While much time and energy (and money) is spent during a renovation on many things you cannot see when the job is done, the paint finish is always on display. Potential buyers or curious friends will look closely at walls and ceilings, cast a critical eye over the cutting in and stand back to see if the sunlight illuminates those flaws you thought you had covered.

Many of us choose to complete the work of a renovation by doing the painting ourselves, and I have done this myself on my own home. I think it’s a great idea, but let’s get it right, and you don’t want to lower the standard of a major renovation with a poor paint job.

We spent some time looking at wall linings in another article, and discussed the ways in which the lining provides strength (bracing), protection (substrate for waterproofing tiles) and performance (thermal and sound insulation). The wall and ceiling lining in a home also provide the base for the paintwork. No matter how good the painter and the paint used, if you are painting over uneven or rough surfaces, it will simply look like paint over rough and uneven surfaces. Before we even think about picking up a brush or roller, lets talk preparation.

In a broad sense, the better the lining, the better the finish. Plasterboard that is well fixed over framework that is straight and true will always allow a better finish than linings that have been poorly fixed over walls that are themselves uneven or crooked. The better the plasterboard fixing the better the gib stopping can be. While many keen DIYers will have a go at stopping the walls and ceilings themselves, it is one of those tasks that looks simple when done by a professional stopper, but can lead to much frustration until you become competent. The right products and systems are key, so check out the Gib Site Guide, which details the compounds and tapes to be used when stopping Gib Plasterboard. My main advice here is read first, work second. The hard lesson I have learnt when doing my own stopping is it is better to apply less stopping compound on each coat and maybe have to do an extra coat, rather than having to sand back excess compound once it is dry. The other thing you notice when watching a skilled stopper at work, the compound is trowelled on, smoothed off and left. The temptation for DIYers is to keep working the surface in the hope that you will get a better finish with each pass of the trowel, and it often doesn’t happen as the compound dries out and get harder to work with every pass. Practice makes perfect is a phrase that springs to mind.

Preparation is 75% of painting. Tough to hear, but my advice when asked about the key to a good paint finish is “sand until your fingers are bleeding” Remember that paint is only microns thin, and that most imperfections in the surface you are painting will still be visible after a coat of

The stopping of plasterboard walls and ceilings needs to be sanded using a wide sanding pad and very fine sandpaper like a 220 grit. The walls and ceilings should then be dusted down and the room swept up before painting begins. New plasterboard needs a sealer coat before the 2
top coats are applied. To check whether or not your final coat will be great, use a halogen worklight to illuminate the surface before you start with the top coats. Hold the light almost parallel to the wall so that the light shines along the wall. This will cause any hollows or humps to cast a shadow. Sand or fill as required, reseal, then you are ready to paint.

Important Tips.

Most walls and ceilings are painted using a roller with a sleeve, and the edges are cut in with a brush. Spending a few extra dollars on a good sleeve or brush will give you a better finish.

Do your cutting in first, using a brush to paint around the edges of the ceiling and architraves, then roll the wall or ceiling.

When rolling, be aware that there is a slightly different finish to the painted surface depending on the direction of the last roll. Make sure that you always finish in the same direction so that the wall has an even appearance when finished.

Get used to using an extension pole when rolling. You want to be able to roll from the top of the wall to the bottom without climbing off ladders or platforms. This also allows you to work across the wall, keeping a wet edge so that each pass of the roller blends into the previous one.

Cover what you don’t want to have painted, and mask the edges of glass in windows and doors. It is easier to keep paint off a surface than remove it later.

Take the time to get organised at the start, have everything you need close at hand, and set up a work station in a part of the room where it will not be disturbed and there you can work around it.

Looking after your gear and the planet. Clean your brushes and rollers out, but make sure you don’t rinse the excess paint into the sewers or stormwater drains.

As I said before, practice makes perfect.