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Barry shares his pro tips on common painting and decorating challenges.

My house is covered in woodchip, what is the easiest way to strip it off?

The easiest way to remove woodchip is to get someone else to do it!!

On a serious note, to remove the majority of wallpapers it is necessary to reactivate the dried paste underneath the existing wallcovering by means of water or steam.

Woodchip is notoriously difficult to remove, this gets even more challenging if it's been painted over many times, especially with a washable emulsion such as vinyl silk.

There several methods to ease the pain – generally on site we would use a wallpaper steamer. However, if you live in an older property using a steamer is sometimes not possible and can cause the plaster to “blow” off the walls. I would suggest to try a small area first.

A paper tiger can be used to score the wallpaper, which will allow the water to soak through, alternatively remove the “chips” by scraping with a scraper. This again will allow the water to penetrate making removal easier.

I would then soak the paper at least 3 times, with hot water, allowing 5 minutes between each application. The woodchip should then literally fall off the walls allowing easy removal without any damage to the existing surface.

Keep watching my videos as I will be doing a tutorial on this very soon.

Following changes in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) legislation in 2010, paint manufacturers have been required to reduce the amount of solvents in their products.

This is causing traditional solvent based paints e.g. gloss to “Yellow” This is accelerated in areas that are low in natural daylight such as hallways and rooms without windows.

I would recommend using a water based system, such as satin or gloss. It will provide durable finish, which is non-yellowing.

All of my doors, frames and skirting boards are discolouring very quickly, why?
I have just painted the bannister on my staircase & it now looks like it has rained on it. What is causing this?

Banisters are subject to a great deal of wear and tear over a period of time. A build up from grease from hands and wax from furniture polish will form on the surface. The paint cannot stick to the surface and draws away leaving small craters.

To rectify this, remove the paint immediately and allow the surface to dry. Then degrease either using household bleach or sugar soap. This will provide a suitable surface to apply paint to. Be sure to follow manufactures instructions when using these cleaning products.

If you need advice or have a painting or decorating question for Barry, email

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