During the coronavirus pandemic we are all stuck in a house and can’t really go anywhere. This gives us time to reflect on the condition of the inside of our homes.
I’ve listed 6 easy painting tasks that can be done by DIY’er, during this pandemic.
Create a List.
Creating a list should be the first thing you do. The reason for this is that it helps to frame it in your mind of the tasks you can and cannot do during the pandemic lockdown.
The worst thing you can do is to go crashing into a task before you have fully evaluated it.
If you take on too much you’ll get fed up in the middle of it and it will seem like a struggle to complete it
1. Clean your paintwork.
This is one of the easiest tasks you can do and will save you time and money. You will be surprised how clean your paintwork will come up. This will negate you having to actually paint the surfaces in your home, if they are in good condition.
For walls as long as they are in good condition with no holes or cracks you should be able to clean them with shaving foam. This will remove most black marks and scuffs
Shaving foam is non abrasive and therefore ideal for cleaning emulsion based surfaces. It is also pure soap and cheap shaving foam will work.
If you know your woodwork was painted in either water-based paint or oil based paint then two different processes will apply.
With water-based paints I would use the shaving foam technique and with oil-based, I would use sugar soap.
You can mix sugar soap with warm water to dissolve it. There are also sugar soap sprays you can buy. You must rinse sugar soap off with clean water as it will leave a residue.
Cleaning your paintwork is good standard practice whether you wish to paint over the top or not.
2. Painting your kitchen or bathroom
Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the smallest spaces in your house. Some kitchens these days do seem to be large kitchen diners. The room is large but the wall space is minimal due to kitchen units.
Bathrooms are easier again because the wall space is minimal and usually consists of ceilings and woodwork if you have a fully tiled bathroom.
This makes bathrooms and toilets the easiest rooms to decorate and will encourage you to do more during the pandemic.
You can buy a specially formulated kitchen and bathroom paint.
These are fine to use and are probably your best bet if you are buying off the shelf. The only issue with these is that they can dry quite shiny.
If you decide to use standard emulsion paint, you must aim for a minimum of paint that contains vinyl.
I generally use durable emulsions for these types of areas, they work fine. Durable emulsions are basically vinyl matt paint with an added durability.
Dulux diamond matt from the DIY stores is a durable emulsion or more trade paints like Tikkurila Optiva 3 or 5 work well. The reason I would use these is that they dry with a matt finish.
It maybe hard to get these materials during the pandemic, so you may have to stick with the retail versions of bathroom and kitchen paint.
Just make sure that when you’re painting in kitchen areas that you fully sheet up the kitchen units by using light polythene dust sheets and masking tape.
3. Painting your walls.
If you believe you can take on a much bigger task, then painting your walls might be that task.
Make sure you evaluate what needs to be done and not to run out of paint. 5L of standard emulsion will cover 60m2 of walls with 2 coats.
An average room size is 30m2 or below x 2 coats = 60m2. You will use less paint on the 2nd coat, but this is a good guide to use.
Simply multiply the height of the wall with the length of the wall, then add each wall together. That will give you your metre squared area.
If you are tight on paint then calculate the door and the window area and remove this from the overall total.
Make sure you protect carpets and furniture with dust sheets.
Also you need to protect your woodwork if it is in good condition from paint splatters. Use masking along the tops of skirting and down the sides of architraves.
To do this you must use delicate masking tape. This will prevent the woodwork paint from being pulled off. Do not use standard masking tape.
I use either Deltec purple, Tesa pink or Q1 purple. These are low tack, delicate tapes. They’re not cheap, but they do the job effectively and can be ordered online. Just allow for extra delivery time during the pandemic.
Also make sure you fill any cracks or holes with filler prior to starting and sand these down well.
To do decorating well you must be a completer/finisher.
In other words you start a project, you complete it and you finish it off.
Do not be tempted to start decorating in another room until you have completely finished the decorating in that room.
4. Painting your woodwork (trim)
This is a much more involved task. Painting woodwork in a room is usually the biggest task. It takes longer than just painting the walls and ceilings.
The first thing you must do is to determine whether your existing painted woodwork is either painted in oil-based or water-based paint.
If it is painted in water-based paint that’s ok to use water-based paint straight over the top. This water-based paint would be something like a water-based satin or eggshell finish.
If your woodwork is painted in an oil based finish you’ll have to do much more preparation and apply and adhesion primer if you wish to use water-based finish paint over the top.
If you want to use oil-based paint over the top, then you need to either buy and undercoat and gloss separately.
Or you if you want an eggshell type oil finish then 2 coats of oil eggshell finish would suffice.
Most people use water-based these days because it’s quicker, it dries faster, better for the environment and the clean up is much easier.
If that’s the case you have to use an adhesion primer on top of existing oil-based finish on your woodwork.
Adhesion primers that you can pick up from a local DIY store would be zinsser bullseye 123, Benjamin Moore Stix or any multi surface primer.
Just make sure you read the label on the multi surface primer to see that it can be used on old gloss paint, the majority can.
The purpose of an adhesion primer is to allow the water-based top coat to stick to the adhesion primer. The adhesion primer sticks like glue to the old gloss paint.
Make sure you go for a good preparation process with woodwork, fill any holes with two pack filler and use decorators caulk along the top of skirting and down the sides of architraves.
Make sure it also has a good sand down, especially previously painted oil based woodwork.
Protect your carpets or hard floors by running masking tape under the skirting to prevent paint going onto these areas.
Preparation is always key to achieving a good paint finish. And a steady hand is required to prevent paint going onto the wall
5. Change the colour of internal doors.
An easy way to add a bit of dramatic colour to a room is simply to change the colour of the internal door.
As long as a decorating in that room is of a reasonable standard, this can add an interesting aspect to a room without having to fully decorate the rest of the room.
Make sure you understand whether the door is in an existing oil-based finish or a water-based finish.
If you know which type of finish the door is in, then the methods above about using adhesion primers will or will not apply.
These are the doors in my own house. The trend at the moment seems to be darker woodwork will make these stand out.
6. Change the external colour of your front door.
This can be a straightforward task if done correctly. Preparation is key on this task.
You can use water-based eggshells on the front door as this seems to be quite a trend at the moment.
Just make sure you use external water-based eggshell or gloss.
If you are going down the traditional route of oil based undercoat and gloss make sure you use the correct tinted undercoat colour.
Again, you need to make sure you know what type of finish is currently on the external face of your front door.
If you want to use water-based eggshell over the top of an oil-based finish you must use adhesion primer like Zinnser Bulleye 123, which can be used externally.
Make sure you remove as much ironmongery as you can letterboxes, door knockers, key hole covers (escutcheon plates) etc.
The only difficult one to remove is the Yale lock, night latch plate, where your key goes into. I usually leave this in and mask it off.
This allows you to still have a lock where you can open and lock the door to avoid people whilst trying to deliver packages during the pandemic.
Make sure you prepare the door well by filling any holes with 2-pack wood filler and making sure the surface of the door has a good sand down.
When it comes to painting the front door in an water based eggshell type finish, then Farrow and Ball or Little Greene paint company do some excellent external eggshell coloured finishes, in small tin quantities.
Here’s a door I did in London property, in a Farrow and Ball colour.
One last tip when it comes to front doors. Always start painting in the morning so the door can have multiple coats (if water based) and it means you can lock it at night.
If you are using oil based then this is always a 2 day job. Again, always paint first thing in the morning, so you can close it at night.
Make a list if any tools you need and make sure you have these to hand. Steps, dust sheets, brushes, rollers, roller trays, masking tape, sandpaper (and a roller pole if you are painting walls.)
Stay safe during the pandemic and order everything online if you don’t feel comfortable visiting the shops as buying materials during the pandemic will seem a chore.