For gaps exposed to constant damp, or where there is movement
between two surfaces, sealants - also known as mastics or caulks - are waterproof
fillers which remain permanently flexible to accommodate movement. Available in
two varieties, acrylics which you can paint over and water-soluble sealants which
are waterproof when wet and require white spirit to clean up excess.
Most sealants come in standard cartridges for use in a piston type gun, or in
smaller tubes. There are a range of formulations designed for different jobs,
but there are two main types:
Kitchen and bathroom sealants
A primary use of sealant is to create a flexible, waterproof join for kitchen
and bathroom fittings and tiled surfaces. It is ideal for sealing gaps around
baths, basins, shower trays, kitchen sinks and worktops.
silicone-based sealant is designed to be waterproof, mould-resistant, durable,
easy to clean and is able to cope with gaps up to 3mm wide. It adheres well to
most materials, including wood, aluminium, PVC and ceramics and comes in white,
translucent and other popular colours for tiles and fittings.
Acrylic or silicone-based, this is suitable for sealing gaps
and joints between masonry and woodwork or metal, where movement occurs, for example
between walls and staircases. It is suitable for sound and draught insulation
around door and window frames.
Durable, weatherproof and easy-to-use,
frame sealant can cope with gaps up to 10mm wide and is available in formulas
for both indoor and outdoor use. It can be painted on to match surrounding surfaces.
Choosing thinners and brush cleaners
It pays not to cut corners
on cleaning, stripping or washing surfaces before redecorating. Take good care
of your paint equipment and surfaces with our guide to choosing the best solutions.
A strong alkaline cleaner excellent for washing
down, de-greasing and keying painted walls and woodwork prior to redecoration.
It is supplied in concentrated crystal, powder or liquid form, to be dissolved
or diluted in water before use.
are good for keeping your painting equipment clean and to dilute solvent-based
paint and varnish which is too thick on use. Most oil paints can be thinned with
white spirit. Turpentine substitute can be used to clean brushes but shouldn't
be used to thin paints. Emulsions and acrylic-based paints must not be thinned
with white spirit but can be thinned and cleaned with water.
This purpose made solvent is formulated to speed up the cleaning of
wet paint brushes. If the paint on your brush has dried and hardened, stand the
brush in brush restorer to remove the paint and condition and soften the bristles.
Chemical paint stripper is suitable for softening
paint or varnish to remove it from wood or metal. Replacing heating methods, it
is ideal for stripping window frames where heat could crack the glass, or for
creating a clear, wood finish where heat could scorch the wood.
or gel forms containing dicholoromethane will strip paint quickly and effectively,
but are toxic if inhaled. Paste strippers, based on caustic soda take longer to
work and can be used for stripping intricate mouldings as the paste forms a skin,
which can often be peeled off without scraping.
A concentrated formula to add to warm water, this will soften wallpaper adhesive
when soaking wallcoverings prior to stripping. Score the surface with coarse sandpaper
first to aid penetration.