Help and Advice


Bubbles, which look like blisters, sometimes form on the paint film.

Blocking occurs when two painted surfaces stick when pressed together

Burnishing occurs when paint film gloss, or sheen, increases when subjected to rubbing or brushing.

Caulk may lose its initial adhesion and flexibility, causing it to crack or pull away from surfaces.

Dry paint sometimes cracks or flakes through at least one coat due to aging.

Foaming and cratering occur when bubbles (“foaming”) form during paint application.

Lap marks cause the appearance of a denser colour.

Mildew can appear on the surface of paint or caulk as black, gray, or brown spots or areas.

Mud cracking results in deep, irregular cracks that resemble dried mud on the dry paint film.

Picture framing occurs when corners or edges appear darker than the rest of the wall.

Poor paint flow and leveling occur when the paint fails to dry into a smooth film.

The tendency of paint film to take on the imprint of an object that is placed on it.

Poor scrub resistance is indicated by the wearing away, or removal, of the paint film when scrubbed.

Poor sheen uniformity, or “flashing”, leads to shiny, or dull, spots on a painted surface.

Paints with low stain resistance fail to resist the absorption of dirt and stains.

“stipple” are unintentional textured patterns left on the paint film by the paint roller.

  Information courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Health and Safety

Using Protective Equipment
The basic gear you need for a safe DIY paint job are: gloves, safety glasses or goggles, a dust-mask for sanding, and sensible shoes with a good grip.

Skin protection:

  • Wear the appropriate gloves: cloth or leather gloves for sanding and scraping, impermeable gloves for applying water-based paint, solvent-resistant chemical gloves for handling solvent-based products.

Eye protection:

  • Use eye goggles or glasses, or a face mask.

Lung Protection:

  • Wear an anti-dust mask whilst sanding a surface or a solvent-respirator if working with solvent-based products.
  • Ensure good ventilation with open windows and doors.
  • Remove sources of ignition.

Handling Solvent-based Products

All organic-based solvents – including white spirit, solvent-based paints, solvent-based thinners and primers, solvent-based wood treatment products as well as paint strippers – represent potential health hazards, and require that particular precaution be taken both in use and in storage.

Here are some tips:

  • Read the label carefully for information on safety and health-related issues.
  • Solvents are highly flammable – keep these paints away from all sources of heat, and never expose directly to an open flame.
  • Store in cool, well-ventilated areas.
  • Keep these products out of reach of pets and children.
  • Dispose of rags properly – rags soaked with oil-based materials can ignite spontaneously if not spread out to dry.
  • Ensure good ventilation with open windows and doors.
  • Wear protective equipment.
  • Keep children and pets out of the painted area.

Water-based paints: a viable alternative to solvent based paint:
To a large extent, water-based paints pose fewer risks and health hazards than solvent phase paints. Modern, high quality water-based paints offer an excellent performance profile – superior durability and colour retention, excellent washability, for example. They are also more convenient to use – low in odour, they dry quickly, and brushes can be cleaned with warm, soapy water, with no need for white spirit or turpentine. And of course they are more environmentally-friendly.

Using Step-Ladders Safely
Step ladders are very often both a central part of a paint job, but also a key danger area. Here are some tips on how to minimise the likelihood of a ladder-related accident:

Inspect the ladder:

  • Take time to check the condition of the ladder both before and after use.
  • Check that the ladder is sufficiently robust to support your weight.
  • Make sure the steps are free of oil, wet paint, mud, or any other potentially slippery substance.

Erecting the ladder:

  • Clear the area around the ladder from any clutter. Make sure that no electrical cords or wire leads are close.
  • If the ladder needs to be in front of a door, consider locking the door to prevent surprise openings.
  • If the ladder is in a high-traffic area, draw attention to this fact in the house – a hand-written sign would do.
  • Make sure the floor is even and stable. Avoid wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Always support the ladder at four points

Climbing the ladder:

  • Wear suitable shoes – no heels, barefoot is not good, nor are most sandals.
  • Never climb onto wet or slippery steps, make sure they are dry.
  • Never overstretch – do not climb beyond the last three steps of a ladder.
  • Keep your shoulders between the rails and don’t over-reach – move the ladder instead.
  • Always keep 3 point contact with the ladder.
  • If your ceilings are high, but your ladder too small, don’t try to overreach yourself – renting or borrowing a suitable ladder is much safer.
  • Don’t let your children climb up the ladder: prevent access at the end of the day if you have to, or fold it up after use.
  • Be prepared for an unforeseen vertigo attack – don’t look down, breath slowly
    and steadily, and go back down step by step.

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