How to preserve and prolong the life of your paintwork


Extending the life of your interior paintwork

The answer lies in allowing the paint to cure properly in the first place, then of course knowing the correct techniques to apply to remove direct, grease, mould etc. without marring the paint’s surface.

Allowing the paint to cure

If you attempt to clean fresh paint film you will cause damage and by not allowing sufficient drying time may mean you will have to repaint the areas.

It is important to note that all water-based paints undergo a “drying process” which has two distinct phases, namely evaporation and coalescence.

The last hardening of a water-based paint will depend upon the last traces of the coalescent solvent leaving the paint film, which can take a week or two under normal conditions, namely air temperatures of 20ºC to 25ºC and 50% relative humidity. This is an estimate only due to the variable nature of atmospheric conditions and the difficulty in detecting the exact point at which the last remnants of solvent actually leave the paint film.

Ideally, you should avoid cleaning the paint finish until at least two weeks after applying the last coat of paint has been applied to allow adequate time for curing.



Test first!

However, before you attempt to clean a surface, test the method you intend to use first in area that is inconspicuous.  This way you can make sure your cleaning technique won’t affect the finish of the paint.

Cleaning ‘flat’ paintwork

Walls and ceilings can be made to look like new, if you follow these simple directions for the removal of dirt, scuff marks etc.

Don't use rough abrasives, stiff scrubbing brushes or harsh caustic preparations. These will 'gloss' or polish the surface resulting in obvious highlights, which can only be rectified by repainting. Instead, use warm water to which a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent. 

Apply the solution to the affected area with a soft cloth, or a soft bristle brush where the marking is particularly stubborn.

Having thoroughly cleaned the affected area, you should then do to wash down the wall or ceiling to cut any chance of patchiness.

Finally, rinse off the washed area with clean water and allow to dry.

Cleaning gloss/semi-gloss paintwork

In the service areas, such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchens, all surfaces are prone to a build-up of film composed of cooking fats, soap, household dust and so on.

In relatively short periods, this film will dull the most successful paintwork.

However, careful and periodic cleaning can greatly extend the life of your painted surfaces. Simply follow these easy directions.

  • Don't use abrasives or caustic-based cleaning compounds as these will scratch or eat into the paint surface you are doing your best to support.

  • Instead use warm water, with a little detergent added.

  • Apply to the affected area with a soft cloth and be sure to wash down the surface as well. Where necessary, use a soft bristle brush and a little more elbow grease than you might safely use on 'flat paintwork'.

  • Wash the area down with clean water and allow to dry.


Looking after exterior paintwork – commercial/multi-dwelling

Following a planned maintenance schedule for your building’s exterior will help reduce costly repairs.

By adopting an ongoing washing and maintenance program, you can help prolong the life of your paintwork and thus protect your investment.

You may find that painted surfaces may only need an annual clean, and certain surfaces may need painting before others.    In fact, certain building facades may deteriorate before others, so by planning a regular review of the ‘health’ of your building’s paintwork and tackling areas of a needs must basis, you will help keep up both the integrity and longevity of your painted surfaces.

We can check the requirements of your building and we are happy to tailor a maintenance program suited to your building’s individual needs.

A building wash can often be tackled via rope access, minimising these maintenance costs.

Looking after exterior paintwork – single dwellings

A good paint job will undoubtedly keep your home looking clean, extend the life of your paintwork and add dollars to its value.

Through periodic washing, you may see parts of the exterior (window frames, etc.), which could benefit from a little 'maintenance painting'. By touching up before the next overall paint job, you will be able to keep the amount of make-ready required for your next all-over painting job to the minimum.

You will also no doubt see that the paint finish on different walls of your home does not deteriorate at the same rate.  To make the painting of your home less of an onerous task therefore, why not follow this plan of attack.

Decide to paint one wall of your home per year in the order of surface deterioration. That is, paint the west wall in year one, north wall in year two, east wall in year three, and south wall in year four. By painting one side of your home each year before the surface coating breaks down, you will save a lot of work and unnecessary cost.