a soft lint free cloth moistened with white spirit. As well as mopping up all the dust, it also helps to bring out the grain in the wood. 9. Chose wax rather than varnish if you want to protect your finished piece. This is merely my own preference, but if you use varnish you risk getting that awful shiny finish that will be more difficult to remove at a later date if you fancy a change. When waxing, use a good quality wax and don't slap it on thickly. Better to have two thin coats than one thick one. Less is more! 10. Finally and importantly, having invested your time, effort and money in refurbishing your furniture, pay due attention to maintenance - washing it down regularly and keeping it clean - touching up any areas of chipped paintwork and cleaning down and rewaxing every 6-12 months to keep it looking really good. It is surprising how good an old piece of real wood furniture can look when you have given it a new lease of life. So rather than throw it out and replace with expensive new furniture, why not give refurbishment a go. Start with a small inexpensive piece and work your way up. There is a wealth of good information and instructional videos and the like on the old world wide thingamajig. Have fun!

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        09.10.2010 22:24
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        Hopefully this helps you out with papering night mares

        How to get bubbles out of dry wall paper It all depends on what type of wall paper it is. If it is a finished paper that does not need to be painted. Then for the bubbles, you can make a very small cut with a sharp knife such as a Stanley or craft knife. Craft knife are usually thinner and give a nice fine cut. Then with a small artist brush put a little paste (either ready mixed or a powder mixed paste) into the incision making sure it does not tear the cut. Next smooth it back down with a papering seem roller, available from diy stores (rubber ones or old fashioned wooden rollers). Wipe of the excess adhesive with a damp sponge making sure you don't rub to hard or put too much water onto the sponge. I would try this in one place where it's hard to see it and see how it dries out. If it looks good you can then try another one in a more obvious place where the light comes in. And if that looks good you can do the rest. Creases in paper For the creases it's a little bit more difficult. Try to smooth them out first with the steam roller. If that does not work then cut them as follows. When you cut them, cut all the way down the crease and do the same as above. If the paper needs to be painted you can do all of the defects then paint over them once they have dried out. Lining paper that has to be painted is simple. You can fill in a really bad rip or tear with poly filler and finely sand them down with 200 grade glass paper or above. Then just paint over the lining paper. I hope this helps if you have had a night mare with bubbles in your paper. Remember that allot of bubbles dry out after a day so just try to smooth them out at first with a smoothing brush. Thanks for reading.

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          29.11.2007 18:52
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          Good system maybe slightly too expensive for what materials you get

          Bought the paint runner system and have to say I got on very well with it.As a professional builder i've tried quite a few over the years and found this to be one of the better ones. It is a bit tedious having to keep topping up cylinder but didn't hinder job too much! Used my own sturdy extension pole which certainly stabilised the roller far better than the pole with the kit. Would recommend overall though.

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            04.09.2007 12:04
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            A great DIY tool

            I have just finished painting my large house with the Paint Runner. I must say that it did everything claimed for it in the adverts. It was very clean, no drips and large areas could be covered with one filling. I did the job over several weeks and was able to re use the tool again without problems although care and time is needed in the cleaning process. I have recommended the Paint Runner to my friends and feedback is excellent including from a professional who has now ordered more. I will very definitely use it again.

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              22.08.2007 15:55
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              Don't waste your money.

              Bought Paint Runner - liked how it sounded. Don't waste your money. The paint needs to be thinned before using, but then it needs at least 2 coats, whereas using a paint pad which doesn't splatter or an ordinary roller which does splatter, you can do the job with one coat of paint. When full, this paint runner is very heavy. only good thing - it didn't splatter paint, but I shan't be using it again. Go back to brush, roller or best of all paint pad. Using this paint runner and the paint I normally use. I needed 3 coats of paint - with a paint pad I only need one coat. Less work, less time, less expense.

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                14.07.2007 20:33
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                Freshen up a room with a coat of paint.

                Fed up with this English summer I decided to decorate my dining room. Could have got someone in to do it for me, or waited until the family could help, but no, I had to do it there and then while I was in the mood and the house was empty of anyone getting in my way. First tip - if you are going to decorate, don't do it on impulse! Prepare the room first, by moving out all the furniture, or putting it into the middle of the floor and cover with dust sheets. Also take down the curtains and blinds. Commonsense? Maybe to you and me, but at one of the houses we moved into, the previous owners had painted the walls only as far as the curtains and television corner unit!!!! Second tip - if you don't have any dust sheets, then root through your linen cupboard, there are sure to be a couple of faded duvet covers etc that you can use. If not, then take a trip to your local charity shop and buy some old bedcovers or curtains. Next thing to do after preparing the room, or before if you are really organised and don't decide to paint on a whim, is to make sure you have the materials you need. In my case it was only emulsion paint as I was not wallpapering, so into the garage where we have an accumulation of paint. However there was no paint in the colour I fancied. So I had to take a trip to B & Q. This was a mistake as there were so many colours to choose from that it took ages to make up my mind. I also bought some of the ready mixed filler and then off I went back home to get started. First thing was to fill in all the holes where my picture hooks had been, then leave that to dry before painting. Ideally this should have been done the night before, but like I said, it was an impulse decision to decorate. Eventually I got started. I bought a long handle for the paint roller and this made things a lot easier as I didn't have to stand on ladders to reach the tops of the walls. However, to prevent paint going on the coving and the skirting boards, door frames, light switches etc, I went round the edges of these first with a paint pad. I had never used these before (found them in the garage), but they are really easy to use and great for fiddly jobs, such as those mentioned. The actual painting didn't take long at all, but I only did the walls and they only needed one coat. I started by the window and worked round from there, not sure if this is the professional way, but it looks okay to me. It didn't take long for the paint to dry, they recommend four hours so after that time I was able to rearrange the furniture. By the end of the day, when everyone arrived home, I was pleased with my efforts - but guess what? Nobody even noticed!!! Here are a few more tips anyway, as this is what the review is all about - Have plenty of cloths at hand to mop up spills or to wipe any marks that have strayed onto skirtings etc. Don't tip too much paint into the roller tray at once and make sure you put the tin out of the way. It is easy to step back and knock the whole lot over! For even coverage spread the paint diagonally in all different directions, not just in straight lines, this will ensure even coverage. If you have to break off for any reason, try and finish in a convenient place so as not to leave a streaky finish. When breaking off, cover the roller in cling film so it won't dry out (the same with brushes). When you have finished, wash out the roller, brushes and tray thoroughly in warm, soapy water and rinse several times. Leave to dry naturally. If you don't want to wash out the tray, you can get disposable tray liners for 99p for a set of two at B & Q, very useful! Last and most important tip - don't try to do too much in one day! You will be shattered, as I was, but a soothing soak in the bath helped my aching body!!! So, on what started out as a wet, dismal day, I decorated my dining room and the whole lot cost me under twenty pounds. This was for emulsion paint, a new roller, disposable tray liners and filler. Only problem was that not long after I started work, the sun came out and it turned out to be fine. I could have spent the day in the garden instead!

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                  08.03.2004 20:02
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                  When we moved into our new house, it was quite in a shocking state and if I could have uploaded some pictures of our house last year, you would have said what the heck did we buy it for. Whilst most of the problems were only cosmetic rather than structual. We had ploughed most of our savings into the house and consequently all our other savings are tied up for another two years yet so we cannot access them, so we have a budget on each room and tried to stick to it. At first when I saw the bathroom, I thought rip the lot out, new bathroom suite and tile, when the estimations came in, I was horrified and this had to go on the back boiler. Now the people who had had the house before were not the cleanest of people and there was damage and dirt every where. The paper was either overlapping onto the ceiling or about 5 inches under the ceiling and tiles were coming off the floor. The toilet had limescale in the bottom of it and the bathroom was a pale pink in colour which stood out a million miles from the dark terrocotta wallpaper. So I had to rethink the costs and allowed £100 to make it clean and presentable and tidy and no more...However things started to take a different twist on the bathroom. We went to Sainsburys Homebase and we saw a pale pastel wallpaper at £8.99 a roll with little bits of gold in it and this was well under our budget, but first we went to a bargain place and whether god was looking down on us, there was the same wallpaper. They obviously buy end of lines and the such. They charged us £1.50 for 3 rolls of wallpaper that was idential in everyway to the one we had seen. So this saved us a fortune. That night I stripped the walls to find a beige wall and this then give me some sort of home that if you buy a pale paper, then the bathroom suite would not stand out and look an eyesore. I threw a bottle of bleach down the toilet and scrubbed and scrubbed and the limescale came off the toilet. Not a nice job but hubby had long disappeared and it had to be done. When I was decorating I always find it really hard to get the wallpaper perfectly to the top of the wall in line with the ceiling and on many occassions have stuck a border around the top of the paper to hide my imperfections. however this time, I bought a cheap pack of craft knives which cost me £1 for around 10 different sizes. In there was one that was triangular and it had a blade in it. Once I had wallpapered the top I got the triangle and run it across the top to give it a perfect finish. Once I was happy with this, I used the otherside with the blade on it and it worked a treat. All the wallpaper was immaculate. So we finished decorating the walls and this looked really nice and I was so chuft with the results. The only other problem was the over painted tiles we had and the flooring and the curtains. Well one day, whilst in the bath, some water splashed on the tiles and a bit of the paint come off. Intrigued to see what the pattern was like underneath, I got my nail brush and scrubbed hard and underneath were some nice pale pink tiles. I then got a bit carried away and spent the next two hours, stark naked in the bathroom scrubbing away all the old paint and cleaning the existing tiles. I was really suprised and it worked really well together with the paper and the bathroom suite. So this saved us quite a bit of money in retiling. My bathroom was at last coming together and it started to look nice. The only thing that was letting the room down now was the horrible floor tiles and most of them were lifting up so I took them up quite easily and underneath was some nice lino and good quality. After a couple of hard scrubs on the floor it come up but it had been damaged and would only last for a short time. Whilst out shopping I noticed that an ex catalogue shop had opened and I decided to go in and have a nosey. Whilst in th ere, I saw some parque floor tiles for £1.99 for a pack of 10. i bought 3 packs and returned home and they just fitted perfectly and really made the bathroom look nice. So by now I had got my Wallpaper, tiles and floor tiles all for £8. The only thing that I needed now was a pair of curtains so I went to the shops to have a look and they were on average around £20 for the bathroom. I could not see any that would match my decor, so I thought I would leave it. On the way back from town, I popped in the local charity shop and lo and behold there was the perfect beige and pink curtains to match. Brand new never been used and so I went to pay for them. They cost me a staggering £1. So everyone is now seeing our house been transformed and cannot belive how smart the bathroom looks and how nice and clean it is. We then bought two little baskets on wheels for £1 to put all the stuff in the bathroom in. We put up a couple of our existing bathroom things that all matched and now it looks really nice and clean and bright and where once I just wanted to rip it out, I am now quite happy to leave it in. So that is my story of how we did our bathroom for £10. 1)My tips would be search around bargain shops for decorating papers and tiles. 2) Do not be in a rush to throw things away when you can recycle them. 3) A good quality wallpaper is always best, this would have cost us £8.99 at another shop. 4) Craft Knives are understated and you could have bought 3 packets for the price of an average Stanley Knive. 5) If you buy budget wallpaper, make sure you have enough as if it is end of line, and you run out, tough! 6) If you have to patch up, make sure you decorate the main walls first and then patching up can be done out of sight places. 7) If you have a out of fashion bathroom suite, rather than make it stand out, blend it in. This has worked brilliant for us and I have just done the s ame for a friend who when she moved had a green suite. 8) Especially women all have lots of bathroom stuff, keep them in trays off the shelves as it makes the place look cluttered and unsightly. I have two baskets which sit under the sink and at the side of the toilet and it is hard work training the husband as I quite often find that he puts the things back on the shelf. As one says, slowly slowly catch the monkey. 9) To get nice trim edges use a triangular craft knive. 10) This is a good tip that Ii learnt from a decorator. For example if you are decorating a room with blue paper and the backing is the familiar cream colour. Get a felt tip the same colour and at the ends of the wallpaper whilst it is in the roll, colour the ends with it. This then saves problems if you are not the best at matching up where you would see the underside colour of beige. 11) If you accidently rip the wall paper and your only option is to rip it off and start that piece again. STOP and think. What you do is get a piece of wall paper and seperate the backing from the front. It is a fiddly job but takes less time then putting up a new strip and it really works.

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                    25.07.2002 04:10
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                    Now you're not going to like this but I think the key to good decorating is patience. Damn and blast it, but it is. There are lots of other things that will help too but if you're not patient then none of them will really be as effective. If you're the kind of person that can't stand being patient at anything, (or if you just want a few tips ;o) ), then read on. Maybe I can convince you just a little bit! Now I know when it comes to painting all anyone wants to do is slap some paint on the wall and see a satisfyingly large blob of it spread liberally across the surface. But wait just a minute, I cry. You need to prepare. Prepare? I don't want to prepare, I want to paint. I know but trust me you'll be so much happier with the finished article if you just take a bit of time to do a couple of things first. You've despatched the kids to a friends house, laid down an old sheet to protect your floor from splatters, opened the windows and put on your oldest clothes. OK. Ready? Number 1. Clean the surfaces. This is tedious, boring and every other related adjective but if you only do one thing before you get the roller out, do this. Use a slightly damp cloth and wipe over the walls, skirting boards, door frames and anything else that happens to be in the way. Bits of dust and dead spiders mixed in with your nice clean paint won't give a very good finish. Make sure everythings dry before doing anything else. Number 2. Mask off all the edges with Duck tape. This can take a bit of time but for the majority of us who really can't paint a straight line, no matter how much we like to think we can, then it's really worth it. Perhaps I can convince you by saying that you'll be able to paint faster if you do mask because you won't need to be so careful. Obviously you'll also have a nice straight edge at the end of it all. If you have a curve, fear not. You can get crinkly Duc k tape too which is designed to go around corners. Just make sure you stick it down properly. Number 3. Use a good quality brush. I believe that you get what you pay for with paint brushes. I like one with fairly soft bristles that will flow over the surface better and are more manoeuvrable. The last thing you want is all the bristles falling out so you have to pick them out of the paint. You'll always get a couple fall out of a new brush so watch out for those. Make sure your brush isn't too big too. This might seem faster but you?re also more likely to make a mess of it. Number 4. Paint the edges with a brush first. This is on the assumption that you'll be painting with a roller, which is my preferred method. Brushes and rollers give subtly different finishes and as the majority of the wall will be rollered you'll want to minimise the brushed bit. Paint a decent width strip (about 2 inches) all the way round so that you don't have to get too close to the edge with your roller. You can go over any extra when you roller so that it blends well. Don't forget to do the inside corners too where you won't be able to get right in with the roller. Number 5. Roller! Finally you can get a decent amount of paint on the wall and see some real progress. I like to line my paint tray with foil before I put paint in to minimise the cleaning time. A friend of mine prefers to throw the tray and roller away rather than have to go through the hassle of cleaning them! Take care not to overload your roller or you'll get lots of splatter and don't press it too hard on the wall to get that very last bit of paint out. You'll only end up with speckles of the old colour showing through. Number 6. Cleaning up. Your room looks great, you're pooped and all you want to do is retire gracefully to the pub. Well you could always follow the advice of my friend and throw all the stuff away. Otherwi se you're in for a spot of cleaning, sorry. Get as much paint out of the brush and roller as you can before you clean them. I wash mine under a hot tap (as I almost always use water based paint) and then use a bit of washing up liquid to get the last bit out and soften the bristles. It's really hard to clean a roller properly but I've found that rollering the sink, pressing hard is quite effective. Just some quick tips before I go: Always stir your paint before using it ? emulsion separates over time Pour old paint through a pair of tights into a bucket to get rid of any lumps If you're going to be doing the ceiling do this before the walls Buy enough paint to do the whole room at the same time from the same batch Use water based paint wherever possible to make cleaning up easier ? satin paint is a good substitute for gloss Use a radiator roller to get behind the radiator rather than going through the hassle of taking it off the wall Don't overstretch ? falling off ladders is not clever Above all try and enjoy it So that's basically it. My advice on how to paint a room to achieve the best results. I could write about all sorts of paint effects and I haven't even mentioned wallpaper, but I think this op is long enough. Maybe another day?.. Thanks for reading. I hope you find this helpful.

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                      20.07.2002 00:25
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                      The kitchen table, the one we eat off every day, was getting a bit tatty, so I decided to strip it and give it a new coat of varnish. Which one to use? A visit to the local DIY showed up Ronseal interior and exterior woodstain. Their slogan is: Does exactly what it says on the tin. (I have stopped using quotation marks etc because they always appear as question marks with Dooyoo). So what does it say? Stains and varnishes in one quick drying protection. Colours, protects and waterproofs in one. Quick drying, touch dry in one hour. Flexes with the wood to resist cracking, flaking and peeling. Low odour, brushes out in water. Sounds ideal? However, get your glasses out folks, and read the small print. Quote: Ronseal is not suitable for areas used for the preparation and consumption of food (I guess they mean preparation OR consumption). Also it should not be used for wooden floors, timber decking or childrens toys. So its not suitable for my kitchen table, then. Quote: Apply three coats, allowing four hours between coats. So it stains and dries in one quick drying protection does it? Depends how you interpret it. Maybe in a sense it does do exactly what it says on the tin, but I certainly regret buying it for this application. But it is nice to be able to wash out the brushes with water, and to have little or no odour. Moral: when shopping for paint or varnish, take your glasses and spend several minutes reading ALL the small print!

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                        23.06.2002 16:20
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                        Most of us use interior design and decorating to reflect our personality and to make us feel comfortable at home. But how does that work in rented accommodation where the furniture and décor are chosen for you? And how can you personalise your rented space without losing your deposit? Landlords are increasingly savvy and recognise that a neutral, furnished property has a mass appeal. And they're not wrong. You will probably select a property because it is light, clean and there is nothing particularly offensive that you feel you just can't get used to. (like the slightly faded green velour curtains or the 1970's floral wallpaper.) So, happily you move in and set about making the place your own. Your teddy is on the bed, your slippers are by the fire and your funky kettle is in the kitchen, but it still lacks a certain warmth, interest and personality. Have you got to the stage of defiantly wearing bright green pyjamas and purple socks around the house, just to contrast the bland magnolia walls? Don't upholster the chairs and paint the walls and hope the landlord won't mind. Try out your own form of 'no paint required' decorating. Accessorise Choose a colour scheme for a room, no more than three colours, and keep this consistent throughout your accessorising. Create energy and passion with reds and oranges. Choose shades of yellows for a cheerful uplifting look or greens and cool blues for a more tranquil ambiance. Get some glamour by adding touches of gold trim on cushions or be funky with a mix of bright colours, stripes and sparkles. Search the shops for vases, cushions, throws, candles and flowers in your chosen colours. Inject extra interest by experimenting with textures and shapes. This is especially good if you are going for earthy colours, browns, blacks, and greens. You can get some sumptuous faux fur, leather or suede cushions. (Try McCord or John Lewis) For pure tactile gratification try a sheepskin rug. (great value for money from Ikea) A rug will work well if you don't like the carpet - but don't use it to cover up spills from that unfortunate red wine incident- you'll get found out in the end! Check out the shops for interesting lighting. Unusual shapes can really create a focal point and some drama (Try Christopher Wray at www.christopher-wray.com) Fill an empty corner, with a large houseplant. Your choice of plants and containers can be just as interesting and personal as a vase or a picture, and can form part of your theme. If you can't decide on a colour scheme, just look around you for inspiration - something as simple as a wrapping paper design, a picture on a greetings card or a flower arrangement might just give you the start you need. Rearrange Unless the landlord is really paranoid and has chained the furniture to the walls, you can show your own personal preferences simply by moving the furniture. The layout of a room can dramatically change the ambiance and the illusion of space. When the furniture is lined up against the walls, it can put you in mind of the local doctor's waiting room. Not a look I suggest you go for if you still want friends to visit. Move the furniture in a little, just be careful not to cause any damage in the process! A small touch can be effective. Put a chair at an angle, move the bed away from the wall and add a bedside table, (more room then to place your chosen accessories.) Gety Arty The best way to reflect your tastes is through artwork. If your landlord won't so much as let you hammer in a picture hook, don't fold your arms and sulk. Let your creative flare burn brightly as you come up with clever, unique solutions. Experiment creating your own art, it's cost effective, clever and totally unique. Here's where thin sheets of MDF come in useful. Paste on black and white phot o's or cover with a funky material. This needn't be hung on the wall but can be freestanding. Not all landlords are totally inflexible. Talk to yours about an idea that would not only work for you but would work for subsequent tenants. Suggest a rail along the length of one wall. Each tenant can hang their own pictures and materials from the rail but all would be removable and no unsightly holes in the wall!

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                          10.06.2002 08:58
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                          My wife really enjoys decorating, every holiday the kids and I know one room, at least, is for the makeover. There is no major cause for concern on our part because she likes to be left to get on and as long as there is a good supply of tea we can go about life pretty much as normal. I, however, always feel very frustrated/guilty watching her working away, given my limited ability to help much. Because of this I try, and please note I say try, to help out wherever I can, even if that is just cleaning around or keeping well out of the way. I used to help by doing some of the gloss painting on the ground floor but over the past couple of years even this had become very restricted. I watch all the TV DIY programs and try to remember tips and hints that may help me become more useful and one such thing was seeing gloss paint being applied by roller. For years, even before my accident, gloss was always brushed on and took forever. All our doors and frames are painted white, not our choice but how they were when we bought the place, and to replace them with wood, which would be our choice, would simply be too expensive. I make the point about the doors here because this holidays project has been the hallway, landing and stairs, and we have no less than 10 doors in this area. The guys on the TV made it look so easy to gloss with a roller and seemed to take much less time and effort to do, and the end result looked better too. The roller also seemed to cover the wood very evenly and flat and this is something I like to see. I asked my dear wife if she would check the prices when she went to the local DIY Superstore and, as long as they were not too expensive, get me one to try. Our local DIY Centre is B&Q and we have always found them to be very competitive on price and the roller was no exception. For £2.28 we got, 1 x Mini gloss paint roller. (About 4 inches long) 1 x Mini emulsion paint roller. 1 x Roller handle. 1 x Paint tray. At this price I was not worried if it turned out to be a waste of effort because the mini emulsion roller will always be helpful to get at those little bits of wall a standard roller cannot anyway. Over time we had also learned that it pays to buy a good quality paint too. There is no doubt that some of the stores “own brands” are far from good. Many are weak in colour and also very runny too. Indeed it was almost always the case that if we tried to get away with a cheaper paint, during one of our economy drives, we had to give the gloss areas two coats, so no money saved and certainly no time. So we went for one of the better known brands, Dulux, a bargain at £4.99 for 750ml. I also prefer the gel type of paint, it covers much better than the liquid type and saves a lot of runs that need correcting. So, how did we go? By only painting a small area at a time the job was done with one coat, neatly with no spills or splashes and when dry had a great, even finish. Other areas that I was surprised I could paint with the roller were areas such as the beading along doors, the edges of the wooded stair rails and the flat of the door frames. There is still the need for some brush work however, the cutting in around any glass panels or the rebates on door frames and the skirting boards, for example, are not accessible to the roller. All in all I would say that at £2.28 this is a great deal and an easy way to paint with gloss. It is less effort and far easier on the wrist too. The finish is far better than one left by a brush, flat and no brush marks in sight. There is a saving on the amount of paint you use too, in fact it took just under a tin (750ml) to cover all the areas I spoke of above, along with the skirting boards and the extra bits and pieces. I am also sure that the paint dries faster when rolled, it was touch dry inside 3hrs, in a non heated room, when brushed on the paint was still tacky well over 6hrs later. Of course it still ta kes the 24hrs to really be considered dry. Below are my scores after the first ever attempt at roller painting gloss paint: Cost, 10/10 Ease of use, 10/10 Overall finish, 10/10 Coverage, 9/10 (This really does depend on the quality of the paint.) Instructions, 0/10 (There were no instructions for use.) Ease of cleaning, 8/10 (It is “quite” easy to clean to use again, if you really want to.) I will be using this method to paint on gloss again. ‘I’ know it is easier because my back was not affected anywhere near as badly, or quickly, by painting this way and that has to be a good guide. I was able to paint for around 15 minutes before needing a rest while I had long since stopped trying with a brush. Indeed I found I could paint a lot of the area from a seated position because the handle on the roller is longer than that on a brush. After this experience I would recommend anyone to give this method of gloss painting a go, it is, I feel, easier and at the end of the day the worst thing that could happen is you waste £2.28. (Even less if you use the emulsion roller anyway) I got a couple more tips to help when painting gloss, either by brush or roller. (1) If you rub your hands and arms with a small amount of Vaseline gel before you start any splashed simply wash off with the use of soap and water. (2) If you need to take a break, before finishing the painting, wrap your roller, or brush in some wet newspaper and then place them in a plastic bag and you will find they remain soft and ready for use, even if left overnight. (3) If you have some paint left in the tin, make sure the lid is put back on tightly and store the tin lid side down. This way you prevent that horrid skin forming over the surface of the remaining paint. (4) Always wash down old paint work to remove any grease. (5) Lightly sa nd the whole area to be painted. The surface of the old paint needs to be broken if the new is to stick. (6) Wipe the surface again after sanding, to remove any dust that may have collected (7) Never try to put on a second coat of paint before the first is 100% dry. Any attempt to do so, with the roller method, will simply end in tears. If the first coat is still tacky you will find that the roller lifts it off again.

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                            17.10.2001 16:51
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                            Name : Special Agent Kano Mission : To paint a 2 bedroom flat completely in 1 long weekend. Tools available : Many costly devices. Grrr. Help : not much – 1 girlfriend who dislikes DIY and wouldn’t help!!! On the third day a father in law who had been trying to convince me not to do it all in one go! As some of you know I recently bought a new flat. As soon as we saw it we knew we would be repainting it, new carpets, and a bit of DIY were all required! I assumed this would all be easy stuff and we would breeze through it in 1 longish weekend. WHAT A BAD ASSUMPTION!!! If I EVER paint anything again, I will pace myself over weeks, maybe even months. I have never been in so much pain after working hahaha. So here is Kano’s top common sense hints to painting and decorating. Before you start, think about colour schemes. Think about what you want to achieve, how you want a room (or house) to look. I for one cannot stand anything even remotely white, cream, beige, off white or magnolia. BORING!!!! You should buy a few swatches, you can now even get stick on patches of paint (though I would not trust these myself) to test the colour. I would personally highly recommend tester pots. They are usually no more than a pound, and you can paint quite an area in a few rooms for trial. Leave it a week and see what you think! So you have decided on the colour scheme, now to buy the paint and tools. Spend as much as you can afford on your brushes and rollers, you’ll thank me later. Cheap brushes tend to lose their bristles in the nice paint on the walls! There are lots of gimicky painting tools around now. We went for middle priced rollers but they were still only £3 including the trays, cheap enough to throw away after each room. We also bought a set of paint pads, but found they made a horrible pattern on the wall. They did apply the paint quickly, but we did not like the effect so stuck to rollers. As for paints, I can only say we did not bother with one coat or anything fancy as it seemed quite expensive. We got standard Dulux Matt Emulsions (I don’t like the sheen from silk ones). Emulsion is water based so washing brushes, hands, your hair and your clothes immediately will remove any paint. DON’T just wait until bath time to get it out of your hair, as you will find it is quite stuck in. The only other tip I can give here is that we waited until Homebase had a 10% off everything day and got everything then and saved a packet. FIND SOME OLD CLOTHES. Don’t be fooled, these clothes will be no good for anything after you’ve painted a few walls. I now have some shorts and a shirt that have red, yellow and 2 shade of blue speckles on them. IT WILL NOT WASH OUT, unless you do it immediately before the paint can dry. BUT you can keep these clothes for your next DIY fever!! hahaha We were lucky in that our flat was obviously empty and we could afford to keep it completely empty for the weekend. You really should take all furniture out of any room you want to paint. You could just cover some things with dustsheets, but I would move things if you can! We also knew we were replacing the carpets so we did not bother with covering them. This is very important, as paint is MURDER to get out of carpet hahaha. There is no excuse really as plastic dropsheets can be had quite cheaply (we got 3 for about £5 from homebase) and are adequate protection – just tape them down to the carpet and whalluh! Now you have a bare room, a blank wall, a stack of paint tins and some tools. Feel flabbergasted? We did! Just where DO you start??? If you are going to paint the ceiling, always start there! You start on the ceiling because splatters and drops will not ruin your nice wall paint then. Start by washing the ceiling down with a damp cloth, just to get off dust etc. We were not going to paint ours till the father in law sho wed us why we should. After the first coat went on the difference was AMAZING – SO WHITE! - so I would recommend you do this. The second thing to do is all the trims – by this I mean the skirting boards the ceiling edges, etc. It’s great doing it this way because then you can ‘cut in’ to the main wall. You do not have to be exact because you are going to paint over the overlap anyway. What if you have wallpaper I hear you say? EASY! Paint over it! Paint a small area first to test it. DON’T be worried if it bubbles up straight away, just leave it for a few hours (or a day if you can) and it should go back down again. If it doesn’t then I am afraid you cannot paint over it and you will have to strip it :( Don’t bother yourself with hiring a fancy steamer, or getting a professional in. Just get yourself a stripper (looks like a palette knife and does not bend) and a very wide brush. A cheap one in the case is fine, as it will be buggered after this!!! Get a bucket of very hot water, dip the brush in and brush it over the wallpaper – leave for a few minutes, now start scraping. The hot water will melt the wallpaper glue and hey presto it practically leaps off (well not quite!). We had to strip one room and it did take us half a day, and its very tiring aswell! Remove all nails, hooks, rubbish, ANYTHING on the walls. Fill in any holes, this is not as hard as it sounds. All you need is some quick drying filler (comes in a nice handy tube) and a spatula looking device to smooth over the front. We used 5 minute drying filler. You have to be quick smoothing over the front with this as it really does go stiff quickly. Then rub it down with fine sandpaper to try and get a flat finish. Wash the rest of the walls down with a damp cloth and allow some time to dry. Now use a small brush to go around the edges trying to get as you can, this takes a steady hand and lots of practice!!! Take your time – rushing is what causes the most mistakes here. DON’T worry about brush marks as with fancy new style emulsion they will ‘dry out’. DO remember, nobody really looks closely at the ceiling alcoves so it does not have to be set square precise!! You may hear people recommend you use masking tape. I tried that, but when I took the tape off it tore little bits of my paint finish with it so I had to do the edges again!!! If you get the tape off while the paint is a bit wet it seems to work okayish! Using a roller does take a knack, for the first 2 days I got splattered with paint. On the last day I somehow found my niche. The trick is to get the right balance of paint on the roller, too much splatters big blobs, too little splatters little freckles. Trying to make the paint go to far also results in splatters all over you! Do a wall at a time, try not to stop halfway through a wall as you will lose your place (if it’s a second coat) and your momentum! Most emulsion paints take between 2 and 4 hours to dry, you can then apply a second coat. I have never seen anyone paint a wall with one coat and get away with it, so be prepared to do 2 or 3 coats on all walls. We got away with 2 in all our rooms, but I did think I was piling it on thick!!! We found that with 1 person painting a room, by the time you get to the end you can start again as its dry enough for the second coat. So you’ve painted all the walls, it all looks lovely. Wash out all the brushes, put everything away in the storage shed and put the furniture back right? WRONG! We found that by the time you have move all the furniture in, put up a few pictures and settled down – the walls are covered in little rubs, dents and marks! I just painted I screamed! Out come the brushes and the tins of paint for a quick touch up. So my final tip is to not put things too far away to begin with, YOU WILL need to touch up the paint after moving furn iture in, drilling new holes for pictures etc. If you put it all TOO FAR away you will simply put off touching it up, and if left too long the wall will fade slightly and the touch up will be unseemly! So there it is, it’s all common sense – but I am actually surprised that some people do not know this stuff. There are a few quick little tips and shortcuts I discovered along the way. Did I do it? Damn straight, I painted 3 largish rooms – stripping one of wallpaper – removed the carpets and stained all the dado rails and skirting boards in 3 days. I will say I was bloody tired and if I NEVER see another roller again it will be too bloody soon, but I am glad we did it before things were in as it would have been more difficult otherwise. I hope this is a help to someone, and if I can give any more advice don’t hesitate to email me. Cheers  An original opinion by Kano 2001

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                              01.10.2001 18:54
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                              To be honest, I have no idea about coordinating colours, what will and will not work. I also do not have a clue at what should or should not be done when decorating a room. The end result of this is my house has slowly fallen into a condition where decorating was not just desirable but needed and urgently. I really did not know where to start, what I should do and above all else the cost. Most DIY tasks around the home I can undertake without worrying that the result will make the house look like the one Jack built. I have a new partner and she has been a godsend, apart from all else with my two children and her three the house we are currently in is too small for the seven of us. I knew that redecorating was now urgent as trying to sell the house in the condition it was in would prove very difficult and the price that the house would fetch would be severely restricted purely because of the decorating needed. Over the last couple of months I have learnt that decorating need not cost as much as I feared and the following is a short breakdown of how we turned our present house from one that was errrrrrrr not looking its best into one that now looks and feels so much more than the cost involved. Walls and doors…. Paint them, be brave and bold. A coat of emulsion can and does brighten a room. Do not be afraid of strong colours on the walls, look at the main furnishings in the room and then paint the walls to match or to enhance. When it comes to the doors, skirting boards, and window frames. Bright is Right. If you have strong colours then White will enhance the colour scheme and give the room a more airy lighter feel. Ceramic tiling…. Instead of removing tired looking tiles, you can buy tile paint, provided the instructions on the tin are clearly followed and the correct primer is used. You will get surprisingly great results for a lot less cost and time than by retiling the area. Kitchen units… My kitchen units were really looking sorry for themselves, adjusting the doors made them look better, but they still looked dated. To be honest I would not have been brave enough to use ceramic tile paint on the unit fronts (doors and drawers), unlike my new partner. Her words “trust me, it will look great” did at first fill me with a little dread. As I thought the units needed to be replaced I was not too bothered (oh me of little faith). But wow the end result is fantastic; they look better than new, the colours are vibrant, glossy and so alive. A bonus is that the kitchen units are unavailable in the shops so we now have really original looking units. Oh did I mention how much cheaper and quicker than changing the units. Varnished wood (wardrobes, dressing tables etc)… Again be bold, paint them. Look at the door and drawer knobs, are they matching? If not change them. Wooden and Metal knobs can be bought from most DIY stores and by getting them all to match can again add that touch to painted units for not too much cost. Finishing touches… After a room has been decorated, have a look at what you can add to improve further the appearance of the room in question. Such simple things as new flower vases, table lamps, lampshades coasters etc can add that finishing touch to a room for a very low cost. The most important thing though is to follow instructions on paint tins, a lot of the new paints on the market will give great results but only if you follow the instructions given. They really do need proper undercoats and primers to achieve great results. Above all do not make my mistake and take decorating as a job that can be put off. Treat it as fun be that bit more daring and adventurous, enjoy it. If in doubt then either consult a professional or have a read of the many DIY books that exist. Good Luck and happy painting.

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                                19.09.2001 13:24
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                                I have seen some good paint jobs and some bad paint jobs. One hallmark of a good paint job is for fixtures not to be painted over. Some poorly-done paint jobs often end up with doors that have door handles and other fittings the same colour as the latest paint job. This often leads to hardware like bolts or letter boxes that is difficult to use. In some cases, you can't even work these items at all. As well, it would be very difficult to restore the fitting to its original finish. Even then, it may not be the same finish as it was. Another hallmark of a good paint job is a window or glass door that has no paint on the glass surface. This can be achieved by the painter lining the edges of the panes with masking tape. As has always been said, the poor paint jobs are often done in a lazy fashion.

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