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A new look for the new year

Deciding to paint your home is a huge decision. Not knowing where to start and the thought of turning your household into, what may seem like a construction site for a period of time, may put you off. However, whether it is painting the exterior or interior to freshen up a room, the rewards of a newly painted home are endless.

“Your home is the biggest and most important investment you’ll make; hence homeowners are taking no chances when it comes to maximizing the value of their property. When the time comes to sell, a beautiful, well-maintained home can offer many benefits that resonate with buyers” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Should you be thinking of undertaking a paint project we have made it a little easier to get you started with some helpful tips from Dulux.


1. Remove furniture to avoid ruining wood and upholstery with spilled or splattered paint. Consider renting a temporary storage unit or putting items away in the garage while you work. Alternatively put all items in the center of the room, and cover them with plastic.

2. Protect your flooring with professional-style drop cloths throughout the room. Plastic sheeting is cheaper, but it’s easily punctured and can shift under your feet while you work, exposing areas of flooring. A heavy canvas drop cloth or a professional grade butyl-backed cloth protect against spills and also help keep paint from being tracked through the rest of your house. 

3. Remove wall hangings, it is the perfect time to give the entire room a face-lift. If there is any chance that you might want to reconfigure your pictures and clocks when you re-hang them, remove nails and picture hangers and fill in the holes with crack filler before you paint. Be sure to let the crack filler dry before covering.

4. Clean the walls to be painted to assure you of a smooth, professional-looking result. Dark smudges can show through a coat of paint, and oil or other substances on the wall can change the consistency of the paint being applied. Clean all walls with a solution of water and mild detergent. For tough stains or smudges, like kitchen grease or grime stains, professionals rely on trisodium phosphate. Mixed with bleach, trisodium phosphate can also remove mildew and mildew stains before you paint. Be sure to rinse the walls thoroughly when you’re finished and leave them plenty of time to dry before you get to work. 

-      Exterior - to remove flaking paint, chalkiness, as well as dirt and debris, clean exterior walls by high-pressure water blast, using a rotating nozzle at a pressure of 150 to 180 Bar. Remove any remaining loose, flaking paint from the surface with a sharp paint scraper and firm hand pressure. It is not necessary to remove well-bonded layers of paint.

-      Interior - wash interior wall surfaces with a solution of pre-paint sugar soap powder. This will ensure that any dirt and grease on the surface, as well as chalked paint, has been removed. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

5. Don’t paint over problem walls. If your walls have holes or cracks, fix them before you start with the paint. Geo-paint advises that wide cracks and large holes can be “bridged” with fiberglass tape, spackle will fill small holes and cracks, and texturizing products are available to match your existing wall finish. 

-      Dampness and moisture in walls - the most damage to paint systems, and eventually to the substrate and the structure, is caused by excessive moisture in the walls. Prior to painting, the building needs to be inspected for all signs of dampness. Tell-tale signs of dampness are the deposition of salts on the surface, flaking paint, water staining and discoloration. Repair and seal any area of water ingress from roofs, balconies, horizontal or sloping wall tops, joints between windows and plaster reveals with Dulux Rainshield.

-      Cracking - cracking in walls can have numerous causes, but one of the main causes is the settlement of the building in combination with inferior plaster mix, and the presence of moisture and dampness. It is important to assess the cracking and ensure that it is not interfering with the structure of the building.

6. Remove outlet covers and switch plates. Childproof plastic outlet covers can help protect wall sockets from paint while you work. If you’re going to paint the ceiling of the room, don’t forget to remove light fixtures and ceiling medallions whenever possible.

7. Tape off all your baseboards and windowsills before you start. invest in professional painter’s tape, available at most hardware stores and paint suppliers. Taping is simple, but time consuming. Doing it right, though, makes for truly professional-looking results. Be sure that none of your tape is on the wall to be painted, or your old wall color will be playing peek-a-boo around the perimeter of your room. You can also use painters tape to tape out patterns or color blocks on your wall.

8. Set up a staging area in the center of the room or just outside it for pouring paint, storing open paint cans, and cleaning brushes and rollers. This will cut down on spills and accidents, or at least keep them contained to one designated area. 

Best paints to use for the longest lifespan

The type of paint will make a difference and so will the manufacturer. When you use higher quality paint, you’ll notice that you use less paint to get a great result. Paint coatings are composed of different chemicals, which combine synergistically to provide the paint with its properties. In order to derive the optimum paint properties and maximize the longevity of the coatings, it is of paramount importance that the paint coating is applied using best painting practices and according to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is essential that the substrate to which the paint coating is applied is free of defects that will affect the adhesion of the coating system. Adhesion to the substrate is the key to coating longevity. The secret of a perfect, long-lasting paint finish is a sound, clean and dry substrate, and the correct use of products.

Painting tools needed:

•         Step ladders and extension ladders – to help you reach elevated areas

•         Paint scraper – to remove loose or peeling paint from wood, plaster, and other surfaces

•         Triangular-load scraper – to remove paint in small or tight areas

•         Steel wool – to remove corrosion from metal surfaces

•         Wire brush – to remove efflorescence and loose material from masonry, or to remove loose, flaking paint

•         Putty knife – to scrape away loose paint, or to apply filler

•         Glazing compound – to replace cracked, broken, or missing panes of glass

•         Spackling paste – to fill nail holes and small imperfections in walls

•         Sandpaper (various grits) – to smooth and feather previously painted surfaces, or to roughen glossy surfaces so paint will adhere better

•         Sanding block – to hold sandpaper and help you sand surfaces to an even finish

•         Caulking gun and tubes of caulk – to apply caulk to cracks in walls, gaps, and seams in woodwork

•         Masking tape – to protect window panes and trim from paint

•         Paint guide – to protect carpets and walls when painting baseboards and other trim

•         Roller tray and grid – to load rollers with paint

•         Brush comb – to clean paint brushes

•         Paint pail – to mix paint and carry it to the worksite

•         Drop cloths – to protect furniture, floors, and shrubbery from paint

Getting started

Step 1 - Choose a colour

Choosing a colour is the hardest part:

•         If you really don’t have any idea about what colour to paint try pulling a colour out of a piece of art or area rug that’s in the room. It’s a guaranteed way to find a complimentary colour.

•         Take home several paint chips and see how they look in the room. Hold them up to the furniture, floors, artwork, cabinets, and anything else that’s already in the room. Try to narrow it down to three or four choices.

•         Get a small sample pot of each colour and paint a large square on the wall.

•         Also try using the Dulux visualizer app which is a tool that allows you to test colour on the wall without having to waste any paint.

•         Almost all of the brands now have testers available. It is well worth spending the money to buy a few to test in your space before purchasing litres of the colour. Plus the leftover samples are great for other small painting projects.

•         Leave the test areas up for about a week so that you can see what the colour will look at different times of day and in different light.

Step 2 - Choose a finish

Once you’ve chosen a paint colour and design, you’ll need to decide on a finish.

  • Flat (matte): No shine at all. Perfect for low traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms, as well as ceilings.
  • Flat enamel: Has almost no shine but is a bit easier to clean than flat paint. This is also perfect for low traffic areas but may be a better choice if you have kids or pets.
  • Eggshell enamel: Has a tiny bit of shine and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas such as living rooms and most scuffs can be wiped off of this surface with a damp cloth.
  • Satin enamel: Has a bit more shine and works well in high traffic areas or areas that have moisture.  It is also super wipe able which is why it is perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Semi-Gloss enamel: Shiny but not glass-like. This is what you should use on cabinets and trim, or in really high moisture areas.
  • Hi-Gloss enamel: Shiny! This gives an almost glass-like finish and is perfect for high use surfaces (like a railing) or furniture.

Step 3 - Determine the amount of paint needed

Many of the larger brands have paint calculators on their websites to help you with this sum, but if you wish to do it manually, here is how:

1.    First, assess the size of the area that you’re painting. Measure the width and height of walls with a metal tape measure and multiply these together to calculate the overall square metre measurement.
2.    Subtract the space used by windows and doors using the same calculation method as above, and remove these from your overall square metre measurement.
3.    Multiply your new total square metre measurement by the number of coats you’ll need – its recommend factoring in at least two coats. It's also worth including a little extra paint for touch ups.
4.    Finally, divide this total figure by the m²/l number on your paint tin. This will give you the total litres of paint you need for your project.

Step 4 - Get painting

Always start painting from the highest area to the lowest. Start with the ceiling or top of the walls and work your way down. This way you can catch any drips and it won’t ruin a freshly painted wall. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to put too much paint on the brush or roller. It’s far more effective to put a small amount on and use even strokes to apply thin coats. It’s tempting to slather on a lot of paint in the hopes of not having to do another coat, but the end result won’t be what you wanted.

“Even if you are not putting your home on the market yet, a fresh coat of paint will allow you to enjoy that new look whilst ensuring your home is market-ready for when you do decide to sell” Craig noted. “So why not explore your options and do a few calculations, you might be surprised how far this low-cost renovation might take you.”

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner South Africa
  • 1st Floor, Needwood House, Broadacres Shopping Centre, Cedar Avenue, Fourways, Johannesburg
    2055 South Africa
    South Africa

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