Not sure how to properly paint over that old wallpaper, or choose the right exterior paint? Itching to give those tired looking high-gloss cabinets a refresh?

Dr Dulux is here to guide you with painting tips for the trickiest of surfaces...

Dr Dulux: How to Paint Tricky Surfaces 1

Interior brick walls

First things first, for both interior and exterior brick walls you need to make sure the walls are clean and dry before you apply any paint.

For interior brick walls, use a stiff brush to remove any loose material and make any small repairs with Polycell Multi-Purpose PolyFilla. If it’s powdery and porous you can apply a coat of Dulux Quick Dry Primer before applying top coats in the finish of your choice (you can use any emulsion finish or even a quick-drying eggshell for this).

Sometimes you get stains bleeding through brick, especially on a chimney breast. These can be stopped with a coat of Polycell One Coat Stain Stop applied over the stained area which must be allowed to dry thoroughly before you apply any top coats.

Weathershield 9

Exterior brick walls

Use a stiff brush to remove any loose material and make any repairs to the surface using Polycell Quick Set Cement Polyfilla. If the wall is looking a bit green around its bottom, you may need to treat it with a fungicidal wash before applying any paint. This is less painful than it sounds. It’s simple to do and not too expensive – just follow the instructions on the packaging.

If the brick surface is porous or powdery, apply a coat of Dulux Weathershield Stabilising Primer This will also make the masonry paint much easier to apply and you will use less of it to do the job. Use a masonry roller and brush to apply the paint in your favourite colour and finish. Dulux Weathershield Masonry Paint comes in both a smooth and textured finish. It’s water-based so the equipment is easy to clean and if you attach the roller to an extension pole you’ll get the job done much faster and with less effort.

5 tips first-time buyers 1

Cabinets and cupboards that have been pre-painted or varnished

First, remove any knobs and handles, mask up hinges and lightly sand the furniture with fine surface sanding pad or paper – this will help the paint to grip. Make sure to brush off any dust with a clean brush (or vacuum it off).

Next, apply a coat of Dulux Quick Drying Primer or Undercoat and allow to dry. Then lightly sand with a fine grade paper to remove any dust and pesky flies that might have stuck on whilst drying and again remove dust

Apply two coats of Quick Dry Satinwood, Eggshell or Gloss finish using a good quality synthetic brush. Remember, the better the brush the better the finish.


  • To prevent brush marks, use a good quality synthetic brush (2-3” will suit most jobs).
  • You can also use a small radiator roller to save time and it works really well on flat surfaces and wicker furniture.
  • Use a one-inch or artist’s brush for the fiddly bits.
  • Always give a light sand down between coats and remove the dust before applying the next coat.
  • Keep pets and other hairy things out of the way of drying paint and avoid painting near a draught, in case dust finds its way into the wet paint.
4 Quick Fixes to Update Your Kitchen 1

High Gloss and Melamine cabinets

1. First, remove all knobs and handles, as well as the contents of your cabinets and drawers. Use masking tape to protect hinges and glass and put down dust sheets to protect other parts of the room as necessary.

2. Wash the cabinets with sugar soap or a strong detergent solution and wipe down with clean water (this will remove grease and help paint to stick).

3. When the cabinets are dry, sand with fine paper, remove dust and apply Dulux Primer for Difficult Surfaces or Dulux Melamine Primer and allow to dry.

4. Apply two coats of your chosen top coat in Quick Dry Satinwood, Eggshell or Gloss.

5. After the first coat is completely dry, sand very lightly with a fine paper to ensure a smooth, professional finish and wipe off any dust with a clean dry brush or damp cloth before applying a second coat.

6. When the second coat is completely dry, carefully remove masking tape, put the knobs and handles back on, and admire your beautiful new cabinets.


  • Keep the doors on so you can paint the fronts and backs at the same time
  • You might want to use a small roller on flat doors and door edges for a quick smooth finish.
  • Use a really good quality synthetic paint brush and wash it thoroughly after use.
Dr Dulux: How to paint over tiles


1. Clean the tiles thoroughly and allow to dry. If there is any mould stains on the grouting or sealant, use a bathroom fungicidal spray to kill it before applying any paint.

2. Mask off the silicone sealant and edges of the tiles then apply a coat of Dulux Primer for Difficult surfaces and allow to dry.

3. Apply two coats of Quick Drying Satinwood, gloss or eggshell in your favourite colour.


  • Paint will never be as tough as ceramic and so only consider painting tiles in areas where they won’t get too much wear and tear.
  • Avoid showers and directly behind a cooker hob or kitchen sink.

Bare plaster walls

1. Thin down the first coat of emulsion with 30 per cent water and apply with a roller to seal the surface. This will make painting easier and you will use less paint.

2. Following coats don't need to be thinned, so once it’s dry, paint as normal with your chosen colour.

Bold patterns and shades of teal revitalise this living space.

Walls with old wallpaper

You can paint over old wallpaper if it’s stuck down really well but you generally won’t know how well that is until you start painting…

1. Remove old wallpaper with a wallpaper steamer or stripper solution and scraper.

2. Once it has all been removed, take yourself out for a treat, you deserve it! Clean the residue of old wallpaper paste from the walls with warm water on a sponge.

3. Once dry, fill holes and cracks with Polycell All-Purpose Filler and sand smooth (use flexible Polycell Decorators Caulk for any gaps between the walls and woodwork or walls and ceiling for a super professional finish too).

4. Apply emulsion paint with a roller or brush in your favourite colour and finish.


  • You might find small imperfections in the wall that you have missed after applying the first coat of paint but don't worry, just fill them, sand smooth and carry on with your decorating.
  • Use a brush to cut in around the edges of the walls and fill in with a roller.

For more tips and tricks on prepping tricky surfaces take a look at Dr Dulux: How to Paint Kitchen Cupboards.