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Can I paint over varnished wood? :: Posted by: Admin on September 27th, 2014

flaking paint off varnished frame

Can I paint over varnished wood?

This is a question that is asked a lot, and the simple answer is yes you can paint over varnished wood, but the preparation must be done correctly otherwise the paint can simply peel of or scraped of as in the following video.

In this video the door frames had been painted in the past over varnished wood, but the preparation hadn’t been done correctly and as there were new doors fitted and the door stops moved the frames needed painting, as you can see this is a good example of preparation not being done right.

How not to paint over varnished wood

A brief video showing what happens if you do not paint over varnish correctly.

How to paint over varnished wood

I wrote a blog post about the job you have seen in the video, you can read the post called can I paint over varnished wood?

In the blog post I go through each stage of how I prepared the varnished wood through to priming, undercoating and finally topcoating.

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Decorating a bedroom :: Posted by: Admin on April 30th, 2014

Decorating a bedroom

I thought I would do a post about a recent job I did, it was decorating a bedroom of a local bungalow. The job entailed stripping the old wallpaper, painting the woodwork and then re-papering with two different papers above and below a dado rail.

Firstly I removed the old wallpaper and backing paper. I don’t use a wallpaper stripper and I have blogged about this in the past, you can read my post How to strip wallpaper for more information on how I do it.

Once the wallpaper was removed I could see any holes and cracks that needed repair before hanging the new wallpapers, you can read about how to fill cracks in my post about it, I have also written about the different types of filler.

When the filler was dry I rubbed it down with the remaining walls to ensure they were smooth and level, I also rubbed all the woodwork down including a window sill, a door, a door frame and architrave, the skirting boards and the dado rail. I then vacuumed the walls down to remove any dust, I also vacuumed up and dust that had fallen onto the ground. I always carry my own vacuum with me to clear up so I don’t have to use the clients.

Now that all the preparation work was done to the walls and woodwork I could start to paint, I start at the top and work down, so the first job is the ceiling and coving which I painted with two coats of brilliant matt white emulsion.

Once the ceiling was dried and I was happy it looked OK i moved onto the woodwork, firstly giving it a coat of undercoat. I use a water based undercoat for quickness of drying, once the undercoat was dry I could topcoat the woodwork, in this case everything was painted with brilliant white satin wood.

I varnished the window sill with a clear satin varnish with three coats to complete the woodwork.

Now that the woodwork was done I had to wait for it to fully dry overnight before I could start to hang the wallpaper, which I did the following day. I wallpapered above the dado rail first and then below it.

How long does it take to decorate a bedroom?

Well that is a hard question to answer, it depends on how much there is to do, whether there is just emulsion or wallpapering to do. On this job it took me around three days to complete. But each job varies.

Below is a photo of the completed bedroom, showing one wall, the wallpaper (that is still wet) and the dado rail.

bedroom wallpaper

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Using a heat gun to strip paint :: Posted by: Admin on March 24th, 2014

3 point triangle scraper

Using a heat gun to strip paint

Heat guns, hot air gun or hot-air strippers as they are sometimes called are a way of removing paint from woodwork by using hot air, they are a better way of stripping paint than using a naked flame such as a blowtorch. Heat guns come with nozzles that can direct, and protect areas you do not wish to remove the paint and also from overheating glass panels and cracking the glass.

Many heat guns have two heat settings to allow more control over the removal of paint. If you buy a heat gun you will normally get a scraper with the gun, depending on model and price of the gun the amount of accessories you get with it will vary. As a basic tool you should use a triangle three pointed scraper, this will allow you to do basic paint stripping from large areas and moulded areas, you can buy other scrapers with different profiles to them for more detailed work or even a scrapper that allows you to change the end for your needs.

Temperature control

A good heat gun will allow you to choose different heat settings, normally low or high, these different heat temperatures will allow the gun only to heat up to a certain temperature giving you more control on the heat required for a given situation.

Heat guns can range in temperatures from around 10 – 500 ℃ (50 – 1000 ℉) so caution should be used when using heat guns.

Safety First

When using any heat tool safety should be observed. You should always be aware of your surroundings when using a heat gun. You should wear gloves, safety goggles or glasses, cover bare skin by wearing overalls, wear sensible shoes or boots, move any flammable items out of the way (such as curtains, carpet), have a fire extinguisher beside you. Ensure you only strip paint in well ventilated areas. Don’t put any part of you body in front of the airflow of the gun as this will cause injury.

Be aware of how old the paint you are stripping is, does it contain lead? Even though the topcoat may be modern, subsequent layers may be pre 1960 and contain lead. You can find more information on wikipedia about lead paint in the UK.

When stripping paint, the paint will get hot and sticky, it may even burn, be aware of the paint falling to the floor, protect the floor and keep an eye on smouldering paint. The scraper will also get hot as you use it so do not touch the end.

Be aware that the end of the gun will remain extremely hot for a period of time so do not lay it down on flammable surfaces such as carpet or dust sheets. Look out for heat guns that come with a stand when buying one, this will allow you to stand the gun safely whilst it cools down.

Heat Gun

Using a heat gun

Firstly you should you follow the safety instruction that come with your heat gun.

Use the appropriate heat setting, nozzle or shield and scraper for the job you are doing. Gently heat the paint with the heat gun ensuring you keep it moving to avoid scorching or burning the wood. As the paint bubbles and blisters scrape it off with the scraper and if required go back over the area to remove further layers.

Be aware of any glass as heating the glass will cause it to crack or shatter.

Once the paint is removed you can sand the wood smooth with sandpaper and then paint or varnish as required.

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