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If you need advice about a painting or decorating problem not covered elsewhere on the site please leave a comment below.

If you prefer, you can contact me via Twitter @Decorator_UK

Jon – I am looking for some advice. Which of the following paint should I buy.
Or put another way, which is the best…
Dulux Weathershield “Ultimate Protection” (gold shield on tin – from B&Q)
Dulux Trade Weathershield
I appreciate that the trade Weathershield is better than the retail. But I can’t find any comparison comments online for the ultimate protection versus the trade.
And I discovered the ultimate protection paint is better than the standard Weathershield.
Hence the reason I would like to find an answer to my question.
Read more…

The ‘ultimate protection’ version is formulated for the DIY market to be used straight from the tin whereas the trade version can be thinned to suit the surface which will vary from one case to another.

Special formulas and additives tend to be more about marketing than actual performance.

There is an advanced version of trade weathershield called ‘Maximum Exposure Masonry Paint’ which is formulated for coastal areas. Unless this applies to your case it probably isn’t worth the extra cost though.

Andy – Hi, maybe a daft question…
I have just papered mt chimney breast over our log burner. Is there a product such as decorators varnish that will prevent tge paper lifting or peeling due to the warmth?
Read more…

Anything you apply to the surface of the paper is only going to be as strong as the adhesive you used. Factors such as the state of the bare wall surface, pre-decorating, will also have an impact.

It could be that normal levels of heat don’t have much that impact and, in any case, you can also use a decent overlap/repair adhesive to re-stick any edges that do loosen over time.

For future reference, for any areas where you anticipate adhesion problems, always use a ready-mixed adhesive (which tends to be stronger) and always use a lining paper first. Not only does this give a superior result, it also increases the performance of adhesives dramatically.

Charles – Can I paint damp stains with dampseal, or sand an let dry first Can I just paint two/three coats of dampseal. READ MORE…

You should let the wall dry out first although this may take a while. If you apply any paint coating now then you’ll just be trapping the damp that can lead to further problems down the line. It’s also likely the paint will lose adhesion prematurely and you’ll be back to square one.

Bob – I’m getting ready to repaint exterior rendered walls of a terraced house last painted about six years ago with Pliolite at the recommendation of my decorator.
I went along with it, respecting his greater experience but since realised, from your site and elsewhere, that it wasn’t a great choice. Areas are flaking already, I guess from internal moisture that can’t breathe. (I also hated the fumes!)
Question is, now that the walls are still mostly coated with Pliolite, is there any point in choosing a paint that’s breathable? Would another non-Pliolite paint even adhere well? I’d strip the old paint but imagine that would be quite a big job.
Perhaps the flaky areas indicate the dampest spots so scraping those back to the maximum would at least allow the benefit of a more breathable paint there. It’s also about 5 minutes from the sea and the rear upper level gets a good pummelling in the south westerlies. READ MORE…

You are right, scrape back what you can and use a regular masonry paint, there shouldn’t be a problem with adhesion.

Giovanni – I need to repaint my bungalow, problem is the previous coat has become chalky, I don’t know why but this has never happened before. However I am not sure how to proceed. Should I use stabilising solution ?, just paint over ? Power wash the walls? READ MORE…

If you are able to remove the chalked surface you should do so and start again with a sound, firm surface. You may not be able to do this with all the affected areas but the more you can remove the better.

I’d suggest using a stabilising solution on any remaining powdery areas but only where it can’t be avoided since you can cause further problems later on with retained moisture.

Eleswhere, if paint surface are sound you should be able to paint over with regular masonry paint but it should be thinned slightly where there is bare brickwork/stonework or cement render,

Also, do a small trial area first to ensure the stabilising solution is doing its job and that there is no adverse reaction.

Debbie – We are redecorating our house which had some deep cracks in the walls. We’ve filled them with toucrett acrylic flexible filler and sanded flat. Have painted with Dulux Matt emulsion magnolia two coats and still a irredescent sheen from filler! Is there a thick Matt emulsion which would cover this. Somebody recommended Tikkuka but doesn’t say great for problem walls. Do you suggest a stain block underneath. If so, what would you recommend please. Is zinssner any good? Then what Matt emulsion would you suggest. READ MORE…

These kinds of coverage problems are quite common and the simple answer is that you have to apply multiple coats over the affected area in order to get a build-up of paint film. Only then will you get a uniform finish.

Emulsion paint is deceptively thick when it’s being applied and you would naturally expect it to cover a multitude of sins. Alas, when it dries, the paint film is incredibly thin and hides very little.

There is a difference between trade paints and retail paints in so far as the coatings formulated for trade use tend to have a slightly higher solids content. You wouldn’t notice a huge difference though and it’s certainly not a magic solution in this case.

I also wouldn’t go out and buy another brand of paint just for this purpose since you only need to cover the areas you’ve filled, not the whole wall.

Do this multiple times and then only attempt to paint the whole wall to a finish when you’re confident the filled areas will no longer be visible.

Also, make sure you apply these coats with a roller in order to match the surrounding areas as any obvious brush marks will just exacerbate the problem.

In extreme circumstances, where there are multiple repairs, it can be easier to use a lining paper to get all-round uniformity but it doesn’t sound like you need to consider this option.

Steve – What paint would you recommend for repainting roughcast walls that are peeling and flaking? I was planning to use a pressure washer and rotary brush to prep the surface first to get rid of the loose and flaking areas followed by dulux weathershield smooth or similar? READ MORE…

Sounds good to me. The thing you need to be sure of is that your first coat soaks into the surface to provide a key. With roughcast you may need to thin the paint slightly for ease of application and doubly so for the initial coat on bare render.

Eve – I’ve just bought my first house and the kitchen walls and ceiling seem to have caked on grease. I want to repaint and have tried sugar soap but it just doesn’t seem be working. Any suggestions? READ MORE…

Not that uncommon and there are no easy solutions.

Sometimes you have to use sugar soap neat in order to shift some stubborn contaminants such as grease and nicotine. I’ve experienced some situations where scrubbing with neat bleach was necessary. It can be a very unpleasant job but very satisfying when you’ve finished.

Just make sure you wear rubber gloves and cover your arms.

Mark – I repainted the whole outside of my house just under 3 years ago. 2 of the walls (different render) seem to have held up fine, but on the front of the house, the paint started peeling about a year after painting.

I’m going to try and repaint the worst areas of the front of my house next week (thinking I’ll just have to repaint the worst areas every year) and was wondering if I should paint the affected areas with PVA before the masonry paint.

I then read your article here: which was great, but I wasn’t totally sure which of the examples mine best fitted with.

So I was wondering: a) Would you be interested in quoting to repaint the whole of the front of the house? b) Would you have any advice for me if I end up doing it myself again? READ MORE…

From the images you have supplied it looks like the first coat simply hasn’t bonded to the surface.

It could be the walls were slightly damp or powdery at the time of original painting. It isn’t unusual for these problems to show up over time as the paint becomes dry and brittle, loosing all adhesion and falling away. You may find that painting the areas that look solid for now also brings off more paint.

A stabilising solution isn’t going to help because the wall material itself looks fairly sound. I would also advise against using PVA because it forms a film which will trap any inbound moisture, causing more problems long-term.

I would scrape off as much flaking paint as you can and prime the bare wall areas with a thinned coat of masonry paint (thin enough that it soaks in but not so thin that it is like water) then allow to dry.

Assuming this works out OK you should be fine to go ahead and repaint as normal. It’s inevitable that more loose paint is going to come away eventually though so don’t expect this to be a one-off job.

For a perfect result you’d need to completely remove all the paint on the front elevation, which is going to be difficult and expensive.

The pragmatic approach (which you seem to have already accepted) would be to simply get a good colour match and undertake a regular program of scraping paint off as it becomes loose and touching up until you are certain all the loose material has come away and that your remedial work is staying firmly stuck.

Chris – I recently painted my bedroom wall which had been skimmed. I applied mist coat, and then two coats of Matt emulsion. At this point All was well, I was happy with the finish. but then when wall papering the main wall in the bedroom,I got wallpaper paste got onto the painted walls. I didn’t really know how to get rid of this as the paste had dried and wiping with a clothe didn’t seem to work. READ MORE…

This is where things have gone wrong, to try and fix and get rid of the wall paper paste i tried to lightly sand and then painted over this area of the wall. This extra coat of paint on this area of the wall looked bad and stood out too much, so I applied another coat on the walls.

This would be the third coat of emulsion Matt paint, this got rid of the mark on the wall but due to rushing I didn’t do the edges of the wall first like i had done originally.

I wasn’t happy with the finish when comparing to first two coats. It was annoying me that much I have done a final coat which would be the fourth not including the mist coat. the finish still doesn’t look good I think after spending so much time originally I have been rushing just due to lack of time due to personal circumstances.

I know what I have done wrong and I need to apply the Matt emulsion and do the edges first in the same way I did when I completed the first and second coat, which I was really happy with until I got paste on my walls.

However, the concern I have is will I cause damage to the wall if I do one final coat with having already done 1 mist coat, and 4 coats of Matt emulsion having already been done?

I have read too much paint could causing flaking etc. sorry for the long message but I wanted to try and explain the context. I am confident I can finish the job to the standard I will be happy with if I apply one more coat.

Or am I causing more potentially issues and should I just admit failure and leave the walls as they are?

If you are satisfied that you’ve covered all traces of the paste and it isn’t showing through, and you’re confident you can achieve the finish you want then go ahead and add more coats as required.

Mark – I have a 100+ year old house….the paint on the timbers is unknown following a bad experience with a rogue decorator back in 2020….in places, the black paint is falling off in large flakes, although the white cement panel infill stills seems to be holding up. One decorator recommends Bedec and the other recommends Dulux Weathershield in order to stabilise and overpaint what is already on the timbers…both will rub down, but not necessarily back to bare wood…what timber paint would you recommend to ensure the best and longest lasting outcome for the weathered/part painted timbers…. READ MORE…

Sounds like the timbers were painted without any preparation and there is simply no adhesion?

To guarantee a perfect result would necessitate the complete removal of the loose paint layers although this isn’t always practical. The problem remains that any coating you use is only is good as the one beneath it.

Where you have just flaking edges you can use a product called Zinsser Peel Stop which will penetrate beneath the edges and act as a kind of adhesive. This isn’t going to help where you have large patches of poorly adhering paint though.

The recommendations from your painters sound like they are grasping at straws. Bedec is a brand of paint so I’m not sure how that helps? Weathershield is formulated for outdoor use and does perform well but here we return to the original problem that you are applying it to an already potentially loose/defective surface.

My suggestion is to have a good attempt at removing as much as the existing coating as you can and re-paint in the normal manner – accepting you may still get paint flaking off afterwards. This may mean you have to repaint more often than you would prefer. Or, yo may be lucky and any paint that was loose will have come away from the surface by now.

The alternative is strip back to bare wood. For high level work where you may be paying for scaffolding and/or don’t want to be doing it too often, this is the only sensible solution.

John – I have read about a lot of water stains and treatments here. Like a previous question below, i have also had a bad experience with a Shelac based blocker from Zinsser (B-I-N) which was so thick and shiny i couldn’t get a decent finish in patches with my emulsion and so i gave up and painted the whole wall with the primer so at least it kinda looked the same…

Now I have some staining in another room and have scrubbed it down with diluted bleach… but would you recommend a white spirit mixed oil based primer at all? I have seen Zinsser 1-2-3 which i am tempted with but again nervous of Zinsser products now.

It’s always going to be difficult to get an acceptable finish when you are trying to cover different types of paints on a wall surface. It isn’t impossible but does take a lot more work than many people imagine because it involves applying multiple coats.

Emulsion paint is deceptively thick when it is wet but actually dries as a thin film which, as you have found, doesn’t do much to hide previous brush marks or shiny surfaces. Multiple coats will do this or, in extreme circumstances, using lining paper to get a uniform finish can sometimes be easier.

You shouldn’t be using a shellac-based sealer over a large area because of the high VOC content. In such cases, (for covering water stains) an oil-based primer is a better alternative.

Again though you are going to face a similar problem when it comes to coverage and it will take several coats of emulsion to match the existing finish. Thinning with white-spirit isn’t advisable (to any great degree) because you’ll just need extra coats to get the same stain-blocking effect.

If the affected areas are minor then an aerosol-based sealer will be easier to cover.

The main tip i can offer is to use a mini-roller to apply the primer and, when it is dry, to paint over these areas only with your choice of finish, again with a roller, until you get a result you are happy with. Then, and only then, repaint the entire walls to a final finish. Ideally, 2 full coats.

Ian – If I have minor water stains on walls which are freshly plastered, can I sand them out? I’ve only painted a little over the newly plastered walls before the leak so far so I haven’t really lost anything… If I can sand it out back to the plaster to remove will that do it rather than stain blocking and painting over, at this stage? READ MORE…

Doubt it. The staining comes about when minerals on the surface become soluble and migrate through subsequent coats. Rubbing down the surface is more likely to accelerate this process rather than prevent it.

Mark – Hi, have an old Victorian farmhouse with sandstone plinths, the plinths have previously been painted so difficult to apply a waterproof sealant. In winter I get damp internally where plinths are, presumably as rainwater or frost is penetrating. Is there a genuine waterproof paint to remedy this? READ MORE…

I am assuming you’re using the word ‘plinths’ to describe the lower course of stonework at ground-level?

You say this is already painted so it’s unlikely that the paint is the problem. Any attempt to ‘wateproof’ masonry walls is going to have the opposite of the desired affect because all you’re doing is trapping internal moisture that would otherwise naturally evaporate.

Is there a DPC, is the stonework and mortar in otherwise good condition and is it sealed where it abuts doorways, etc?

There is seldom a simple answer to these kinds of problems as it’s often a combination of factors.

Dan – When painting the render on a new build should the air bricks be painted or not? READ MORE…

It’s OK to paint air bricks so long as you take care not to get a build-up of paint in the holes which will restrict the air flow.

Cris – My celing still looks patchy after 2 coats of white emulsion. My ceiling is textured. Can that cause issues with rolling. I didn’t want the expense of removing woodchip wallpaper. Initially used zissner stain block over whole ceiling. READ MORE…

It sounds like you’ve used a water-based stain blocker and should have used an oil-based one insted.

More info here… Which Zinsser Stain Blocker?

Ian – Hi, we have a green interior wall that has damp stain damage in areas. I am worried that using an oil based primer like Zinzzer will affect the finish look of my satin emulsion once I have painted the walls again…I have heard scare stories of it just looking awful… any ideas on this or thoughts around it would be hugely appreciated… READ MORE…

You may need to apply a few coats to affected area in order to achieve the best finish but there is nothing to alarmed about. The less than perfect results you’ve heard about are likely where people have applied a coat of stain block and then one coat of finish, expecting this to be sufficient.

If the damps stains are minor you can use a spirit-based (aerosol) blocker which tend to be easier to cover.

James – Please advise an eggshell or satin paint for old sanded to bare wood external south facing window frames, previous oil based paint failed rapidly forming cracks all over the surface even though sanded again to bare wood. READ MORE.

I wouldn’t advise the use of an eggshell/satin finish in such cases because the problem you are experiencing is likely due to high levels of UV radiation which is exasperated when using such coatings that have low levels of light deflection.

If you are determined to use such a finish then the general advise with all paints is that you get what you pay for and using a recognised brand, formulated especially for exterior use is the safest bet. Water-based finishes also tend to perform better externally than oil-based alternatives because they maintain flexibility for longer.

James – I have a question regarding the use of Frog/Decorators Tape when cutting in a second coat of paint please. If I use tape to mask coving, skirting, and trim when applying a first coat of paint, when should I remove it? Frog Tape in particular states that the tape should be removed while the paint is still wet, but if I am going to apply a second coat of paint once the first one is dry, does that mean I would have to remove it after the first coat and re-apply more tape before the second? I can imagine it would be almost impossible to match the same line again if that is the case. READ MORE…

So long as you apply both coats in the same day you should be OK to use the same tape. The problems arise when tape is left in place for long periods and the paint coating has had time to fully cure.

If it looks like the tape is not going to come off cleanly then it’s best to use a sharp blade to score the edges first but this is an extreme situation, you shouldn’t really have a problem if you are careful.

Damien – Can I paint over pliolite paint with a water based exterior paint. It’s been on 5 years. READ MORE…


Peter – Hi, I am using a Cabot’s Wood Tone Putty to fill holes and imperfections in my heritage style Architraves and Skirting Boards. a lot of work has gone into getting them blemish free and perfect. I am then using a Dulux Professional Preparation Total Prep Acrylic as the undercoat on the timber to prime and seal. What I am finding is that the Dulux Acrylic Sealer tends to drag out the Cabot’s Putty, making the perfect finish, not so perfect any more. The Putty has cured days before the undercoat is applied. Should I be using a different undercoat on the timber architraves and skirting boards. READ MORE…

If you are painting the architraves and skirting then I’m not sure why you went to the trouble of using a coloured filler?

That said, it’s not that unusual to find the products you’re using are incompatible and sometimes you just have to admit defeat and use something else. It might be worth spot-priming the areas you’ve filled with a spirit- based primer before using the undercoat again.

I am not familiar with the products you mention though, search results suggest they are generally sold in Australia?

Jonathan – Bit of a daft question. My partner is a control freak. She’s just painted the bedroom in her house with all furniture bedding etc in place and refuses to use any coverings or dustsheets. Uses a brush, so less splatter than a roller, and claims she doesn’t need to cover anything because she doesn’t ever make a mistake. I explained no professional or good amateur would do likewise. Could you please point me to a professional ‘how to’ guide, college training material, or even write a few sentences yourself about good practice and decorating. READ MORE…

I am not aware of any training material about this since it should be common sense that there are always going to be random splashes and risk of spillage – accidents do happen.

However, if your partner is happy to continue not to use dust sheets then the best thing to do is not interfere, she is bound to have a mishap at some stage and will learn the hard way.

This video sprang to mind, btw

Laurence – Can you use Sandtex standard external paint on k rend type render. And, is it a good idea to mix a PVA in with the paint? READ MORE…

Yes, you can paint over K-Rend with Sandtex and any other brand of regular masonry paint.

And, no, it’s never a good idea to add PVA since the paint will have sufficient adhesive qualities already. PVA can also create a film which is detrimental to the breathability of the paint finish.

If this is a recent application you should contact K-Rend directly for advice in case this invalidates any current warranties.

Paul – I have recently fitted plaster coving to a room and needed to fill the small gaps in the corners. I know that silicone cannot be over painted so i used CT1 which claims it can be covered with any type of paint. After several coats of white emulsion and even undercoat, it still shows through. Does anybody have any suggestions, short of building up layers and layers of paint. READ MORE…

It seems like you may have over-painted the sealant before it had fully cured, this can take a few days in some instances. Obviously, without seeing for myself, I’m guessing.

I would be tempted to leave it for a few days before trying to paint again since you’ll get a thick build-up of paint that may show some cracking as it dries out.

In the meantime, you may want to get in touch with C-Tec as they are more likely to be able to guide you further.

[email protected]

Mark – I am trying to renovate an old wooden greenhouse made from Western Red Cedar. I have sanded the wood back and tried to use Osmo Oil on a few pieces but the finish brought up some black stains and made it a bit old and orange looking for my liking. Now looking at painting it in a trendy matt black. Just wondered if you could recommend a paint system that will cope with some unfinished resinous wood and some already oiled wood? READ MORE…

You’ll need to wipe down with white spirit to remove as much residual surface oil as you can and leave a couple of weeks to give it chance to dry out to the extent that a paint coating has a chance of adhering.

I’d suggest an aluminium wood primer as a first coat which will aid adhesion and also block the staining. Then you have a choice of a conventional oil-based matt finish such as Coo-Var Matt Black

Or, Zinsser AllCoat Matt Black which is a water-based self-priming finish. You take a risk with this product in terms of adhesion and long-term performance though. There is also a chance that you still get some staining coming through.

Also, bear in mind, matt black paint is not, by its nature, reflective and will absorb high amounts of heat and ultra-violet radiation which will break down any paint coating over time and denature the wood material beneath. You should, therefore, ensure that the paint coating is maintained at regular intervals to counter this.

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