How to Paint

It’s easy to get the perfect painting result when you know what to do, so we’ve put together some helpful information to get you started. For more, just come in-store and get full expert advice from our friendly team.  


The key to a successful paint job is preparation. The better you prepare the surface, the more professional the finished job will look. So check your surface and deal with any problems before you even lift a paintbrush.

  • Remove any loose, peeling, cracking or flaking paint.
  • Use sandpaper to create a smooth surface.
  • Remove mould and mildew using a hot solution of Sugar Soap, then apply an anti-mould agent.
  • Fill and patch cracks and blemishes. Where there may be movement, always use a flexible filler, and apply it with a caulking gun for a smooth finish.
  • Gloss or semi-gloss surfaces must be sanded to roughen up the surface so the paint can grip it properly.
  • With wood, always sand in the direction of the grain. On plaster, start with medium grade sandpaper then finish with a fine grade.
  • Allow new concrete surfaces to cure for a minimum of 28 days. Wipe salty or lime build-up away. Check all surfaces and remove loose material with a wire brush. If the surface is powdery, porous or highly glazed you will need to apply a primer recommended for the material - ask at your Guthrie Bowron store.
  • Galvanised iron roofs, bare metal and spouting. Check your roof for soundness, and strip back old flaking layers of paint. Brush with a wire brush and spot prime any problem areas. Bare metal surfaces must be rust free and clean. Treat with a rust remover and wash down with clean water. Wash all metal or plastic spouting also.
  • Any bare timber which has been exposed to the weather for more than a month needs to be sanded back before painting. 


Check and make sure you've got all the tools you'll need.

  • Sharp paint scrapers
  • Wire brush
  • Sugar soap
  • Drop sheets
  • Fillers
  • Filling knife
  • Rollers and tray
  • Sandpaper, all grades
  • Caulking gun
  • Paint stripper
  • Masking tape
  • Quality paint brushes
  • Ladder or trestles
  • Turpentine


When selecting your type of paint, come in-store and talk to our paint experts, or use the guide below to get you started.


  • We would generally recommend the use of acrylics in exterior situations. As enamels age they become very brittle and chalky and therefore have a tendency to crack and flake off the surface. On the other hand, acrylics retain their colour better, do not chalk to any great extent and do not get brittle, giving a longer lasting, more durable paint finish.
  • Weatherboards: Gloss, or semi-gloss for long durability.

  • Woodwork: Enhance the natural timbers with a satin or semi-gloss finish.
  • Doors and windows: Traditionally gloss or semi-gloss enamel, but acrylic enamels are now popular. Ask our staff for more advice.

  • Galvanised iron roofs: Use a specialised water-based roof paint.

  • Fences: Low sheen water-based paint.


  • Ceilings: Use a flat acrylic finish. For rooms with an open fire, use satin for washability. Kitchens and bathrooms may need the durability of a semi-gloss.
  • Walls:Low sheen or matt finish.

  • Woodwork: Enhance the natural timbers with a satin or semi-gloss finish.

Which sheen?

  • Gloss: Shiny, durable - ideal in kitchens, bathrooms, house exteriors and high traffic areas. Withstands harsher cleaning.
  • Satin: Also called semi-gloss or low sheen. A hard working easy clean surface. Ideal for living room walls and woodwork.
  • Matte/Flat: Ideal for areas that require little ongoing cleaning. Perfect for ceilings and bedrooms.


  • Pre-paint coatings are essential if you want to achieve the best finish; without being sealed, primed or undercoated, your surfaces just will not look their best, or last as long.
  • As a general rule, bare timber must be primed.
  • As a general rule, new plasterboard must be sealed and bare timber primed.
  • The type of undercoat varies, depending on the surface. If you're not sure which sealer, primer or undercoat to use, have a chat with the friendly staff at your local store, who'll be happy to help.


Here are a few handy tips to help you get the best result. If you need more advice, just pop into your local Guthrie Bowron store for a chat with one of our paint experts.

  • The wall temperature must be above 10C  throughout the painting process. You should generally avoid painting in extremely hot or cold conditions. 
  • Check the guidelines on your cans for re-coating times. It’s important to follow these suggestions, taking into account the temperature, humidity and the type of paint you’re using. One heavier coat is not as good as two – it may not dry properly. Remember to never paint over an area that is partially dried. Leave runs and re-sand once dry.
  • Thoroughly mixing/stirring your paint is vital.

Work from the top down.

  • Exterior: Complete the roof, gutters, fascias and eaves, down to walls, doors, windows and baseboards.
  • Paint weatherboards in two stages for fast easy painting. Paint the underside first, then the face.
  • Interior: Work from the top down. Start with the ceiling and move down to walls, doors and windows.
  • Completely finish a wall before stopping and use natural breakpoints like a window frame.


  • Pre-moisten your brush with the right liquid - water for acrylics, turps for oil based paints.
  • To stop paint running down the brush handle, don't dip your brush more that 30mm into the paint can. Tap it to remove excess paint.
  • The bristles should flex only slightly as you brush - don't over press - let the paint flow from the brush.
  • If you are painting a large area by brush, apply paint to an area about 50 cm X 50 cm, then brush the paint in horizontal strokes to even the paint out and finish off with light vertical strokes all in one direction.
  • Never try to paint over an area that is partially dried, as the brush will leave marks in the surface. If you see a run in the wet paint, paint over it as soon as possible with light even strokes.
  • Store cleaned paint brushes by wrapping them in newspaper and storing them out of direct sunlight.



  • Choose a roller sleeve for the paint effect you require. Generally speaking, 6-8mm nap covers are used for gloss and semi gloss paints, 10-12mm nap covers for low sheen and flat paints on walls and 20-32mm nap covers for most paints on rough surfaces like concrete or textured walls.
  • Use zigzag strokes - rolling upwards on the first stroke, then even out with parallel strokes. Wrap the roller in cling wrap if you take a break.
  • To avoid paint splatter, don't overload the roller with paint.
Eliminate the 'orange peel' effect with rollers by using a short mohair 8mm pile over. Store roller covers upright, so you don't flatten the pile.

  • If you are using a brush and roller, paint the edges of the area first.



  • If you are planning to continue the work the next day, just keep the paint, brush and/or roller in the paint tray and cover with foil or cling wrap. The next morning, run the brush or roller over a newspaper a few times and it will be ready to use.
  • After the job is completed wash the rollers and brushes and paint tray with water for water-based paints or mineral turps for solvent-based paints. Do not use a spinning tool to clean brushes, as this will make your brush flare. Wrap the clean brushes and rollers with newspaper and secure with a rubber band. Store the brushes flat or hang them on hooks.
    Excess paint can be stored in the can.
  • Never dispose of unwanted paint by pouring it down household or stormwater drains.  Any water-based paints or water from cleanup, which is unsuitable for further use, can be mixed with shredded paper, cat litter, mulch or other absorbent material and allowed to dry before disposal via the household rubbish collection.  Any solvent-based paints or cleanup solvent should be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility for safe disposal.  Check with your local council for advice on where the nearest depot is in your area.


With the right preparation and the right products, your painting project should be trouble-free. To identify problems with an existing paint job, including the potential causes and solutions, download our Common paint problems pdf