In the 41st of a series of practical construction tips, Engineer Jagvir Goyal discusses aspects of surface preparation and painting.
1.These days, painting can be done with brushes, rollers and sprays. Whenever you use rollers for paintwork, always paint the ceiling border or wall border with a 2-inch brush. For painting the ceilings with a roller, use an extension handle to make the job easier. For a large wall or ceiling areas, use a 9-inch roller. To remove excess paint from the roller, roll it in the paint tray rather than rolling along the edge of the tin. Never hurry while using the roller.
2.To best prepare a surface for painting, keep this guideline in mind: first clean the surface well of all loose material, dirt and dust. When dry, apply 180 no. sandpaper and then apply a coat of primer. When the primer dries up, say in six to eight hours, use the manufacturer’s putty to fill up any small holes, s, etc, in plaster. If putty is not available, use white cement sand mix in 1: 3 ratio or POP. When the putty applied has dried up, rub it with 180 no. sandpaper. Now apply another coat of thin primer. When dry, rub with 320 no. sandpaper. Now start painting. Whenever you use putty to repair walls, don’t apply oil-based putty directly on the plaster. It should be applied after the primer coat. If POP is used for surface preparation, it can be applied directly on plaster. Use putty for small depressions and POP for large depressions. Allow putty or POP to dry for four to five hours before doing further work.
3.If you want to repaint your house, remove all the old paint thoroughly. Scrape off the whitewash and distemper with sandpaper. Leave no loose material on the walls. Ensure that oil-bound distempers are so sanded that no shine is left on the walls. Thereafter, look for any s or dampness. Repair all s and plug the source of dampness. Use putty to fill the s and remove unevenness in the surfaces. Leave the putty to dry. Now, the old surface is ready for fresh painting.
4.POP punning is becoming popular these days to provide an ultra smooth surface to receive the final finish. It costs about Rs 5 per sq ft though the rate quoted by workers may be as high as Rs 15 per sq ft and needs to be negotiated. Some of the cost gets recovered through the better coverage area it gives emulsion coats. Ensure plaster is completely dry before POP punning is done - otherwise it will come off.
5.Rates for making POP cornices and borders vary a lot. POP decorative domes may cost as much as Rs 35,000 per dome. The best quality POP comes from cement companies like JK, ACC, Laxmi, etc. It costs around Rs 4 per kg. Otherwise local POP is also available in the market at just Rs. 1.50 per kg. It contains a lot of dust and has less adhesion. It’s best to use standard POP. There is a lot of wastage of POP during work. POP that drops on the floor should not be reused. These days, readymade POP cornices and borders are also available in the market and look as good as in-situ work. All the mess that gets created during POP work on the ceiling is also avoided. The cost also works out to be about the same.
6.Always keep the ceiling white. It will never go out of fashion. You can choose a false ceiling but again keep it completely white. White ceilings make the room look bigger and feel cooler. Don’t use red and golden colours on POP cornices and borders. Among other options, stencilling of ceiling and walls is becoming popular. Here, a pattern is first made and then filled with colour. After the painting of the base colour, a sponge or comb is used to give the desired wall texture. Nowadays, three-dimensional interiors are being offered by a company in India. At a small rate of Rs 850 per room, you can get glowing stars, moon and sky on your ceiling twinkling all night.
7.Whatever surface you paint, thoroughly stir the paint in the can before applying as most paints settle in cans. Wear a mask while rubbing down the surfaces to be painted. Also protect your eyes during the painting operation. See that paint is not over thinned unless allowed by the manufacturer; else paint will lose its gloss. Also ensure it is not too stiff. Such paint will leave brush marks. Poor quality of brush may also cause these marks.
8.Before painting wooden surfaces such as doors, windows and ventilators, first decide whether you want an opaque or transparent finish. For an opaque finish, use synthetic enamel paints meant for wooden surfaces. They protect the woodwork and enhance its life. Once an opaque paint finish is chosen, it becomes very difficult to convert it into a transparent finish at a later stage. You have to burn all the paint with blowlamps. For a transparent surface finish, choose polish. Further, choose between a melamine-based finish, polyurethane-based finish or French polish. Synthetic enamels don’t look good on wood. They only act as protectors. To enhance the beauty of wood grain, choose transparent polish.
9.For painting windows, follow a sequence. Always paint the crossbars first. Then paint the frames and sills. The best tool to paint a wire fence is a sponge. It covers the wire completely and your hand is saved from getting hurt. However as an extra safety precaution, gloves should be worn. To paint the stair steps, the best method is to paint alternate steps on one day. Paint both treads and risers and, that day, go up and down on dry treads, two at a time. After two days, move on the painted ones and paint the ones left. The next day, do the railing!
10.Choose your brushes carefully to ensure an excellent finish. A good painter always knows the difference between good and bad brushes. You need four kinds of brushes: a 6-inch wide one for large, flat surfaces; a 2½ inch brush for trim work; a 1½ inch brush for sash work; and a round small brush to reach hard-to-reach spots. Always choose high quality brushes. These have both short and long bristles tapered to usable edge. Bristles should have naturally or artificially split ends to hold the paint from dripping. Use brushes with natural bristles for any surface or paint. Brushes with nylon bristles should be used for cement paint or latex based paints only.