Decorating: Preparing to Put on a New Face
New paintwork, however carefully applied, is only as good as the surface beneath it. Careful preparation of the surface, whether exterior or interior, is essential. Paint can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, metal, plaster, lining paper, plastic, polystyrene and stonework.
Preparation may count for three quarters of the time taken to do a job, but the result will be worthwhile. If work is rushed the result may be poor and not durable.
Surfaces to be painted must always be clean, dust and grease-free. Paint will stick to whatever is immediately below it. It will stick to dust and come away with it. If paint is applied to a greasy surface, the grease may combine with the oil present in the paint and lengthen the drying time.
If the surface is basically in good condition it may only need washing down with a paint cleaner, such as sugar soap or detergent. When washing down, particularly on walls and large areas, such as doors, start washing from the bottom and work upwards. In this way streaks of concentrated cleaning fluids will not run down the surface and form patchy areas which make for an uneven surface.
When the first wash is completed wash again, starting at the top, with clean water. This is to remove any remaining dirt and ensure that there is no residual detergent left which might interfere with the chemical constituents of the paint. After washing, the surface must be allowed to dry completely before paint is applied. If necessary, rub down with a fine glass-paper and use a soft brush to remove any dust.
New plaster should always be allowed to dry out completely before a final décorative coat is applied. It takes up to a year to dry out completely. If decorated during this time, use a water-based emulsion paint which will not seal the surface but will allow it to continue drying out.