We just bought a house that is painted a very dark grey and want to paint it white. The surface is flaking in many areas what is the best way to get this job done? (Ann McBride D 7)

Sweep off all the flaking bits with a stiff brush or you could power wash it off. I prefer sweeping because you don’t wet or soak the wall.

Generally speaking, if you try to paint white on top of a dark, you would require three good coats of masonry paint to get the proper hiding power, but there is a quicker and less labour intensive method used by many contractors.

After you’ve done the most important part - preparation, apart from tools etc you will need a good quality exterior water based paint, a stir-in primer like E-B, and some paint additive like Floetrol, and here’s a real neat trick on how you should be able to do it in just two coats instead of the usual three.

Mix in 25% E-B into your first coat of paint and apply. The E-B will deal with the flaky condition as well as help with hiding power.

When your first coat is nice and dry, apply the second coat, and this time mix in the Floetrol emulsion paint additive (do not put E-B in your second coat) at a rate of 10% +/- and apply.

You should have the equivalent of a good three coat job done at this point.

For readers who have exterior walls that look a bit tired but you don’t want the expense of a two coat paint job, you can get a tremendous one coat job done with a combination of E-B and a high quality exterior masonry paint as mentioned above.