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Painting Interior Woodwork & Metal

Tacky Satinwood
Hi, I painted some interior doors well over a month ago now with Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood and all the doors along the edges close to door handle are slightly tacky.

The edges aren’t tacky further up or on the rest of the doors so I’m baffled as to why they are like this and what I do to correct the problem? Can you also recommend a better satinwood, I don’t reckon much to this one.


It is normal for areas around door handles to accumulate a lot of oil and grease which contaminates the surface. This should be removed prior to painting but often isn’t, hence the problems you’re experiencing.

Water based paints, such as the one you’ve used, are OK but only if the surface has been thoroughly prepared beforehand.

Oil-based paints take longer to dry and are less pleasant to use but you can sometimes ‘get-away’ without doing so much preparation since they are less likely to react with minor contamination such as oil and grease around door handles.

You’ll need to remove the affected paint (pure alcohol or ammonia tends to work best on water-based paints), then rub down and start again – making sure any surface contamination has been removed.

A quick wipe with white spirit followed by a wash-down with a sugar soap solution and then a rinse with warm, clean water should do the trick. Don’t use washing up liquid or household cleaner because they’ll leave a residue which only causes more problems.

24 thoughts on “Painting Interior Woodwork & Metal”

  1. Hi, I have a new flat which was decorated throughout and then new carpets fitted. Although I haven’t seen it yet I’m told there is a tide line caused by the new carpet on the stairs being lower than the old carpet. How can I remedy this without getting paint on the new carpet?

    • Use a good quality masking tape, 2-inch wide ideally. Press down as you apply and take time to ensure you get right to the edge.

      Paint down to the level of the tape and although you can touch it with the paint, try not to as you want the least amount of paint gathering around the margins. The best way to do it is to imagine the masking tape isn’t there at all. You don’t have to paint the entire string, just enough to cover the line.

      If the line is quite distinct you may need more than one coat to get a good result. For best results, use a quick-drying (water based) undercoat first.

      Allow 48 hours to ensure the paint has fully dried and remove the tape. Be careful though and only remove small lengths at a time.

      It takes a bit of confidence, more than anything, so try a small area first.

  2. Hi, I’m looking for some advice about my banister, it had varnish ontop and I used B&Q wood paint about 1 year ago but over time it peels off when scraped with a nail or something sharp, I’m looking to paint over it and was wondering if I need to strip the old paint or just sand it as I’m looking opt paint it a similar colour.

    • The reason the paint is peeling is likely a combination of surface condemnation and lack of preparation. Handrails, by their nature, have a lot of hand contact which transfers oil and grease to the surface. This needs to be thoroughly removed before any paint will adhere successfully to the surface.

      Another problem is that varnish is notoriously difficult to paint over and needs much more rubbing down than would a conventional paint finish. Ideally, the varnish should be completely removed first.

      However, you are where you are and nothing you do now, short of removing all the paint/varnish and starting from scratch, will rectify the problem. Any paint coating is only as good as the surface it is applied to.

      Paint does harden over time though and you may have seen the worst of the problem, painting over it won’t make the situation any worse. It may mean you have to touch up now and again though.

  3. We have dark stained wooden beams from 1970s. I would like to paint them white but need advice on what to use and how to do it please.

    • It depends what kind of finish you want Karen. Normally, I would would use a primer which is the opposite of the finish I am using.

      So, for example, if I was using an oil-based finish I would use a water based primer – or visa versa.

      If you want to give more details I’d be happy to advise further.

  4. How do you paint a sash window with Dulux gloss? Are you supposed to paint the insides where the window slides up and down? Thanks

  5. What is the right method to apply dulux water based gloss paint on existing oil based gloss paint internal wood surfaces?

    • Thoroughly wash-down the surface, rinse and dry. Rub-down to remove any gloss and prime with an acrylic primer/undercoat.

  6. We had our woodwork repainted with crown satin wood and have been left with patches of tacky paint that over the years had started to peel. We assumed the problem was with the crown paint but now wondering if it’s due to the original oil based gloss not being rubbed down properly. Is this a hazard when using satinwood over previous gloss work?

    • Hi Lucy
      Yes, it’s very likely the previous surface wasn’t properly prepared. The smallest amount of greasy residue will prevent any further coats of paint from drying and adhering properly.

      Ideally, surfaces should be washed down with a sugar soap solution and rinsed with clean, warm water. Then, when dried, properly rubbed down with fine sandpaper to provide a key.

      You may find that much of the paint surface remains intact and it only peels off where there was previous contamination of grease? Certainly remove as much as you can before re-painting.

      • Thanks for your speedy reply Darren. Originally we thought it was a problem with the crown paint and even found a lot of complaints on the internet from various customers suffering the same problem but a neighbour suggested it may have been where our decorators hadn’t prepared the surface properly. Do we have any recourse? We paid a lot of money to have it done and can’t afford to pay again. When we originally reported the problem to the decorator they were baffled as to why it wasn’t happening other than suggesting that perhaps it was our children touching the paint with sticky/dirty hands! I pointed out that the problem areas were so random and not generally consistent with where the kids touch the woodwork most. Thanks again.

      • Lack of correct preparation is at the root of most such problems because the affects are often only apparent a long time after the work has been completed. The explanation your decorator has put forward is beyond ridiculous and merely demonstrates that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        In the first instance I would take photographs of the worst affected areas and write to your decorator (with copies) explaining you are not satisfied the work has been carried out properly. Set a time limit for him to reply and to either offer to put the work right or to compensate you so you can arrange for someone else to do it.

        Feel free to refer him to this post if you like.

        If you need anything further, I am here.

        Best wishes.

  7. Hi,I’m stripping my stairs but when I think I’ve lifted all the paint there’s a weird soft residue that’s really hard to get off?It goes all gooey and spreads.

    • It could be resin that’s seeping out from the wood or some other kind of contamination. Either way, you can usually remove it with white spirit. It will take a few attempts but perseverance is the key.

      Stripping paint is often a very messy job, as you have found out.

  8. I have painted an undercoated new pine wooden steps with a green gloss oil based paint and after 3 days it is still tacky. I have used different colours from the same make and they have dried within 18 hrs. Can you tell me if the paint is ‘off’, as it has been in storage, but unopened for 2 years, as indeed had the other colours.

    • Hi Linda
      When paint is stored for a long time it will separate into its component parts and needs a very good stir (much more than you might imagine). It’s also possible the surface of the steps were not thoroughly cleaned beforehand. It could also be a combination of both?

      It’s going to be a messy job but if you wipe the steps with a cloth dipped in white spirits you should be able to remove most of the affected paint, leave to dry and start again making sure the paint is thoroughly stirred first.

  9. I have a wall mounted laminated fireglow fireplace that has faided from white to a horrible cream over time. I’m looking for advice to paint this back to its former glory.

    • Oil and solvent based paints do tend to yellow over time and the usual remedy is to use a water-based paint instead. However, for a fireplace this may not be possible since you also need to use a heat-resistant coating and these are usually solvent based.

      I would, therefore, suggest using the best quality heat-resistant enamel you can (in other words, usually the most expensive) because the quality of the resin and pigments will help ensure the yellowing process is less prevalent than with cheaper alternatives.

  10. Hi there. Could you please recommend a good (but not too expensive, preferably) white paint for radiators? The radiators are only a few years old. There’s no rust I can see. They just look a wee bit dingy. To be honest they were never brilliant white in the first place but next to the newly painted woodwork, they now look kinda grotty. They have never been painted before. Any suggestions you may have would be great.

    • There are a few DIY products available which are called ‘radiator paint’ but the results are often quite disappointing.

      You can use ordinary oil-based undercoat and gloss; the result should be acceptable although the finish will diminish over time so you’ll need to re-do whenever you redecorate.

      • Thanks for that Darren. Would there be any particular brand of paint I should use to prevent yellowing too quickly, or any other tips to make a decent job of it please? Your advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you again. Sheila

      • Oil base paints of today tend to yellow more rapidly because of legislation regarding the ingredients they use in production. The only thing you can do is to use the best quality you can afford and/or instead of using a gloss opt for a satin or eggshell finish since they have a lower resin content and do not yellow so readily. Just make sure they are oil-based and not water based (often labelled as quick-drying).

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