Different areas have their own special problems which you can easily overcome by modifying your basic painting technique and making use of one or two tricks.
Painting up to an edge
This is something which you have to do on lots of occasions — ranging from finishing off along a skirting board to painting around the glass in a window frame. There are several techniques you can use.
To paint up to the edge of something like a skirting where it meets the wall needs a steady hand. To make things easier, use a cutting-in brush, which has an angled tip to follow the line accurately. Don’t overcharge it with paint otherwise you’ll find it difficult to keep the paint in a straight line.
To make a cutting-in brush more effective, or if you are forced to use an ordinary brush, you can stop the bristles splaying out too much by putting a rubber band around them, partway up.
It isn’t always necessary to paint to a line in these circumstances. For example, if you intend to paper a wall after painting the woodwork, it will not matter if you stray slightly off line and onto the wall.
At the base of the skirting board, use a paint shield, masking tape or piece of stiff card to protect the floor.
Windows are easy — because if you get any paint on the glass, all you have to do is to let it dry and then remove it with a razor blade scraper. In fact one technique is to do simply that — which has the further advantage that the small amount of paint left on the glass seals it effectively. Alternatively, you can apply masking tape all around the edge of the pane and remove it when the paint is dry. Another method is to use a paint shield —which must be kept clean to avoid the paint running under it.
The aim is to paint the door so you aren’t reaching over a wet area. At the same time you must avoid gluing it with paint so that it opens and shuts freely. Couple this with the difficulty of getting a good finish over a large area and you’ll see that painting a door needs care and thought.
Wedge the door open so that you have room to go by without touching it and so that there is plenty of room to get the brush to the hinge side. Slide a sheet of newspaper underneath.
The complexity of the job depends on the type of door. A flush door can be treated simply as a large, flat area. Remove the handles and other fittings to avoid getting paint on them. Treat the flat surface by painting it in blocks – working from left to right (vice versa if yod are left handed), and from top to bottom.
Finally, paint the edges. Avoid getting paint on the hinges, as it will make them stick and wear. Don’t bother to paint the top unless it can be seen.
Panelled doors are rather more complicated. Work in a systematic order — basically mouldings first (use a fine brush), then panels, rails uprights and edges.
Take particular care over the edges and mouldings — it is easy to get a heavy build-up of paint which is unsightly and can cause runs. On edges it can also cause sticking. Minimize the effect by brushing outwards over edges, not inwards across them.
If you want a two-tone contrasting effect. Paint one colour first and let it dry very thoroughly — ideally for a week — before painting on the second colour. Mask off and apply the second shade then remove the mask-ing tape as soon as the paint is dry — taking great care to avoid lifting the first colour.
Panel door painting sequence.
- Start from the inside and work outwards. Smooth, even strokes finished by a slight upward movement — ‘laying off’ —produce the best results.
- First paint each of the inner panels starting with the mouldings around the outer edge: push your brush into all the crevices, to cover fully.
- Next paint all the horizontal rails, starting at the top and working down.
- Finish off by painting all the vertical rails: tackle the centre roil first and then the two outer rails (plus the edge if it opens towards you). Try not to paint the hinges
Like doors, windows should be painted in a systematic order.
Casement windows are simplest, being much-like doors. Paint the window before the frame.
Sash windows are much more complicated as you have to slide them over one another to make sure you reach all the surfaces. Never paint the sash cords — they will become stiff and quickly break. As the paint dries, slide the sashes up and down once or twice to make sure that they don’t stick.
If you are painting the outside of any window, carry the paint right over the putty and onto the glass for a couple of millimetres. This will help to prevent water penetration. Do not paint a reglazed window until the putty has hardened for a week.
Painting Radiators and pipes
Don’t paint radiators or hot water pipes while they are warm — ideally. Do it during the summer so that they will not be in use for some time. You can use special heat-resisting paint, but ordinary gloss is perfectly good.
To paint pipes without splashing mask off with a piece of card held behind. Behind a radiator, you need not paint areas which don’t show — those which do can be reached with a radiator brush.
Do allow the paint plenty of time to dry. Even when the surface seems perfectly dry. The underlying paint may still be soft for some time after. In many cases this doesn’t matter particularly.
But contact — such as at a door or window — may break through the surface skin and cause both blemishes and sticking. Where possible, keep windows and doors open as long as you can. Keep dust to a minimum during the drying period.