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Family Owned and Independent Paint & Decorative Coating Supplier
Family Owned and Independent Paint & Decorative Coating Supplier



This is a question we often ask our customers  but how do you tell if your existing paint is oil- or water-based, and why is it important? Well if you want your paint to stick, it’s important to know! A water based paint applied directly to an oil based paint will simply scratch off, as there is nothing for the acrylic paint to hold on to.

So how do you tell if the existing paint is water- or oil-based? Apply methylated spirit to a rag and rub the paint surface vigorously. A water based paint will leave a residue on the rag – using a rag which contrasts in colour to the paint will make it easier to see the results. An oil based paint will not be removed.

If the coating turns out to be oil-based then a primer is required to enable a water-based paint to adhere successfully.


Most professional painters will paint door frames and trims first, then the ceiling, and finally the walls. There are couple of reasons why they find this a more efficient way to work.

Painting the trims first eliminates the worry of splatters or hand slips spoiling the newly painted walls. Once dried, it is easier and faster to mask the trims than the walls, plus masking tape can be removed more successfully from trim paint than wall paint.

Once the trims are masked, start by painting the ceiling first, so that any ceiling paint splatters on the walls will be covered when you paint them last. Paint ceiling roses and coving (if applicable) after the ceiling has been painted. Finally, paint the walls or hang new wallcoverings.


For new weatherboards, you'll need to seal the surface with an acrylic primer undercoat and apply two coats of an acrylic paint. Consider the sheen level used  most paint is manufactured in a range of sheen levels which generally include gloss, semi-gloss and low sheen. Paint with a higher gloss level is more durable and easier to clean, whilst a lower sheen will hide imperfections.

For older weatherboard buildings, check for any boards that might need replacing or may need treating with a timber preservative. Cedar weatherboards and some older wood surfaces require an oil based wood primer  this will block any oils bleeding through the top coat and assist with adhesion. Lower sheen levels tend to suit older weatherboards, unless the weatherboards are in exceptional condition.

Painting older weatherboards can be problematic, and is often most successful when the original paint coatings are scraped and stripped back. If this not possible, ensure the colour of the new top coat is as close to the original colour as possible  this can avoid bubbling and blistering of the coating through heat absorption.

If you contact our Mainland team we can figure out the specific needs of your project, and make a comprehensive recommendation of the best solution for your project.

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