If you need advice about a painting or decorating problem not covered elsewhere on the site please leave a comment below.
Mike – Hi there I have a room painted in egg shell and want to repaint with emulsion. I’m concerned the emulsion won’t absorb and will sit on the egg shell. What’s the solution? Sand down? or is there a primer or initial coat of something I can apply before the emulsion? Thanks
Darren – Yes Mike, lightly sand down the surface and use an adhesive primer such water-based (labelled as quick-drying) acrylic prime/undercoat. A specialist primer such as Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 would be ideal but may be costly if it’s a big area?
LIz – Hi I want to paint my stairs in multi colours – can you recommend the best way to do that? Use a non slip varnish over the colour?? Thanks for any help
Darren – Just be aware that if you use a solvent based (oil-based) paint on the stairs it will take a while to fully harden so you’ll need to avoid walking on the stairs for a couple of weeks to avoid spoiling the finish. You’ll also need to take this into account when applying a protective coating and, also, the potential that it may not be compatible with the paint you’ve chosen. In which case, you are advised to do a small test area first just in case there is a problem.
Obviously, it may not be practical to avoid using the stairs at all for such a length of time but the more you can plan around this issue the better.
Roni – We have had a leak from the water pipe that carries the water into the house. This has resulted in water running around the cavities all around the ground floor of our house. We have had a firm in to use machines to blow hot air into the cavities to dry them out. The paint in all the rooms has bubbled. Will I need to use special paint so that I have no future problems with the paintwork?
Darren – The most important thing is that you allow the cavities to dry out properly before even thinking of decoration. This is going to take a very long time but it is essential since any trapped moisture is going to cause no end of problems with interstitial condensation.
Once the walls have dried out you should remove any loose paint and redecorate with a breathable finish such as Dulux Trade Supermatt.
Hannah – Hi, I recently decorated a newly plastered kitchen. The plaster looked dry (pale pink) so did my mist coat, then applied my trade paint. In patches the pink hue of the plaster is coming through. What can I do?
Darren – Sounds like your plaster is still drying out, best leave it for now. The drying process will have been limited by the paint and could take several weeks/months. You may find some paint blisters off, or maybe not? Wait and see.
Stephen – I gloss painted my interior doors a week ago & when we open & shut the doors they stick, also I painted fire surround with the same paint and when my wife picks up ornaments they feel like they stick abit. Does this mean the new tin of paint I used was no good?
Darren – Not necessarily, paint can take a few weeks to fully harden. Manufacturers should make this more clear, I will concede.
Susan – I would just like to know when repainting a gloss door after rubbing down with sandpaper do I have to apply under coat before painting gloss again? Thankyou
Darren – With a traditional oil/solvent-based gloss, yes, because there is very little pigment and you’ll find it difficult to cover and to get a decent finish.
With water-based (quick-drying) paints there is generally a higher pigment content and you may be able to get a decent result. You may have to give it two coats though but you’re not risking anything by trying. Obviously, if you’re changing colours, you’ll always need an undercoat regardless.
Stephen – I have Graham & Brown super fresco wallpaper on my chimney breast which I emulsions years ago the paint I used is not vinyl & if I wipe it the paint comes off.
My question is I want to emulsions wallpaper again with a vinyl Matt emulsion how can I stop previous colour from bleeding through? Previous colour is Red & new colour is pale grey. I would be grateful for your advice please.
Darren – A coat of universal primer sealer such as Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 [amazon link] should do the trick.
John – I’ve bought an external hardwood door from a company who state the following OILS, WAXES AND WATER BASED TREATMENTS INCLUDING PAINTS FOR EXTERNAL DOORS. We do not advise the use of any oil, wax or water based (quick drying) treatment on your external door.
We feel they do not offer enough protection against the elements and can have a detrimental effect on the way the doors are constructed. They can cause de-lamination and therefore we will not offer any guarantee if they have been finished in this way.
If not oil based or water based, then what? I’ve looked at solvent based, but that term seems to be interchangeable with oil based. From reviews I’ve seen they have rejected claims where Dulux Weathershield was used.
Darren – It looks like they are using this as a general get-out for any subsequent claims for damage rather than as any sort of useful advise or guidance.
Using a water-based primer on a bare wood door can sometimes cause problems such as swelling/warping and (for non-solid wood doors) delamination but not so with solvent/oil-based finishes.
You don’t say if the door is already treated or primed, and the material composition – this would have a bearing on any furtheradvice I could give you.
Biddy – Can I paint a bathroom floor, it’s one put in by council for my elderly mother for her same level shower. It has mica type bits in. (Ten years ago, she has passed on eight years ago). It’s really hard to clean as it chews up most mops and only a scrubbing brush works.
It is now dark water marked where the shower is although still a pretty pink the other half of the room. It will be really complicated and expensive to replace as it is bonded to the floor, goes up the sides like a skirting.
But I need to make it look better! Are there any specialist paints that would do the job. It needs to withstand being in the shower itself. Thanks for any suggestions.
Darren – You could use a standard floor paint. Make sure that the floor is thoroughly cleaned before hand, rinsed of any detergent residue and completely dry.
I can’t guarantee how long this will last because I don’t know what state the floor is in now, how well you will prepare the surface or the quality of paint you’ll be using but it’s the easiest and cheapest solution to your problem.
Elaine – I have a very old lincrusta paper on my ceiling in a Victorian house. It has been painted many times , not by us over the years and the paint is now flaking off. Can you advise how to stabilise the flaking before we paint it again. Thanks.
Darren – You can’t really do much about the flaking paint other than try and remove as much as you can before painting over it. The reason for this is because the paint loses its contact with the surface over time and any extra load of more paint will make the matter worse.
John – Hi, I wonder if you could help me with the below query? I have a rendered breeze block wall which has been painted on the front side with 1 coat of thinned down white masonry paint and 2 coats of Valspar masonry paint.
Unfortunately there has been significant flaking. We did believe this may be down to the builder not putting any damp course when constructing the wall. However, I have noticed that the exposed wall seems very sandy when you rub it, so I was thinking the not enough cement was used in the render.
Anyway, I need help in rectifying the issue, I presume we can rub down any excess flaking. But I was wondering what should be use as a primer before trying to paint the wall again?
Note the wall is breeze block with sand/cement render the front side. The rear is bare breeze block with chippings as a barrier between the hedge/bank. I look forward to hearing from you from you soon. Regards
Darren – External rendering can be quite powdery after drying out and it’s best to leave it a while to weather before painting. In other words, let rain wash away the powdery residue over time. You don’t say how new this render is but this was my first thought.
As for adding not enough cement to the render, I think this unlikely since builders tend to go to the other extreme and add too much. In any case, I doubt this would be the answer to your problem?
I would remove as much flaking paint as possible and leave it for a year or, at least, until the ‘sandiness’ is less obvious. Ensure any further coats are thinned sufficiently to soak into the surface. This may also have been a cause of the initial problem.
Dave – I have an old terraced property built around 1910. I would like to paint the brick wall in my back yard. The previous owner painted it – probably many, many years ago. The existing white paint is still on much of the wall, although much of it is now flaking off. I was planning to scrape off the loose, flaking paint, clean it and then paint it with Dulux Trade Weathershield Exterior Masonry Paint in brilliant white.
However, the on-line data sheet says the paint is not suitable for ‘common brick’. Do you think my 1910 old yard wall is likely to be common brick? I don’t really know what that is.
If so, is there a paint for common brick? I thought this would be a fairly straightforward task to spruce up the yard, especially as it had previously been painted, but now I’m worried I am doing this wrong. Thank you very much.
Darren – Common Brick is term used to describe high-density bricks which are typically used at DPC level because they are resistant to the absorption of moisture. It is not usual for commons to be used for yard walls or large areas of brickwork elsewhere.
It is unfortunate that the word ‘common’ is used out of context in this case since these kind of bricks are anything but.
Sally – I have oak windows and they have a uv lacquer ‘coating’ and where this has broken down we have applied UV Osmo oil. The finish is patchy and we have decided to resand and paint them black instead.
Which is better to adhere to the lightly sanded treated wood – Oil or Water-based and also, some of the windows are south facing and so whatever we use needs to be stable in the sun… hope all this makes sense, any advice welcome !! Thanks
Darren – You will need to ensure that the oil already applied has totally dried and soaked below the surface of the wood.
Normally I would say a water-based primer and finish is best on new wood but the presence of oil residue would make this unadvisable. A regular oil-base wood primer, undercoat and gloss would be best.
As for using black paint, please bear in mind that dark colours absorb UV light much more readily than light colours so this may not be a great idea in this particular instance?
Dominic – Hi there I previously asked about painting a sapele door which had been factory primed by the joiner. I have now identified the primer used, it is Remmers Induline ZW-425. This claims to offer excellent protection against discoloration from substances contained within the wood.
Please could you advise how is best to proceed? Aluminium primer? Water based stain blocking primer like Sikkens Cetol BL?
Ultimately I want to put a water based F&B undercoat and top coat on, just not sure what if anything to put underneath that to give the best adhesion and protection against resin from the sapele. Thanks for your help!
Darren – You said previously that your joiner had applied a primer by spray and I replied that it didn’t matter what you do after this since whatever you apply now is only as good as this spray applied coating. For the avoidance of further doubt, applying a primer by spray to external timber is about the dumbest thing that can be done.
Consult your joiner.
Steve – I’ve recently wallpapered a ceiling. There was a water leak in the ceiling years ago. The source of the water leak has been fixed, but there is some yellow staining visible on the surface of the wallpaper caused by the leak.
I’m not sure if the staining would be considered as a heavy stain or not, but it is clearly visible in the day during sunlight.
To cover the staining effectively, would it be best to use an oil based sealer or a stain block spray?
And would it be possible just to cover the stained area of the ceiling wallpaper or will the entire ceiling need painting after applying stain block on the stained area? Thanks for your advice.
Darren – An oil or spirit based stain blocker will usually be effective for a water-based stain. The aerosol-types tend to be spirit based so that may be your best bet.
You only need to go slightly over the edge of the stain, not the whole ceiling. Whether the entire ceiling needs repainting will depend on the colour and finish. A white matt finish, for example, can usually be touched-up quite effectively whilst some colours will be difficult to match exactly and painting a small area may stand out too much, necessitating a full repaint.
Janice – Can you advise on zinc downpipes? My builder says he will have a primer for zinc which is great and asked us to get paint specially formulated for zinc for the topcoat.
However at the paint shop they said they said there wasn’t such a paint and that normal metal paint would be fine if it had a zinc primer underneath. Do you have any advice or guidance to assist? Thanks for your help.
Darren – Zinc is naturally resistant to oxidization and, therefore, does not require a specialist primer. What it does need though is to be properly degreased prior to painting and it may also need an etching-primer in order for any coating to stick to the surface. (Etching primer is, basically, an acid-based solution which takes away the shiny finish from surfaces such as zinc and galvanised steel).
The alternative is to leave the surface untreated for a year in order for it to ‘weather’. In other words, the natural process of being rained on repeatedly will denature the finish to such a degree that no further preparation is needed.
Once prepared (or weathered), I would use a general all-purpose solvent based metal primer and two coats of solvent based undercoat, finished with one or two coats of solvent based gloss. (*solvent based = oil-based).
If you are paying someone to do this for you then ensure you receive a written specification before any work is carried out.
Tom – Hi this is a great site very useful. My house is an old Victorian terrace (1888) on the seafront. It is rendered and painted regularly with Sandtex STHC smooth.
Long shot I know but is there a better product to withstand the elements and do you have any advice on any specialist gloss paint for the window woodwork.
As you might expect the repainting seems to be every 5 years rather than 10. Just wondered if there was a better product or whether more coats would be a good idea.
Darren – Dulux Trade Maximum Exposure Masonry Paint [link] is formulated for coastal environments and is claimed to perform better than the regular alternative. Whether it would be worth the added expense is hard to say though since you’ll be painting over an existing coating and, as always, any paint is only as good as the surface it is applied to.
In theory, you may get a bit more time between recoats but it can’t be guaranteed so that’s a risk you’ll have to judge for yourself.
As for the woodwork, Dulux Trade Weathershield exterior undercoat and gloss will perform as well as anything and much better than most standard finishes. In your case, over existing woodwork that is in good condition, the oil-based option will be the better choice.
Re applying extra coats, with previously-painted woodwork, absolutely yes. Two coats of gloss are better than one and three coats better than two.
And for masonry paint, not so much, since you want any internal moisture to be able to escape and multiple coats will have a detrimental effect on this process.