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Your painting questions answered

Before you dive into your painting project check out some of the questions that were put to the paint experts from Resene and Valspar by Mitre 10 customers in a live Facebook chat session. There were loads of great questions asked, so we’ve highlighted some of the key topics and related questions discussed.

What are some key safety procedures with paint?

Wear sensible shoes and basic safety gear: gloves and eye protection. If sanding, wear a dust mask.

Minimise fumes and paint odour by making sure the areas you paint are well ventilated. Open windows wherever possible and use a fan to circulate the air. You could also wear a paint respirator.

Take care if using a ladder:

  • Ensure the steps are free from wet paint or water that may make them slippery
  • Check the ladder is set up correctly: is on a flat surface and is stable
  • Don’t over reach, keep your shoulders between the rails and always keep three points of contact with the ladder

If using solvent based products be sure to keep these products away from open flames and heat sources as they are highly flammable. Make sure you wear solvent-resistant gloves and soak rags in water overnight before disposing of them.

Store leftover paint in the original container with the lid on securely, out of heat and sun and away from children.

What do I need to apply to wallpaper that I’m going to paint over?

If the wallpaper is already painted then wash it down with soapy water and allow it to dry. Only clean with a soft cloth as abrasives will damage the paper surface. The experts point out that vinyl wallpaper coated directly with standard paint finishes can become sticky as the plasticiser in the wallpaper migrates through the paint finish affecting its cure.

Valspar suggest applying a coat of Valspar Oil Based Binder Sealer to the sound wallpapered surface, then two coats of Valspar Interior Acrylic. However, Valspar recommend that vinyl wallpapers are totally stripped and all traces of adhesive are removed before applying a Valspar Oil Based Binder Sealer. They also recommend that for best results with all wallpapers, stripping the wallpaper as per above is preferable.

For vinyl wallpaper Resene suggests applying a coat of Resene Vinyl Wallpaper Sealer followed by two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen paint. Or for non-vinyl wallpaper, apply two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen paint direct.

I’m repainting a ceiling that has mould covering it and paint chipping away. Is there a good solution to stop this from happening in the future?

This is likely happening because of excess moisture and humidity. Lowering moisture levels by increasing ventilation should help and you can also use a mould-resistant paint that has been specially formulated for use in areas where moisture is a problem, such as the Valspar Kitchen & Bathroom Ceiling paint, or the Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range.

Before applying new paint you will need to treat the mould with a mould killer to remove the mould spores or it will grow through the new paint. Resene recommends using Resene Moss & Mould killer. After using a mould killer, Valspar suggest then washing with a sugar soap solution before rinsing with water thoroughly. Remove any peeling paint and repair any cracks prior to sealing and recoating.

Are there any fast ways to strip back to wood?

If a timber surface has been painted, the quickest way to remove the paint is to use a paint stripper. There are a few different products available to choose from, follow the instructions on the product you choose.

What do I need to consider when selecting an interior paint colour?

Your choice will depend on the style of your house and the mood you want to create in the room. To put it simply, a poorly lit room will appear larger and more spacious if painted in a light paint colour. Small rooms painted in darker colours will have a more dramatic feel. Bigger rooms can be made to feel more intimate or cosy when painted in darker tones.

It’s worth taking home a sample to test in the room, as paint colours can look drastically different at home compared to in the paint store.

What is the best way to test for lead in paint?

You can buy a lead paint testing kit in-store which will quickly let you know if your home has lead-based paint. It’s an easy to use and non-toxic system that can detect lead quickly, see it here.

If lead is present, you will need to take careful steps to remove the paint safely. Talk to a painter or a team member in-store for advice on how to do this without putting yourself, your family or your pets at risk, OR refer to the Worksafe guidelines for management of lead based paint.

What preparation is required when painting on plaster to ensure a good finish and ensure it is water/weatherproof?

You need to repair any damaged areas and thoroughly clean the surface prior to painting. Once the surface is completely dry you can apply your choice of paint.

Resene recommend applying Resene Sureseal to both bare plaster and any areas you’ve repaired, before finishing with two coats of Resene X-200, an acrylic weathertight membrane for exteriors.

Is there a way to treat/address paint bubbles on weatherboards prior to painting?

Yes and it’s important to deal with the bubbles before painting to prevent further problems. You should scrape down the surface and then apply a priming product.

Valspar suggest applying Valspar Oil Based Primer Sealer Undercoat after the existing paint has been removed and edges have been sanded smooth. Once the surface is dry then apply the Valspar exterior finishing coat.

Bleeding sap can also be a cause of bubbling weatherboards. In this case, Resene suggest scraping and then applying Resene Aluminum Wood Primer where the sap has bled. They also suggest opting for a lighter top coat colour as darker colours increase the likely of sap bleed because they absorb more heat which can also contribute to blistering.

Why are paint bubbles occurring when I paint on weatherboard? Is it a poor sanding job or is it the paint I’m using?

Paint bubbles (or blistering) happens when there is an adhesion problem between the surface and paint. It is unlikely the paint is the problem, rather the surface wasn’t adequately prepared, the sanding dust wasn’t wiped away properly, or the correct primer or sealer wasn’t used.

Poor sanding could have meant the surface wasn’t prepared well, but in most cases blistering happens because of one of the following reasons: moisture has come through the surface; paint has been applied to a damp surface; dirt or other contaminants (e.g. sanding dust) has got between the paint and surface; or the surface has not been adequately prepared. Always allow the surface to dry completely before priming and painting, and by applying a quality priming product (or using a self-priming product) before applying the top coat, you can reduce the chance of blistering occurring. If the blistering is due to moisture coming through the surface, this must be fixed before the surface is painted.