David wants to do some painting:
Q: I have followed your column for years and know you have spoken a lot about painting. I want to tackle painting the walls of our cottage near the beach. We built 10 years ago and used only the best materials. Advice please.
A: I am sure having built yourself, and having followed the column, I don’t need to go into the basics of brushes and so forth. The biggest thing about painting is to get the preparation right, especially if the cottage is near the sea – putting gold onto a bad surface is a waste of time. I don’t know where you live and how you are affected by water restrictions, but the first thing you need to do is to get the sea air deposits off the walls.
The best way to do this is with a water jet, even if you have to go to the lengths of buying non-potable water, as you need to blast the walls clean, removing all deposits and any loose or flaking paint. Once they are clean, give them a good sand and then clean well with a stiff brush. Check for cracks and fill any with an external sealer. Also reseal as necessary around door and window frames. I am not going to suggest a paint because all the big brand names are good, and all have similar products.
For external walls you need a paint with high acrylic content which is easy to clean and keeps out the water. Ask your supplier what primer or undercoat they recommend for their product.
Because you are close to the sea, I recommend you rinse the walls between coats to remove any salts. If you suspect the walls may have absorbed water over the years, I would give them a few months to dry out before sealing in moisture with new paint.
Perhaps it is a Christmas holiday job. Do not undertake interior painting until the exterior is 100% sealed and there is no sign of internal damp or moisture.