We all have a favourite wooden piece that has seen better days. It just  takes a little ingenuity and trust to give it new life with paint. <em>*Photo supplied</em>
We all have a favourite wooden piece that has seen better days. It just takes a little ingenuity and trust to give it new life with paint. *Photo supplied
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Painting walls is one thing, but there are a few different measures you should take to ensure that your furniture-painting project is successful.

We all have a favourite wooden piece that has seen better days. It just takes a little ingenuity and trust to give it new life with paint.

It is best to prime all painting surfaces to prevent stains from bleeding through the new paint.

Primer must match the type of paint you have chosen.

It’s best to use a satin or semi-gloss finish in a latex paint. White oil-based paints yellow and are now being faded out as they are not environmentally-friendly.

In contrast, latex paint goes on easily and blocks most stains.

When you’re painting, start at the top and work down, smoothing paint drips as you work downward.

Old furniture comes with many defects which time has added to its finish.

Personally, that is what I love about it. 

If I wanted something to look new, I’d buy a brand new piece. I want my antiques to keep their flavour. 

So, I don’t want to sand away any alligatoring of the old varnish, or any other interesting bits on it.

Bonding spray

By using a bonding spray, you don’t need to sand or strip the furniture, and you preserve those crackly spots in the varnish.

This bonding primer covers the old varnish but doesn’t change the look of the finish underneath. No sanding and no stripping. Who wants to work that hard anyway? 

Primer must not be left without a top coat.

But, who says you have to use just plain paint over it?

You can use water-based glaze, which is mixed with latex paint. It covers the primer just like paint would, but is semi-transparent, depending upon how much colour you add.

You can also use two-ounce craft bottles of acrylic paint, and there are lots of colour choices.

But you have to remember that the glaze will dry clear. So the colour of the small acrylic craft paint you choose is what you end up with, not the milky version it is while still wet.

To finish it off, spray a can of satin finish clear coat over the project to seal it. 

Tips to remember — only use bonding primer. Be sure the label says something like ‘Will stick to glossy surfaces’. 

If I am brushing on primer instead, I use ‘The Gripper’ by Glidden, which you can get at Pembroke Paint.

Have fun and don’t be scared of using fun colours that you love, as 2012 is all about colour.

Remember, paint is the least expensive décor product out there. It is the time and love you put into your piece that makes it something to be proud of.

Ceilings and walls

When your ceilings and walls start to crack or the plaster opens up, it is important to check to see if the crack goes all the way to the exterior of the wall.

If it does not it’s probably just a settling crack and most times can be repaired with a light skim coat and paint.

If it is more severe and the crack goes through the entire block and plaster both sides, a contractor may need to open the outside crack and stitch it by placing rebar pieces in the wall and re-plastering.

This typically can happen to older Bermuda stone walls and is an adequate way of addressing dampness as well.

You can knock on the wall at the crack and if it sounds hollow then the plaster has lifted and the crack is more severe.

If your ceiling is starting to split at the tray or wall area, the same applies.

A gentle application of mud should work but could also be caused by shrinking and will require repair by a finisher.

If you find that an older ceiling is cracking somewhere in the centre then look in the attic to determine if there is any ceiling timber that has warped and is pressing on the plaster board.

A removal of the timber and replacement may be required.

Many older homes which have been constructed from plaster and lathe may require a full demolition and rebuild if the ceiling starts to go.

If the ceiling has dropped but has stabilized and you cannot afford to replace it, then crown moulding works wonderfully in hiding the problem.

Michele Smith is the managing director of OBM International, Woodbourne Hall, 1 Gorham Road, Hamilton, Bermuda. Contact 278-3550 or go to www.obmi.com.