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Five decorating problems – and how to avoid them

Expert advice on how to cope with decorating challenges.

1) Avoid moldy walls Many homes can get damp in areas like basements, utility rooms and bathrooms but the good news is that with proper ventilation and dry conditions, you can stop mold growing in its tracks. The simplest thing you can do is turn on extractor fans or use de-humidifying units when cooking or bathing. If the problem persists, scrub with one of the following solutions: either 4:1 water/HTH (chlorine), or 4:1 water/JIK (sodium hypochlorite). Ensure that the areas are completely saturated, and allow the solution to react for a minimum of 4 hours. Rinse the complete wall surface thoroughly with clean water.

2) Avoid noticeable cracks and holes If your walls have any holes, it’s important that these are filled before you start painting. If there’s any dust inside a hole in your wall, brush it out and then apply an all-purpose filler using a knife or spatula. Wipe away any excess filler and smooth the surface with the blade. For deep holes, it’s best to wait for each layer of filler to dry before applying the next. For a really smooth finish, sand the area with a dry piece of sandpaper, then cover it with a layer of primer or a thinned coat of paint, and finally paint over the whole wall.

3) Avoid leaving roller marks The ideal roller for most jobs will have a medium ‘pile’ (thickness). Short piles don’t hold much paint, so you’ll have to keep re-applying, while long piles can trap too much paint and leave roller marks. If you can, avoid buying cheap foam rollers – these absorb more water than more expensive, quality rollers.

4) Avoid leaving brush strokes Synthetic bristle brushes work best on water-based paints, as they absorb less water, helping to eliminate heavy brush marks. If you’re painting a tight space, choose a brush with tapered bristles to help you get into corners and grooves with ease. If you’re using a brush to ‘cut in’, it’s best to choose an angled brush with one side longer than the other. For more advice on choosing a paint brush, read our guide to picking the right brush here.