Q Can you please recommend a removal agent for old concrete external sills having layers of flaking white paint? I also intend re-painting them black. How should I retreat (if necessary) and what paint will I use?  Also what paint would you recommend for newly plastered (3 years) reveals and plinth. This is for a renovated cottage. I intend to paint the sills and plinth (top/btm/sides) black with white reveals in order to brighten up the front façade and your advice would be appreciated. (Ena Scott Malahide).

Thank you Ena. You didn't say if the old paint was gloss, but I suspect it is.  I think the handiest way to remove the remaining paint is with a blowtorch and a 3"scraper knife.

My suggestion would be, remove all the loose stuff with the scraper and wire brush the rest as best you can. 

Sweep off any remaining particles with a dry paintbrush or a hand brush. 

If you absolutely want a super smooth surface to work on, you'll need to put in more effort and sand the surface as well, but from an adhesion standpoint there's no need to go over the top about all this, because you can get a first class result if you follow the following tips.

Prepare as outlined above, and when clean and dry, assuming you are going to paint with gloss, add about 30% Owatrol oil (paint conditioner) to your first coat and apply to the sill. That will ensure the paint will stick tight. On your second coat add in about 10 to 15% Owatrol and apply, & this will suffice. As regards the plinths etc, you could do the same as you did with the sill. Or, if you would prefer a matte appearance, choose an emulsion black and add about 30% E-B (Emulsa-Bond) to your first coat only and apply. That will take care of the adhesion and you will get excellent hiding and coverage as well. Note: If you decide to apply a second coat of that emulsion, apply without the E-B.

Here's a useful website where you can pick up loads of useful information about stuff like that including the Owatrol mentioned above. www.igoe.ie    Have fun!

Handy Tip for white scorch marks on a dark wooden table

You can remove scorch marks from a dark wooden table by dampening a cloth with rubbing alcohol and wiping it on to the white scorch mark. Allow it to dry and wipe clean. This process may need to be repeated to  completely remove the scorch mark..