Painting Woodwork: Technique Advice
All woodwork should be painted using an oil-based paint, in either a gloss or eggshell (semi-gloss) finish. This type of paint is more durable than emulsion (latex) and gives a thick protective coat which resists scuffs and knocks. All surfaces should be clean, dry and prepared for painting.
The basic principle of painting woodwork, whether it is a door or a picture rail, is to apply the paint with the grain, brush out against the grain, and lay off with the grain. Work in the correct sequence when painting details such as doors and window frames.
* Before painting a door, remember to clean the top edge with a rag. Also clean out the keyhole and door-handle slot to remove loose dirt that could be picked up by the tips of the bristles.
Materials and Equipment
• oil-based paint, gloss or eggshell (semi-gloss)
• narrow (2.5cm/1in) brush for fine detail; medium (7.5cm/3in) brush for panels; angled cutting-in brush for frames
• paint container
• paint guard or masking tape for protecting other surfaces
• solvent — eg. white spirit or turpentine
• rag for cleaning spills
Painting a Wooden Staircase
Wooden staircases comprise a number of upright and horizontal elements which are best painted in a particular sequence. Prepare for painting by removing any stair carpet or covering. Clean the stairs thoroughly.
Work with thin coats of paint to avoid drips and use a selection of brushes of different widths, according to the area you are tackling.
First paint the hand-rail (orit if you prefer). Then paint the newel post and balusters (uprights). Finally, working from the top of the stairs down, paint the stair treads (horizontal parts), risers (vertical parts) and strings (the area of skirting board beside the steps).
Dispose of all paint- or solvent-soaked rags very carefully in order to avoid the risk of fire.
* If you intend to paper a room, paint the woodwork first, overlapping by about 1cm / 1/2in onto the walls. This margin will ensure that slight gaps do not show.
* It is best to paint each particular area of woodwork—for example a window frame —in one painting session. If you stop halfway, the paint will form an ugly edge when it dries, which is very difficult to remove.
1. Stir paint thoroughly. Decant paint into paint container, and dip paint brush up to one-third the depth of the bristles. Do not overload the brush, or the paint will drip. Press the brush gently against the side of the container to remove excess paint.
2. If the grain is vertical, paint two or three vertical strips, parallel with each other, leaving between them gaps just narrower than the brush-width. Hold a narrow brush like a pencil.
3. Without reloading the brush, brush out the vertical strokes horizontally across the grain to fill gaps and smooth the paint.
4. Finish with light upward strokes, using a nearly dry brush. Work over the entire section you have just painted.
5. Use a paint guard or shield to protect a glass panelled door or a window. Alternatively, protect the glass with masking tape which you should remove before the paint is fully dry. In either case, allow the paint to cover the glass by about 3 mm/ 1/8 in so that the edges between wood and glass are sealed.
6. To paint a skirting board (baseboard), hold a piece of cardboard along the bottom edge so that the brush does not pick up dirt from the floor. Protect fitted carpet with dustsheets.