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Repainting water-damaged interiors

Whether it comes from rain, floods or leaking pipes, water inside the home can cause widespread damage to walls and ceilings.

Once you have removed and replaced any soggy plaster and insulation, fixed leaks, cleaned gutters and allowed everything to dry out, how do you go about re-painting the interior?

In some cases it will be like painting a new home, particularly if soggy walls have been replaced with new plasterboard, skirting boards and architraves.

In other cases, there will be a mix of old and new materials. But even when some of the plasterboard interior walls may have been replaced, the remaining paintwork is likely to have mould growth and damage from the damp conditions.

The place to start is by thoroughly cleaning the surface of the existing walls. Unsightly marks from accumulated dust, dirt and grime can usually be removed with a solution of household detergent or sugar soap.

To kill off any mould or mildew, scrub the area with a solution consisting of one part household bleach to three parts water, allow to stand for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Be sure to protect your eyes, skin and clothes from any splashes of bleach that can cause irritation and burns.

The next step is to scrape any loose and peeling paint, fill cracks or small holes with a top-quality water-based sealant. Larger holes might need to be filled with plaster then sanded when dry to ensure a smooth, even base. Glossy surfaces should also be sanded. Then, before applying any paint, give everything a final dust-off.

The next step is to choose the right paint for the job.

Given there might be a mix of old and new, clean and stained surfaces, an initial coat of undercoat or sealer is recommended, to create a uniform surface and provide better adhesion for the topcoat.

If the surface is water stained, a shellac-based primer is best to completely seal back the stain, and to dry very quickly. A traditional oil-based undercoat will also seal water stains, but is slower to dry; and then there’s the odour! Alternatively, an acrylic stain-blocking primer can be used for minor water marks.

When it comes to the topcoat, a top-quality acrylic interior paint in flat, low sheen, semi-gloss or gloss finish will give you the best hiding power, stain resistance and scrub-ability.

Most prominent paint brands also offer products that are specially designed to protect interiors from mould and mildew.

The type of finish is up to you, although a low sheen or semi-gloss finish will usually offer better dirt and stain resistance than a flat finish.

On the other hand, in low traffic areas a flat finish is ideal for hiding irregularities in the surface and you will be able to touch up any marks or damage less noticeably than with a higher gloss paint.

Kitchens, bathrooms and laundries are wet areas that are subject to a higher degree of wear and tear from moisture and steam than other rooms in your home, so you need to choose top quality paints that have been specially formulated to resist the impact of water and steam.

For windowsills and skirting, look for water-based acrylic enamel. It is easy to apply, tough and has better resistance to mildew than traditional oil-based enamels, an important feature when painting wet areas such as a bathroom, kitchen or laundry.

Good quality paint costs a little more than so-called bargain paints, but you’ll actually save both time and money using quality paint, since it adheres to the surface better, hides imperfections in the surface and provides better scrub resistance and stain removability than economy paints.

About Adam Nobel

Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA

adam@hugoalexander.com.au

0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 20 years experience in property investment, and 14 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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