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Exterior decorating – Level 2 NVQ painting and decorating Simon Verrall

Listed under Apprentice decorators seeking employer in Herts, bedec, Blog, paint Posted Feb 07 2014

Level 2 NVQ painting and decorating student, Simon Verrall is based in Hertfordshire. He is re-training and going through college with no employer to back him. He explains how he tackled an exterior decorating project on his own. It will be added to his portfolio, en route to gaining a recognised trade qualification .

Hard graft

failed paint rotten wo

paint stripped garage door

Reading this, I think you will agree that Simon’s article says:

“Here’s what I have done off my own back. I hope you can see I am a grafter and a keen student, hungry to learn about products and be the best. I would love a career in decorating.


• Remove failed exterior coating where applicable and make good prior to repainting with Sandtex brilliant white exterior paint

• Prepare exterior woodwork and make good where necessary and apply 2 – 3 coats Bedec MSP Satin, black.

• Prepare exterior metalwork to receive 2 – 3 coats Bedec MSP Satin, black

• Prepare exterior garage door and surrounding walls, additional door, and window frames, making good where necessary before applying 2 -3 coats of Bedec MSP Satin, black.

Note about the paint.

Bedec MSP and Bedec Barn Paint – I’ve never used the MSP before, so was excited to be getting the go ahead to use it on this job. I have to say, it was really impressive stuff! I would certainly look to use it again. I did use some of the Barn Paint too, but chose to stick with the MSP for the vast majority. Here is what I had to do though before breaking out the paint.

Bungalow needs work

Although it’s a bungalow, this property had a fair bit of work that needed doing, as the previous work had been done to a below standard level.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 10.56.57 Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 10.55.55

There was the main bungalow, the garage, and also a conservatory area. To go through the entire job would take forever, so I’ve narrowed it down to some basic information.

Masonry paint failing

Some of the previous exterior coating had failed in a few areas on the gable end, and had resulted in peeling. This was removed and everything taken back to a sound edge.

failed masonry paint

Everything was then given a wash down with a clean water and anti-fungicidal wash. Once that had been done and left to take effect, it was followed by a clean water rinse and left to dry thoroughly.

Rotten luck

There were also areas in the woodwork that had rotted and not been dealt with before by the previous decorator.

failed paint rotten woSadly, interior filler had been used on some of the external areas too, resulting in the filler getting and staying wet where the coating had failed. This contributed to some areas of wet rot which had to be rectified.

This was a problem in the facia boarding along the length of the garage, where some rotten wood had to be taken out before being repaired with ‘Wet Rot Wood Hardener’.

Once this had been left for the required time, the areas were filled with Décor-Fill and allowed to go off. Once the filler had dried, it was rubbed back and dusted off and cleaned with meths before applying the Bedec MSP.

The rest of the boarding was then rubbed down and filled as necessary, as above, and also the side door to the garage and the window frames were also treated to a sanding back and cleaning down.

Preparation complete – let’s paint

Woodwork was coated with three coats of Bedec MSP. The walls of the garage were also washed down the same as the previous walls, before applying the Sandtex. The before and afters can be seen here.

Bedec MSP on woodwork Sandtex on walls

Paint a metal Garage door

The front of the property was more of the same, washing and preparing the walls, but this time I had the added bonus of my first garage door! Sadly the previous paint coating had failed here too.

failed paint on metal garage door

It was brittle, had areas where it had flaked and allowed water in, and was in a generally tatty state. I had the task of dry scraping the majority off… and it didn’t put up that much of a struggle. There were a few areas that needed burning off. My customer has cats and was worried about me using paint stripper, so the heat gun was the best option.

I stripped the garage door back to bare metal, and cleansed with meths to remove any residual grease, etc, before applying the first coat of Bedec MSP. I applied three coats with a Proform 2.5” oval to give it a good solid coverage and to ensure it was well protected.

Frontal assault

Continuing with the front of the property, there was a side access gate which was showing signs of flaking paint and many knots, which had seeped through the coating. I took the decision to heat gun off the entire gate and prepare from scratch.

I applied 2 coats of knotting solution to every knot, which resulted in the gate looking like it had contracted chicken pox! However, I wanted it to be as protected as possible to prevent them from seeping again.

burn off seal knots

Once this had been done I applied a coat of Bedec black Satin barn paint – which is what I was originally going to use for the exterior woodwork. The knotting solution showed through the first coat – as I expected. As I’d already used the MSP on the garage, I decided to finish the gate off with it too. I gently rubbed down the gate before applying three coats, and after I’d finished, looked as good as new!

Job done

All in all, despite the frustrating hidden treasures of the interior filler being used outside, and the general lack of preparation from the previous decorator, I really enjoyed this job, and was happy with the results. The homeowners were really pleased with the results too – an actual “wow” passed their lips when they saw the garage door and commented that it looked like a brand new one! Makes all the blood, sweat, and being close to tears all worth it!

bungalow in Hertfordshire finished

Note to all

This post was an entry to the Win an Erecta Rack competition we ran, encouraging Level 1 and 2 NVQ apprentices to get their experiences blogged and out there online, as part of their job hunt.

Despite support from MyPaintbrush, Erecta Rack and Owatrol, and not a little effort from Traditional Painter, the only student in the UK to “get it” was Simon.

What prompted the idea of blogs for job hunting:

– Personal experience: Traditional Painters blog and professional opportunities have increased considerably as a result.

– I received 120 job applications for one position for an apprentice. It was soul destroying reading page after page of soul-less information.

The reality is, the usual sending out of CVs and cold calling local decorators is not the be all and end all of getting a start in the decorating trade. Decorators are moving online at an increasing rate, so, trainees looking for work, why not put yourself in front of where potential employers are going most evenings? And give potential employers more to go on than a cooky cutter job app, give them an article explaining what you do.

If you have a trainee decorating position open in St Albans area, Simon’s a good ‘un to contact 🙂

And if you are a level 1 or 2 NVQ trainee with no employer, why not try this blogging approach? We are happy to give you a platform. Take time out to assemble some photos of a task or a redecorating job, write what you did, what you learnt, what you will do different next time. That’s it. I will do the rest.

Just this once, don’t take any notice of peers who say it is a waste of time. Why do you want to do that…? Putting a blog post together could change your prospects rapidly. Why? Because most other decorating apprentices in the land are not thinking like this!

Or go on forums and ask some questions before you do a job. Being keen goes a long way. Enthusiasm and hunger to learn is gold dust to a decorator looking for a trainee.

Please share this article and I welcome any feedback and thoughts on this important topic.

We appreciate you taking the time to read this.

Please share it on Twitter, Facebook, or print it out for reference. Thanks.

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2 comments to “Exterior decorating – Level 2 NVQ painting and decorating Simon Verrall”

  1. M Dunn Decorating martin dunn

    Good stuff!
    How I would have wished for trainees to have given me evidence like that when I was assessing NVQ’S.

    Simon, are you enrolled on an NVQ or a full time diploma at college? If you are on an NVQ without an employer, I would imagine you have classed yourself as self employed and paid for the qualification out of your own pocket?
    If you have, again I take my hat of to you?

    Again if you are doing an NVQ, what has your assessor asked you for in the way of evidence and do they actually come out on site and assess your work?
    I did the job for a good while and if I can help you out in any way with NVQ requirements ect, just ask.

    Now I have a question for you and you can teach me something.

    I haven’t used Bedec products and to be honest I have never been a fan of one tin does everything products – but if it works, it works.
    You have a galvanised garage door to paint which by the look of it you apply Bedec straight on after prep.
    Does the Bedec need no primer?
    I appreciate the Galvanise should be weathered and would not need a T Wash (never hurts though IMO)but do you not need any sort of primer with Bedec?

    This is a genuine question from someone who would still be using calcium plumbate on everything if I could me hands on some!

    As I said though, great advert for your services.

    Good luck. Mart

  2. Sise75

    Hi Martin

    I finished my level 2 diploma last year and will eventually upgrade that to the NVQ qualification when I’ve been able to put everything together. That will include providing written evidence of most tasks with photographic evidence too, and yes, it will also include an on-site visit from the tutor to assess me in the work environment. I do need to get in touch with him to make sure the information I was given last year is still relevant or not. I really appreciate the offer of help, thank you!

    Yes, this was self-funded for the most part with some help (and patience!) from family. Luckily the first year fees were waivered as I hadn’t got an equivalent qualification in the past, so that was a help! It wasn’t easy, but I figured that to do something like this, it’s best to get some formal qualifications as I had never had the chance to shadow anyone in the trade beforehand. As weird as it was going back into education later in life, it was actually an enjoyable experience! We were lucky to have good tutors. I’m registered as Self-Employed in the Construction Industry Scheme.

    Regarding the Bedec.. no, no primer needed. I consulted their information sheets and asked someone I know who works for one of the main decorating supply chains, and as long as the preparation is done correctly, no undercoat or primer is required.

    Shiny surfaces need to be keyed, and of course, any loose material removed and the surface degreased/dust free. On porous surfaces Bedec recommend thinning the first coat 20-30%. But other than that, it’s a bit of a ‘wonder paint’. It goes on nicely, and looks fab. I used a wire wool & methylated spirit combo to clean down after taking off the previous failed coating. Bedec MSP can also be used on many surfaces including plastic guttering (of which I did a little test area at the back of the property, just out of interest!). If you get the opportunity of some samples, you should grab them and give it a go!

    There are a couple of areas that have received some minor scratches which are the garage door lock and the porch lock area. This is basically due to keys crashing into the area.. similar to how car door locks can receive wear and tear from bunches of keys too. However they did touch up nicely.

    Thanks again for your feedback, it’s all helpful and appreciated. Always learning!


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