Bedroom Redecoration by Level 2 student Hertfordshire
As part of our Apprentice Corner initiative, this is Simon Verrall’s account of a bedroom redecoration.
Simon is based in Hertfordshire, he has completed Level 1 & 2 National Diploma in Painting and Decorating, finding his own work, reading blogs and researching online. He is planning to go for Level 3, and continue his apprenticeship full time with a professional decorating company willing to take him on.
Specification for Bedroom Redecoration, Private Residence.
· Remove old woodchip wall covering
· Prepare walls for lining with 800 grade lining paper
· Prepare Woodwork for repair & re-paint with W/B undercoat & white eggshell topcoat
· Line Walls & apply two coats of matt emulsion
· Ceiling: N/A (already done as insulation recently added prior to redecoration)
Evaluating the job
Although I know the owners of the property, and have been in this room previously, I was unexpectedly asked to redecorate it after I had visited. I didn’t get the chance to do a proper evaluation of the room. Plus it was fully furnished with large, heavy furniture, which was hiding a lot of problem areas, most of which were soon to appear.
Day one on job
The room had been emptied before I arrived, and the first thing I noticed when I walked in was an area where a TV wall bracket had been, and the holes where the screws etc. had been in the wall.
The wall was exposed from woodchip (I believe it came away with the bracket which had been removed before my arrival), so I started examining the area to gauge what repair steps would be necessary to clean up, prepare, fill, and skim.
I noticed there was some loose plaster that was coming away from the wall, which I tried to take back to a sound edge for skimming with Toupret. I couldn’t get enough of a sound edge however, and upon further inspection I soon realised that the plaster beneath the woodchip wasn’t looking good at all. In the end, after inspecting the remaining walls, I resigned myself to using a steam stripper to deliberately blow the unstable plaster on the entire room. Not something I was expecting!
The picture below highlights the failed plaster and how easily it came away.
Now I was in uncertain territory. Although I’d dealt with steam strippers and blown plaster before, it was on a much smaller scale and the repairs had thankfully been easy and successful. This however would need a little more work.
I ended up going to the shops and bought myself a set of basic plastering trowels, PVA for the chalky/unstable walls, and some Gyproc Easi-Fill, which was recommended to me as a suitable product for this type of ‘emergency’. The PVA bonding coat was straightforward enough, but the Easi-Fill was something I’d never used before, and I’d certainly never plastered!
After a little head scratching, searching YouTube tutorials, and a small dose of anxiety, I set about applying the Easi-Fill by trowel. It’s not easy at first, but soon becomes something you get used to with respect to how to hold the trowel etc. There is certainly an art to plastering, and it’s one I’d like to learn how to do properly one day!
Once the Easi-Fill coat had dried it was time to sand it down. Sadly, this was before I had the luxury of a Mirka Ceros & Extraction unit, so it was the pole sander and aluminium oxide for me! Although I had a Mirka handy with a Henry vacuum cleaner, I didn’t think it was adequate enough for this scale of job. Picture below shows the walls after Easi-Fill skim coat, and during the sanding down.
Once the dust had settled overnight, the clean-up began. The walls were wiped down with a very lightly wetted cloth, and vacuumed after with the attachments. Next was the woodwork, which sadly was also not in the best condition.
The previous owners had painted quickly in a bid to freshen up for sale, and that meant the paint was effectively dead. The paint coating just splintered off the skirting boards. The fact they painted over some sort of stain without preparation of any sort didn’t help. The paint on the window frame, door frame, and skirting all ended up having to be scraped off back to basics.
Once filled, I applied a coat of Zinsser BIN to the woodwork. This provided a primer for the undercoat as well as a stain block to hide the dark wood of the frames.
Once the BIN had been applied and allowed to dry, I again lightly dusted/vacuumed the walls to remove any remaining surface dust before starting the job of applying the lining paper.
Happily, I’d already invested in the Olfa Tools MT-1/WP wall paper trimming knife and the Axus Décor wallpaper scissors, which make cutting lengths, and trimming edges a lot easier as they are razor sharp! I’m not a fan of hanging paper at all, I’ll be honest and say it’s probably one of my weaker areas, and which I’m keen to improve on and gain more confidence in. However, having the right tools and equipment does help! Below is a shot of the room after the lining had been completed.
Once the lining was done, I used fine surface filler on a couple of joins in the paper which were visible, and once dry, rubbed it back very carefully with Abranet P400 by hand. I then got busy with the caulk. Skirting, coving, door frame, window frame, it all got a nice clean bead of caulk to finish off and enhance the finish.
I’d seen and spoken to Newlife Paints quite a lot on Twitter and was keen to try their products. They were extremely helpful and promptly sent me information and colour cards. Two colours were chosen for this room; Apple Sorbet for the three main walls, and Sea Grass for the smaller wall as a feature.
The paint was lovely to apply, I used a 2.5” Proform Oval to cut in, and a 9” Wooster Pro-Doo-Z, 3/8” nap roller sleeve on the Wooster Sherlock roller frame. Two coats had the room looking really nice!
The woodwork paint was sourced by the customer before I arrived; they had been shopping and picked it up. B&Q water based undercoat and water based eggshell. To be fair though, it went on well and two undercoats followed by two coats of eggshell (with a gentle rub down between coats with Abranet P400 on the Mirka Handy), and the woodwork was looking good again.
I’ve been back recently and the room still looks like the day it was done, I’m really pleased with it, and more importantly, so are the owners!
This is us doing our bit to support the next generation coming through into decorating. The blogs we publish here are all the students’ own work, just edited for flow.
Primarily we hope that blogging will do for apprentices what it does for professionals who blog regularly – it opens doors and generates opportunities.
The students who submit blogs, are demonstrating their potential. Many of them will not have a full time job or a mentor to learn from outside the classroom, and need a professional firm to get them through NVQ level 3.
We invite comments below from pros who can give the apprentices some pointers on how certain aspects could be done better next time.
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