Problem Solvers - Bursting with Scores of hard to come by maintenance tips! That Magic Ingredient  The MUST have for every DIY enthusiast!  Probably The Most Amazing Property Maintenance Product Ever Found In A Can! 74 Little Known Secret Solutions To Your Most Costly, Frustrating Home Painting & Maintenance Headaches
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    When it comes to painting Kitchen Cabinet Doors, Sliding Mirror Doors, Direct looking Kitchen Units then we have you covered.

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    FAQ's

    Can I paint a uPVC door and frame which has a grained wood effect?

    Yes, assuming the grained effect is part of the original door finish and not painted on. If the surface is
    sound, i.e. not flaky or rough but smooth and flat, you can repaint the door and frame by priming first with ESP followed by two coats of oil based gloss with Owatrol oil added in to both coats. About 20% in first coat and 10 to 15% (just enough to make it “flow nicely”) to your second coat for a superb finish. ESP & Owatrol are available on our website and most good paint outlets.

    I have foil wrapped kitchen doors. Is it possible to successfully paint them, if so, can you please advise?

    No problem. All you need is paint; probably an oil based gloss or satin, a tin of ESP primer for shiny surfaces, a few cotton cloths and a small tin of Owatrol oil. Shiny or smooth surfaces like the one you describe used to be a no go before magic ESP came along a few years ago. All you need to do is wash the doors with something like Sugar soap and rinse with clean water. When dry, wipe on your ESP with a clean, lint-free cloth, Wait at least two hours at normal room temperature and then you are ready to apply your paint. I would suggest applying two coats of your gloss with about 20% of Owatrol oil mixed in well. The Owatrol will have the effect of making the paint flow out lovely and smooth with no brush marks or streaks and it will also greatly aid paint adhesion on the doors. If you choose a weak hiding colour paint like yellow, red etc, the Owatrol oil will greatly aid the paint’s 'hiding power' and possibly save you having to apply another coat. ESP & Owatrol Oil are available on our website or at the better paint stockists.

    I have two cane armchairs plus two matching footstools. There were painted green when we bought them some years ago. As they are very good quality and were quite expensive it would be out of the question to discard them. Could you please tell me if I could have them sprayed professionally to another colour - preferably something brown or is there some easy way I could do it myself?

    There are a few companies who carry out spraying and you would find them on the Internet or in the Golden / Yellow Pages. On the other hand, if you are handy around the house and have a bit of time on your hands, you could do the job yourself. A bit messy perhaps, but no more so than other paint job. You will need some ESP wipe on smooth surface primer, plenty of cotton rags, about 2 litres of the colour you like in a n oil based gloss or satin look, a tin of Owatrol oil and a 2" paintbrush.

    To prepare the cane, wash & rinse thoroughly and then following makers instructions carefully, apply the ESP with a (lint-free) rag and make sure you apply it to all areas you intend to apply the paint later. Just prepare one or two chairs at a time. You must wait at least two hours before you apply paint because the film of ESP has to cure first. When your chairs are prepared with ESP, stir in about 25% Owatrol oil into your first coat of paint and apply. The strong mix of oil aids the adhesion. Next day, or when the first coat has dried, apply another coat of the same paint, this time stirring in about 10% Owatrol oil into your paint. The oil added into your final coat will help the paint flow out to a lovely smooth finish.

    ESP & Owatrol Oil are available on our website or at the better paint stockists.

    I hope you can help me with my problem. I have four smoke glass mirrors floor to ceiling. I have found it impossible to keep them clean. The room is south facing and when the sun shines in, the smears and streaks appear all over the mirrors. I have used every product on the market for the purpose of cleaning glass and mirrors and none of them have worked for me. Hot water and vinegar and newspaper were also useless. I would consider covering the mirrors with sheets of narrow plywood if there was a way of attaching them to the mirrors which act as sliding doors?

    Without seeing the doors in reality it is difficult to say how effective the attachment of plywood panels might be. Only a qualified carpenter could give a definitive answer on that issue. It does sound like you would have to take the glass out and replace it with the appropriate thickness and finish of wood and perhaps fit edges etc to take the bare look off it. Sounds possible though.

    Another option if it suits your situation is to camouflage the mirror doors by painting them. You may think that is not possible, but in actual fact it is very possible. Here’s how.

    Wash all areas to be painted with sugar soap and warm water and dry off fully with a lint free cloth. Next decide what colour matches in with the surrounding area and pick up about 2 litres of oil based gloss or satin as well as a tin of ESP shiny surface primer to give the paint a grip on the mirrors. If you want a really smooth as glass finish on the end result, it would be a good idea to get yourself a small tin of Owatrol oil as well, I’ll explain why later. Following instructions on the can, prepare the doors with the ESP using a clean lint-free cloth and make sure you apply it to all areas you intend to paint. It is quite easy to do this, just take your time and be careful. Next all you have to do is apply two coats of the gloss. Mix in about 20% of the Owatrol oil in your first coat as this will make the paint flow out very smooth like the glass itself and will not show up ugly brush marks or streaks. It will also help with the paint adhesion.

    Next day or thereabouts after the first coat has dried, apply a second coat of the same paint, but this time add in just enough oil to enable it flow on smoothly; aprox 15%. Do not be tempted to “test‟ the adhesion with finger nails etc next day – you must leave paint for a week for paint to harden or cure properly. The end result should look like there are no glass doors there at all… only painted panels. The only downside I see here is that you will know they are glass panels but somebody else who comes into your house may not be aware of the transformation and bang against them causing an accident. So think about that. Another idea if you wish would be to mask off a few nice patterns on the doors to leave some of the mirror lookin

    Is it possible to paint over varnished and stained French doors (indoor) Will gloss paint dry on them with an undercoat?

    There is no reason why you could not paint over those doors. First according to normal good practice, wash them with something like sugar soap and warm water, rinse off and allow to dry. When dry, you could give them a coat of ESP, a water based, quick drying primer. After the ESP has dried, (2 hours at room temp) apply one (or two if necessary) coats of a topcoat of your choice, probably either an oil based gloss or a satinwood. If you choose to apply an oil based paint, to get a really good finish, mix in about 15% Owatrol Oil to your paint. ESP & Owatrol Oil are available on our website or at the better paint stockists.

    I was hoping to change the colour of my uPVC windows and doors, but don’t know how to go about it?

    You can paint those PVC windows and doors any colour you like thanks to a clever smooth surface primer called ESP. I would suggest you choose an oil based satin or gloss paint to do the job for maximum durability.
    To do the job all you have to do is wash the pvc first with sugar soap and warm water and rinse. Get a clean lint free cloth, soak it with ESP and wipe it all over the surfaces you wish to paint. Do one window at a time.
    Leave that to cure for at least 2 hours at normal room temperature and after that you are ready to apply your gloss or whatever.
    In case you are unsure if the paint will stick, you will know as soon as you start to apply the paint, i.e. if the paint starts to crawl or run away from the brush you have not applied the ESP properly. If this happens, just re-treat that area with ESP. On the other hand, if the paint goes on in the normal way, everything should be ok.
    Another tip to ensure you get a lovely smooth, brush-free finish is to add some Owatrol oil to the paint if it feels draggy or heavy. This will also help with paint adhesion. ESP & Owatrol are available on our website and the better paint outlets.

    I would like to paint the old tiles in my bathroom because they are up a long time and I’m fed up looking at them. I heard there is some way you can paint tiles and I would rather not have to go to the trouble and expense of putting in new tiles?

    You heard correctly, there is a very easy way to paint ceramic tiles. All you have to do is give the whole area a good wash down with a 50:50 mixture of bleach and warm water. This will kill any ‘life forms’ lingering around in the grout or joints. If you don’t wash them like this, everything will probably be okay but, it is better to take that simple precaution. (as usual, take great care with bleach, it is nasty stuff in the wrong places such as clothes, eyes, skin etc).  After you have done the above, rinse the area fully with plenty of clean warm water to remove all traces of the bleach.

    When dry, get your tin of ESP assuming you have some. Pick up about 2.5 litres of oil based gloss of a colour you like, plus a half litre or one litre can of Owatrol Oil. Get a clean, lint-free cloth and apply the ESP all over the tiles including grouted areas, making sure you cover every single part. It’s best to work in strict patterns, or mask off of tiles to ensure you do not miss any area, which could easily happen, as ESP is colourless.

    Leave it to dry & cure for about 2 hours at normal room temperature. Always read the label. After that, mix in about 10% or so Owatrol Oil into your gloss and apply. You will find that Owatrol added in, the gloss will flow out beautifully with no brush marks or streaks. Next day or so, when first coat is dry, apply another coat of gloss in the same manner, and you will, or should have, for all intents and purposes a whole new bathroom for only a few dollars with minimal effort. 

    Word of caution, oil paints take about a week to cure properly, so try and avoid using that area, especially showers as much as possible while the paint cures. Obviously, do not do what some people do, stick your finger nails into the paint to see if it has dried, or worse still, to see if it peels off !

    ESP & Owatrol Oil are available on our website or at the better paint stockists.

    My old pine look kitchen units are looking very tired and I would like to brighten them up. Can I paint them?

    The answer is a definite yes, provided you do not mind a little bit of work. If you have a kitchen full of dull presses or cabinets, boring tiles in the bathroom, or weary wardrobes in the bedroom, take heart... you don’t have to take out a big loan to refit the whole place, just freshen it up with a few tins of paint and a little bit of TLC. (tender loving care)

    “Oh, but surely it’s impossible to paint kitchen presses, tiles and other shiny surfaces, because the paint will just peel off” you say!

    Well, believe it or not, you can! with the help of an amazing not so new product called ESP You’ve no doubt seen it on the various popular TV DIY shows such as Changing Rooms, Beyond the Hall Door etc where it has been rightly hailed as one of the best new painting or decorating products ever seen.

    ESP will make it possible for you to change the look of all those normally very difficult surfaces without sanding, dust or hard work. ESP makes any water or oil based paint or varnish stick to melamine, Formica, most plastics, fibreglass, glass, previously glossed or varnished surfaces without sanding or mess.

    Transform the look of your presses, tiles, wardrobes to any colour under the sun with any oil or water based paint for the price of a few cans of paint, and probably for well below €100.

    Paint the fridge to match the presses, or the wardrobes to match the new curtains or whatever. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your own imagination. In fact, you can even use ESP to change the colour of all those other doors, architraves and so on. Gloss over gloss, varnish over varnish, all is now possible, and at minimal cost to you which is always welcome news.

    It is a good idea to use an oil-basedpaint in the bathroom because of the moisture etc. If you use a water based paint elsewhere, bear in mind whether its needs to be washable etc. (Note: give the paint time to cure properly before you give it a hard time).

    Here are two more interesting items that will be a huge help in any or all of the above scenarios. If you are using a water based paint (latex / emulsion) add about 10% of another amazing new product called Floetrol. This will ensure a streak-free lovely even finish, especially on deep colours or vinyls, and it is also a dream in yellows, reds etc. Saves a coat or two also which is no harm work wise!

    If you are applying an oil paint, add some Owatrol oil and this will ensure a really smooth, brush mark-free, rich finish making your work look like it was done by a pro. ESP, Owatrol Oil and Floetrol are available on our website or at main paint outlets.

    What do I do with my shiny surface, white interior doors? I have a number of white interior doors in my home which have a shiny surface, and appear to me to have a plastic coating. I do not know if they are laminated or not. They were fitted when my house was built about 5 years ago. They now need some attention, but I have been advised not to paint them on account of the coating on them. Any advice as to whether this is true or not, and if so, is there some other means of cleaning them?

    The advice you received regarding not being able to paint them is quite out of date - you can. Those doors are probably made of some modern laminate or other which are generally fairly easy to clean etc. You can paint them with no trouble at all. Clean the doors first with some Sugar Soap liquid and warm water, a combination that usually works well. Rinse with clean water. Don't use harsh chemicals or you could do irreversible damage.

    All you need is a can of ESP and some paint of your choice, probably an oil based satin or gloss depending on whether you would like them very shiny or not so shiny.
    If you plan to apply a new white coat you won't need an undercoat, however, if you plan to apply a very different colour to what is there already, you may need an undercoat to bridge 'the colour gap'. To do the job, get a clean, lint free cloth and wipe the ESP (a clear primer film) on carefully taking care not to miss any spots.

    Leave the ESP film for about two hours at normal room temperature to dry. After two to three hours or later, you can apply the paint directly. Note, if, when you start painting, the paint starts to run away from the brush or 'crawls' as it is known, you will need to re-ESP that area because it will not have been done correctly.

    Depending on your finish etc, you could apply a second coat of the same paint, especially if using gloss, but you'll probably get a nice job done even with the one coat. Actually here's a useful tip. If you add about 10% or thereabouts of Owatrol oil (also known as a Paint Conditioner) to your paint, it will help the adhesion, hiding and coverage, leaving a beautiful, brush mark-free finish. If you choose to use one of the newer water based gloss paints on the market, we would recommend you add some Floetrol (waterbased paint conditioner) to help the paint flow out to a lovely brush-mark free finish.

    Owatrol Oil will help with coverage, hiding, adhesion and general appearance of all oil based paints and varnishes. Floetrol will do likewise in water based paints but not is suitable for water based varnish. ESP, Owatrol Oil & Floetrol are available on our website or at the better paint outlets.

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