Décor By Paul
Hints & Tips

This is a page of general information covering some problems you might encounter and a few "Do It Yourself" tips.
We can offer some advice and help.


Typical Interior Problems:

Blistering of Paint on Plaster or Drywall:

May occur if solvent-based (oil based) paints are over-coated with a latex or "waterborne" paint, in an area that suffers from condensation. Or, it may be that the paint was applied in damp conditions.

Scrape back to a firm edge all loose paint. Lightly sand the surface. Spot prime bare areas with a "Primer Sealer", and use a 100% Acrylic Waterborne paint for finish coat painting. Today, the top shelf paints are good enough to not have to be concerned with what sheen you want to use. Use the sheen you like i.e. flat, matte, low sheen, semi-gloss or hi-gloss.

Flaking of Paint on Plaster and Masonry Surfaces:

This could be caused by a variety of conditions. It could be moisture beneath the paint film or possibly paint has been applied to a greasy or powdery surface. Perhaps the paint was applied over a solvent based (oil based) paint. Older "latex" paints normally do not "stick" to oil based paints without special preparation. Read on....

If you have a "powdery" surface, it may be what we call "plaster oxidation". If this is the case, you cannot do anything until this surface has been properly prepared. You must remove as much of the "powder" as possible and then prime the area with an "oil based" primer like "KILZ" primer. This will firm up the surface and make it ready for further prep. Now you can start your plaster repair.

Plaster/Drywall Repair:

Scrape back to a firm edge all loose paint. Lightly sand the surface. If the previous coating was a solvent-based (oil based) paint or gloss finish, then it will probably be necessary to undercoat the surface with a proper primer. You may also want to fill the surface to make it smooth again. You can use "Dura-Bond" hard mix joint compound to accomplish this. Then prime and repaint with finish color. More on this in the "DIY" section.

Flaking/Blistering of Paint on Wood:

Flaking or blistering of paint on wood is most commonly caused by moisture beneath the paint film. Knots in the wood can also lead to blistering. Flaking can occur if paint has been applied over denatured wood, dirt, grease, etc. Movement of the wood, particularly on joints can cause it to crack. This can allow moisture to penetrate the wood which in time can lead to flaking.

Areas of flaking or blistering paint should be removed by scraping back to a firm edge using a paint scraper. Sand down to smooth edges. If the problem is extensive the surface should be stripped back to bare wood. All knots & streaks should be treated with  Knotting Solution and then bare wood should be primed. Make good all open joints and surface with suitable wood filler. Or, you can use "Dura-Bond" hard mix joint compound to fill these areas. But first, you must prime the bare wood with "Muralo" "563 Painter's Primer". Plaster patching compounds will not adhere to raw wood.

Cracks in Plaster:

The development of small cracks on inside plaster and drywall walls and ceilings are not unusual and is normally the result of the building settling over time or movement of the building as is the case with Hi Rise Buildings. It is said that The John Hancock Building has a "natural sway" of as much as 3 Feet at the top. Large cracks that appear to be getting wider should be investigated to see if there is a "structural reason" for the crack.

Cracks above doors are a common occurrence of door usage. Please don't "slam" your doors. It will just cost you money to repair.

All loose plaster must be removed from crack. Edges must be tight. Cover crack with a fiberglass mesh joint tape. Then coat with two layers of "Dura-Bond" hard mix joint compound. Then coat with "Dura-Bond®" "Easy-Sand®" dry mix joint compound. Sand smooth, prime and paint as desired. Follow all manufacturer's instructions.

"Dura-Bond® " & "Easy-Sand® " are Registered Trademarks of "USG Corporation".

Condensation Control:

The amount of water vapor that air can hold is limited. When this limit is reached, the air is said to be saturated. Most condensation in buildings is caused by warm moist air coming in contact with cooler surfaces. In houses condensation is most likely to occur in kitchens and bathrooms. Another area is around windows. "New" windows today are normally pretty airtight. This in itself presents a problem. Airtight windows prevent good natural interior air flow which creates condensation problems around windows.

Condensation is best prevented or controlled by providing good ventilation. Heating combined with good ventilation will reduce the problem. Special anti-condensation paints will provide short term relief, but painting alone will not cure the problem. Conditions within the building must be addressed and improved. You may want to add a "dehumidifier".

Dampness in Walls:

Where damp is a problem it may be due to a defective or missing DPC ( DuPont™ Tyvek® ) , broken or defective rainwater pipes and gutters, defective pointing in brickwork, unsuitable cladding, solid wall construction or other general building defects. The source of the dampness should be found and cured. The surface must be allowed to completely dry before repair and painting can be done.


Do It Yourself (DIY) Interior Painting

If you want to undertake the work yourself, this guide to the sequence of operations may be helpful.

First, here is what you need to start the job:

Drop Cloths.

Painter's plastic.

Painter's tape. Don't use the "white" masking tape. It may leave a residue that can only be washed off with mineral spirits.

Painter's ladder.

Screw driver, hammer, pliers, razor knife, paint pan, roller sleeve, roller handle, roller handle extension pole.

"Dura-Bond®" dry hard mix joint compound, "Dura-Bond®" "Easy-Sand®" dry soft mix joint compound, wet sanding block and dry sanding paper (150 grit).

Plaster knives and mixing trough.

Stain killing primer like "KILZ", "Muralo" "563 Painter's Primer" and whatever finish paint you are going to use. We have our recommendations on the "What About The Paint" page.

Rags, scruffy pads & sponges.

Sequence of operations before you start painting:

Remove pictures, mirrors, switch plates and outlet plates.

Remove small and light furniture.

Place heavy & bulky furniture in center of room.

Cover floor and furniture with plastic sheets and drop cloths. Old sheets are very porous and will "leak" paint. Don't trust them by them selves.

Remove curtains and any other window treatments you may have.

Place all of your working items, i.e. the pan, tools, paint cans etc..., in a space in the work area. It is also a very good idea to have a "5 gallon bucket" filled with a couple gallons of water for emergency clean ups.

Prepwork consists of the following:

"Shave" the walls & ceiling. Using a razor knife, you "shave" the bumps and "stuff" that was left in the paint by the last guy. This creates less dust than if you were to use sand paper.

Now, do all of the heavy patching. Make any crack repairs that are necessary. "Wet sand" these areas as smooth as possible.

Now, prime the walls and ceiling with a suitable interior primer. We like to use "Muralo 563 Painters Primer". If there are any water or "rust" marks, prime them with a stain blocking primer. You can normally find these primers in spray cans. Use sparingly.

Now, you are ready to do the "light" patching. When you prime, the primer will show things you missed with the first patching. Don't worry, this happens to everybody. Now is the time to finish the patching. Spot prime if necessary.

Also, prep the woodwork and doors by "shaving" any bumps from the surface. patch any small nicks or cracks. Sand smooth and spot prime. Usually, previously painted woodwork does not need to be totally primed unless you are making a dramatic color change. If that is the case, prime using a primer color that is close to the finish color.

Now, you are ready for paint.

With each area to be painted, start by "cutting in" or brushing in the edges. This will make rolling easier and give you a better result. You want to cover as much of the "brush line" as possible. Follow the instructions on the paint can. Be prepared to go back and retouch "over painted" lines to straighten them out.

Paint the ceiling first.

Now, paint the walls.

Is there ceiling trim such as "crown moldings" or a "ceiling medallion? Now is the time time to paint them.

Next, paint the window sashes and frames. If you need to, you can use painter's tape to protect the glass. Whether or not you used tape, windows and trim always take time to do right. Don't rush and you will have less to retouch and clean up.

Also, if you have any "built-ins" that are to be painted, do them now.

Doors and door frames always go last. Try not to get any paint on the hinges and hardware. Always remove the door knobs and hardware if possible. Often, you will want to replace door stops at this point.

When you are done painting, put the hardware back on, hang the pictures. If you make any mistakes, now is the time to repair them.

Clean up all of the painting "stuff". Properly clean all of your tools and put them away.

Put the furniture back in place and you're DONE! How does it look? Great! I hope.


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