Painting Tips & DIY Project Advice from Andrew Lundin

Andrew Lundin – cabinet maker, joiner and carpenter from fame, offers some useful painting tips and DIY project advice.

Decide firstly if you are able to do the project.

Painting tips are often about asking yourself the right questions. Do you have the right ladders? Are the paintable surfaces in need of expert repair prior to being painted? Can you complete the project within the time allocated to do the work? Are you looking forward to the work?

If you want a quality finish it’s very important to use a quality product and quality applicators; and if you are not going to do the painting yourself, a qualified painter. Quality preparation products must be used. A good choice is Polycell Polyfilla Flexible Acrylic Filler or Polycell Mendall 90.

The cheaper the brush, the more time will be spent pulling brush hairs off the painted surface, which is just a waste of time.

Use the right roller for the appropriate surface. Generally, a short nap (hair) roller should be used for “smooth” surfaces and a long nap roller for rough/profiled surfaces.

Take a pic of the surface on your phone and show the sales people at the place of paint purchase for roller advice. A qualified painter refers to someone with experience and references, and a happy, pleasant disposition

Where you buy your paint is very important!

Low stock turnover could result in different batch numbers and old paint being sold with new paint. The colour difference may be subtle but you will see it.

TIP: if buying more than 1 tin of paint of a chosen colour, box (mix) the paint together in a clean, empty drum/tin before use. This way you will ensure the colour consistency.

Painters passionate about painting hang around dedicated paint stores that don’t sell braai grids and Fathers’ Day presents. This is where you’ll get the best advice, price and support.

Do a little research regarding the paint store in your area and the products they sell etc. If they been there a while, they know what they are talking about.
Larger paint companies have support teams. Use their paint; some even offer a guarantee on their product. Use their paint.

Painting Tips: Cleaning

Dust is the enemy of every half decent painter. Clean properly; if there has been a lot of filling and sanding, sweep the walls and ceiling. Get a good vacuum cleaner and use it. Clean the room properly.

Painting Tips: Prep

Not enough can be said about doing your prep properly. It’s of vital importance to achieve a quality finish. This is your chance to get up close with the surfaces that you will be painting and a good time to get to know what the best way is to go about applying the paint.

    • Pull all nails, fill all holes and open all cracks for filling. If the cracks are as wide as your thumb, it may be time to call a professional.
    • If there is any water or obvious moisture anywhere, call a professional.
    • Loose skirting boards, cornice, fittings and fixtures should be dealt with prior to coating of walls.
    • If you sand down filler with 60grit sand paper, you’ll need to smooth it off with a 150grit after.
    • TIP: the lower the grit number, the rougher the sand paper will be. For a smooth finish use a higher grit number.

Painting Tips: Area Preparation

Drop sheets are your friend, but they have a nasty side too. Paint spilled on a drop sheet doesn’t dry; you will either stand on it and transfer it to the carpet, or the ladder rung.

Have a towel or cloth handy at all times. I like to have a damp cloth close by. This is very convenient for wiping up any paint spill. Hamilton’s Absorba drip drop sheet is perfect for solving this.

Layer the floor of the area to be painted with drop sheets. The cheaper the drop sheet, the thinner it is and the easier it will tear. You will have more chance of paint leaking through onto the floor. Newspaper scattered around also helps.

You cannot take enough precautions. While you are up a ladder holding a paint tray in one hand, you will forget what that hand is doing while watching the roller or brush. Before you know it, paint is pouring over the paint tray edge onto the floor below.

Read everything you can on paint tins. The best info comes from the people who make the paint. Follow the instructions on the tin. Do it as they describe on the tin. This applies to all product used on any project. This includes prep products, primers and final tinted coats. Follow the instructions.

Painting Tips: Safety

Respect ladders, wear a seat belt and don’t put your finger in the plug. It’s the same things that are never emphasised enough. Do not take a chance with ladders. If you are holding a full paint tray, it’s not going to end well if you have to jump off a falling ladder. If you’re up a ladder, don’t let kids play around the base. These things should be obvious but accidents happen very quickly.

Please see this Plascon Ladder Safety Guide for more

Ventilation is important. Open all doors and windows unless it causes a draft which may blow dust onto your wet paint surface. In such a case, wear the appropriate mask.

Paining Tips: Patience

Spread the paint evenly (not too thick or too thin). Use the guidelines on the paint tin to determine spread rate, drying time, number of coats etc.

Be patient and enjoy your paint project. It can be a very peaceful thing painting a room or surface.

Andrew Lundin Painting Tips

A Bit About Andrew Lundin:

Andrew Lundin thumbnailA natural curiosity for the way things work sustained my childhood career of fixing things that weren’t broken and disassembling things that I could never put back together. I like small spaces (which is ironic as I don’t fit into any small space) and the challenges involved with making them useable and liveable. I do interesting storage solutions, cupboards with drawers, pigeon holes and shelves, trunks and bunks, desks and benches. Everything is designed and made to fit a particular space. I’m happy when I’m designing things, happier when I’m making things I have designed but happiest when I see people enjoying the items I have made for them.

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12 thoughts on “Painting Tips & DIY Project Advice from Andrew Lundin

  1. Good Day Sir/Madam

    Just a honest question and not a comment.

    Well I have recently started with this small project. It is a study room combined with a bedroom, kitchen and toilet. I decided to go open plan except the toilet of course.

    I purchased only Plascon products namely Suede, Velvaglo, Enamel, Nuroof and Micatex.

    The room has just been freshly plastered and the floors is still plain. So basically I need advice on how to approach this task at hand.

    Your initiative and assistance in this approach will be highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    Yours Sincerely

    • Hi Riaan, thanks for getting in touch.

      Would you be happy to provide us with your contact details so that our technical team can arrange for on site assistance with you? Alternatively, you could get in touch with Andrew Lundin himself via his website, or contact the Plascon Advisory service directly on 0860 20 40 60

  2. Good morning to you,

    I have a beautiful antique dresser that was given to me by my in-laws. It needs some tender loving care. What do you suggest? A light sanding and a clear sealant or vanish? Please help. I don’t want to damage the wood.

  3. Question: how does one prepare and paint an old and new IBR roof? The old area has some rusted patches. Can one use aluminium paint or what would you recommend?

    • Hi Marius, it will depend on what paint was used previously.

      For a new Galvanized IBR roof:

      1. Surface to be dry, sound and clean.

      2. Apply Metalcare Galvanised Iron Cleaner to all bare galvanised areas.

      3. Allow to react for 1 minute and rinse off with tap water using bristle brush or Scotch Brite pads to remove all surface contaminants, until surface is water break-free.

      4. Prime with one coat Metalcare Galvanised Iron Primer with an overcoating time of 2 hours and finish with two coats Nuroof Cool Acrylic Roof Paint with 2 hours drying time between coats.

      For a weathered Galvanized IBR roof:

      1. Clean entire surface with Polycell Sugar Soap using bristle brooms or brushes or Scotch Brite pads to remove all surface contaminants, rinse with tap water and allow to dry.

      2. Remove loose and flaky paint and sand surface to a firm edge, feather edges and dust off. Abrade any rust areas to bright metal and remove dust.

      3. Spot prime bare areas with Plascosafe Primer and allow 8 hours to dry. Finish with two coats of Nuroof Cool Acrylic Roof Paint with 2 hours drying time between coats.

      • Hi Brain, here’s what you need to do:

        1. Apply Plascon Galvanised Iron Cleaner (GIC 1) to all bare galvanised areas by brush, broom or spray and allow to react for 1 minute.

        2. Rinse off with tap water using bristle brooms or brushes or Scotch Brite pads to remove all surface contaminants.

        3. Check if surface is water break-free. If not, repeat process.

        4. Allow to dry completely. Then mechanically wire brush or hand sand rust areas to bright metal. Remove dust.

  4. Hi there,

    How does one prepare to paint a gilded mirror frame? I am wanting to change it from a gold/black finish to a white or white wash finish?

    • Hi Jackie, thanks for getting in touch! Our colour expert, Claire Bond, has written you a nice, extensive response (have also emailed this to you):

      I paint over Gilding which also goes by the name of Gold Leaf using a Polvin paint which is water-based.

      If the gold is paint, it is necessary to do a meths test to ascertain if the gold is solvent-based or water-based.

      Dip meths on a cloth and rub the frame. If the gold comes off the paint is water-based and can be painted in any water-based paint. If the gold does not come off onto the cloth use a universal undercoat before applying the Polvin.

      NB: Should the item be a large unit or chai rand not than a small picture frame or object, it is best to undercoat using a Universal Undercoat.

      Once the undercoat has dried (approx 8 hours) apply 2 coats of Polvin. (Polvin is water-based and will dry within an hour).

      STEP 1: I suggest you use Afternoon Shower as your Polvin base colour. Apply 2 coats using a brush if you are painting a frame; a sponge roller for larger flat items.

      STEP 2: Apply candle wax (cheap white candle from any grocery outlet) to the raised areas of the frame to create a shabby chic look. Using wax is a paint effect called “wax resistance technique”.

      STEP 3: Mix 60% white Polvin water-based paint plus 40% acrylic scumble (use a container). Do not overcomplicate the dilutions (50% plus 50% does the trick but from my experimenting I prefer a slightly thicker consistency). This mix must be painted over your base colour of Afternoon Shower as well as the areas you waxed.

      Allow this white mix to get tacky (wait approx 3 mins) and then, with a piece of cloth, wipe the sticky scumbled mix off. The white paint will stay in the recessed areas of the frame (provided the frame has detail).

      Wherever the wax was placed the white paint will not stick and the Afternoon Shower will be revealed. Your shabby chick whitewash is now complete! Experiment using a pine frame and then try out the same idea using a frame with some detail.

    • Hi Carel, thank you for your query. Here’s what you need to do:

      1. Scrub the surface thoroughly with POLYCELL SUGAR SOAP POWDER solution (500g into 5 Litres water) or REMOVALL HIGH STRENGTH CLEANER & DEGREASER (RCI 70) and scouring pads to remove chalk and contaminants.

      2. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to neutralise and allow to dry.

      3. Prime with PLASCON EPIWASH STRONTIUM CHROMATE PRIMER (AW 255). Allow at least 1 h to dry but not more than 14 days before over coating.

      4. Then apply 2 coats of Plascon NuRoof Cool.

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