Toupret Technical Manager, Adrian Smith gives his top preparation tips for achieving a great quality finish on interior renovations.
With the current trend to expand and renovate homes rather than selling up and moving on, now more than ever, customers are asking how that garage space could be turned into a home-office, whether the loft could provide that desperately needed extra bedroom, or how a few extra square metres could give the kids a playroom. And with many clients spending more time at home using their improved spaces, they want a quality finished result.
First, taping and jointing. Creating perfectly smooth surfaces on new plasterboard walls needn’t be a hassle and can be expertly achieved with jointing and skimming fillers, providing a super fine finish, ready for painting.
After applying your filler along the edges between your plasterboards, you can bed your paper jointing tape: measure and cut out the length you need before hanging the tape and gently pressing it into the filler with either a blade or trowel to eliminate any trapped air. Adrian says: “You want to avoid dragging the tape, so never smooth it from top to bottom. Instead, always work from the middle out.” As soon as you’ve finished, apply a thin coat of filler over the top and feather out beyond the first coat. If the job is substantial, you could cut down on time and effort with an automatic taper, designed to apply your tape and filler simultaneously.
If you use an adhesive scrim tape, instead of paper, there’s no need to apply an initial layer of filler onto the joints. Simply measure, cut and apply your scrim before overcoating with filler. Adrian advises: “Watch out for corners! Scrim tape doesn’t fold easily, so it’s not suitable for edging jobs.”
Once dry, and if needed, you can apply a second coat. And Adrian recommends extending the filler out to skim over the whole wall. Toupret’s Joint, Skim & Fill range is specifically designed for this kind of work. Available in both powder and ready mixed forms, these products are smooth and easy to apply, will not shrink, and their special formulae make them easy to sand. You can paint over them with no need to spot prime. This is because, unlike plaster, fillers have breathable properties which help prevent moisture from building up.
A second preparation task that makes a huge difference to the overall finish quality is filling architraves and skirting. These areas are often tricky with narrow gaps and can be subject to movement between the wood and walls, but the superior finish always makes it worth the effort.
Technical Manager, Adrian Smith continues: “movement can generate reappearing cracks, particularly in older properties where changes in temperature are more common. That’s why I recommend a flexible filler as a solution for these difficult gaps.” Toupret’s Fill-Flex is a highly flexible filler that moves with the substrates, making it a better choice than a traditional caulk.
To get the precision you need for these areas, it’s a good idea to use a filler in a cartridge. Adrian says “I always cut the nozzle at an angle as it gives me an easier flow of filler and makes it much more comfortable to apply.” He also recommends cutting the nozzle to the same size as the gap you’re filling, to avoid any spillage.
Rake out the gap first, to remove any dust and debris, before gently squeezing the applicator to apply the filler. Once filled, use a damp cloth to wipe off the excess… or even a wet finger!
Finally, it’s always a good idea to check the surface for little nicks, scratches or holes which often appear on the job, with the biggest culprit being where you rest your ladder! A fine surface filler is ideal for very small touch-ups and smoothing. If you’re confronted with larger holes or scratches Adrian advises “Deeper holes are best tackled with a powder filler, such as our Interior Filler, because they hold their structure more effectively as they dry. If you’re pressed for time, our Quick Fill dries in just 30 minutes, or our Quick Dry Filler powder is also a great solution.”
Be liberal with your application on larger holes. You want to avoid any air being trapped behind the filler once inside the hole or crack. To help him achieve this, Adrian says “I always smooth from the middle outwards. It helps ensure there are no air pockets and stops the filler from dragging”
The final step to getting your walls ready for decorating is to sand the filler back once dry. But be sure to use the right grade sandpaper. Adrian says “240-grade sandpaper is my go-to on our Fine Surface Filler, but you could go as low as 180. Anything lower, and you’ll be scratching off the filler completely.”
For further information on the Toupret range visit https://www.toupret.co.uk/