years of built up paint or alternatively they may be covered in hardboard in true 1960s vogue. You could have them dipped and stripped or remove the layers of paint for a good new paint finish.
Another 1960s‘ and 70s‘ favourite finish was Artex or textured paint. This can be very difficult to remove as the scraping offof the Artex may also lift some plaster. There are textured paint removers on the market which are helpful. I have found heating it with a hot air gun softens it sufficiently to enable it to be removed with a paper scraper. When you eventually remove it you may find it was put up to cover the cracks in the existing plaster. In older houses plaster is usually bonded to a timber lath or straps fixed to the walls or ceiling joists. If this is bowing, it is usually defective and should be taken down before it falls. You can patch in a small area with plasterboard and plaster or replace a whole ceiling in sheets of plasterboard ifrequired. The joints can be filled smooth. or alternatively you can skim or veneer coat the ceiling in plaster for a smooth finish. Cornices can be replaced or repaired if required. For small repairs use plaster filler and sand to smooth off before painting. New cornice can be purchased from
suppliers listed in the yellow pages. They can offer standard cornices from their pattern book or will make a mould to match your original if it is not available. If the existing plaster is in a poor condition try lining it with heavyweight lining paper. Ifit is too far gone you will have to apply a skim of plaster or hack off the old plaster and recoat the walls. Unless you are dealing with a small area or have experience of plastering you should use a tradesman as your learning curves will remain for all to see.
Windows and Doors Existing windows can be repaired if the frames are slightly decayed or rotten. With sash and case windows the cords carrying the counter weights are often broken and can be easily and cheaply replaced. Don't expect them to fit perfectly as the basic design of this type of window creates gaps at the middle and sides. Panes ofglass are easily replaced as glass can be bought cut to size from any glazier or glass supplier. Stained glass can be repaired or replaced if whole panes are missing. All internal woodwork can be overhauled by stripping the layers ofpaint built up over the years and sanding and filling if required. Missing skirtings and door mouldings can be made to match existing ones by a local joiner’s workshop. You may need to provide a sample of the existing skirting or produce a sketch for the
joiner to work from. prossible remove the existing skirting ifyou intend to strip paint as it is much easier to work on a table or bench. Existing stairs or banisters can be repaired or restored by replacing damaged treads or balusters. Treads can be refixed from the underside and balusters can be purchased from timber merchants or DIY centres.
Ifemploying outside help. confirm your agreement in writing and include what you are expecting to get. to what standard. how much you expect to pay and when you shall make payments. Try to find a builder from a personal recommendation or ask for references ofpast projects and names ofclients. If your builder cannot provide them go elsewhere. Phone or write to the referees provided. and be satisfied with a good report with one or two reservations — nobody is perfect! Except in special circumstances do not pay in advance and ifasked be suspicious. Ask for an invoice to be presented for payment at fortnightly or monthly intervals ifthe work shall take this time. The invoice should include a breakdown ofall items carried out and list any extras. It is advisable to withhold a small percentage until the work is satisfactorily completed. although you should agree this before you accept the builder’s quotation.
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