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Decorating your New Home

This is the trade that is most often undertaken by self builders and most of them make a pretty good job of it. However, decorating is not simply a matter of covering things with paint.

Preperation is Key

Preparation is two thirds of the decorator's job with lots of rubbing down, sanding and making good involved. It is the decorator's job to ‘snag' the previous finishing trades, to repair around the holes cut by the plumber or the electrician and to fill in the edges of the boxing that the carpenter has put up.

Using a Decorator

  • Be careful to allow plastered walls to dry out thoroughly before commencing decoration. If decorating hard plaster within the first six months it is recommended that you stick to Trade Emulsion in Brilliant White, which can, of course always be overpainted at a later date with the colour of your choice.
  • The trade is usually labour only with the decorator providing most of their own tools including brushes, sandpaper and fillers.
  • One of the most important things to watch out for is that the work is carried out in a clean and dust free environment.
  • Try to discourage working where there are piles of rubbish or where other trades are still operating.
  • Make sure that all timber to be decorated with gloss paint is properly primed and knotted beforehand.
  • Prime or undercoat the back edge of all skirtings and architrave before they are fixed.

Ceramic Tiling

Wall tiles and floor tiles come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, colours and finishes. Walls and floors to be tiled must be smooth clean and free from any loose material and the correct adhesives and grouting recommended by the manufacturers or suppliers must be utilised for the best results.

Many self builders take on this trade themselves and many make a good job of it although, without doubt, professionals are much faster at it. However it requires careful planning. Tiling is very rarely started from a wall or corner and is usually started from a central point in the wall or floor and tiled towards the outside edges. This evens out any inconsistencies in shape or vertical and prevents unsightly lines of widely different cuts. The use of the correct spacers is important.

Ceramic, quarry or stone floor tiles are often laid on a screed floor but they can be laid just as successfully on timber floating floors as long as the correct flexible adhesive is used. Even with a screed floor, if there is likely to be any movement due to shrinkage in the case of a large area, it can be best to use a flexible adhesive.

Always buy at least a couple more metres than you need. If breakages or cracks occur in the future, new tiles may not have the same colour consistency or even be the same size.

Next: Hard and Soft Landscaping


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Decorating your New Home

Decorating your New Home

Key Points
Allow plenty of time for the inside to dry out before decorating.

Don't wallpaper for at least six months as any cracks will show through.


Consider plaster mouldings to add a touch of distinction to your new home.


Use flexible fillers for cracks between walls and ceilings.

Treat external timber as soon as possible and wait for good weather before undertaking external paintwork.
If shrinkage cracks occur in plasterwork, leave them for a few months before raking out and filling.
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