From fighting mold and filling holes to choosing paintbrushes, here are our expert tips on how to avoid the most common decorating problems.
How to avoid common decorating problems

Five decorating problems – and how to avoid them

Expert advice on how to cope with decorating challenges.

1) Avoid mouldy 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 mould from growing. The simplest thing you can do is to turn on extractor fans or use de-humidifying units when cooking or bathing. If the problem persists, you could try spraying mould killer or fungicidal solution on the wall – you can buy this from most supermarkets and hardware stores. For best results, follow the directions on the packaging.

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 [local markets: please insert relevant product here] 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, before finally painting over the whole wall.

3) Avoid uneven surfaces If your walls are very uneven with lots of holes or bumps, you may find it helpful to apply lining paper first, and then paint over that. Lining paper can be found in good hardware stores – but if you’re a little unsure about DIY, we recommend hiring a decorator for this job. This is a process that they normally do in horizontal strips – known as ‘cross-lining’.

4) Avoid leaving roller marks The ideal roller for most jobs will have a medium ‘pile’ (thickness). Short piles do not 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 as these absorb more water than the quality rollers, which are more expensive.

5) Avoid leaving brush strokes Synthetic bristle brushes work best on water-based paints, as they absorb less water, which helps 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.] (

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