A quality finish requires quality materials, tools and equipment from preparation stage to completion.
Here are our core products and essentials for completing a great job.
All of these products have been tested in-house and on-the-job for compliance and quality.
"Toupret" is French for "all ready". Marketed as "the ultimate high performance filler", it lives up to the hype. It's quite simply the number one filler in the business. This is our main filler for larger repair areas - deeper cracks, holes, divots and pits. Easy to mix, spreads easily, dries quickly and sands down like a dream. We were converts the first day we used it as it out-performed our previous brand by 100%.
Tetrion 2k PowerFIL
This "2 Pack" or "2 Part" filler is a rapid-cure, super strong filler which sets harder than concrete. We use this for woodwork, doors and exterior masonry. Its smooth finish can be sanded, overpainted (with all paint types) within 15 minutes.
The "decorator's first aid kit" and the holy trinity of decorating:
- Zinsser BIN (red)
- Zinsser Bullseye 123 (blue)
- Zinsser Peel-Stop (green)
These are all essential on most jobs and are the main products we can't live without. Zinsser BIN is a shellac-based all-in-one primer, sealer, stain blocker that covers water stains and rust spots and primes bare wood and filler. Zinsser Bullseye is not as powerful as BIN but is water-based. It will prime and seal most things apart from water stains (where Zinsser BIN is recommended). Peel-Stop binds loose and flaking edges of paint to the surface to stop them from peeling prior to filling/priming/painting.
Fine Surface Filler
Every so often, we discover a gem of a product in the most unexpected of places. Quality isn't always about price and we've found this cheap and cheerful product performs superbly against much higher-priced, bigger-named, fine fillers. It rubs down really smoothly and dries quickly. We also love the fact that it's from a Manchester-based originally family-owned business.
DUNLOP flexible acrylic
We've tried them all and this remains our caulk of choice. It's not too thin or watery and smooths off really well. It dries pretty quickly (usually within one hour) and doesn't crack or craze. It's priced at the higher-end compared to trade / DIY caulks, but does the job so well, it would be a false economy to use the others.
mirka & Abranet
We use Mirka abrasive papers and Abranet sanding discs for our Festool dust-free sanding machines. 80 grit is perfect for walls and is our most-used. For more stubborn areas, we'd use 60 and for fine, hand sanding we use 180 upwards.
LIBERON (although most brands are equally as good)
A little bottle of liquid magic that prevents sap from bleeding through wood and staining top coat paint. A simple and cheap product but essential when decorating resinous woods.
tikkurila helmi acrylic
This water-based primer adheres really well to wood and matts down perfectly for subsequent top coats. It's spray-friendly and dries really quick. It just works so well and we wouldn't go back to our original primer of choice now we've experienced this.
Standard ceiling paint
Tikkurila super white cover matt emulsion
More forgiving than "trade" and retail paints. It dries so evenly and is easily touched-up/blendable. It's sprayable too. It dries really quickly to a flat matt finish. Can also be used on walls although it's wipeable not scrubbable.
ZINSSER BIN BRUSH CLEANER
When you've invested £30+ purchasing a brush, you want to look after it! This specialist brush cleaner is great on even hardened brushes - bringing them back to life. Pricey stuff, but works.
Preparation - cleaning
pro dec tacK cloths & sugar soap & Zinsser universal de-greaser
Tack cloths are a sticky cloth ideal for wiping down surfaces post-sanding as the dust sticks to the cloth without smearing. Sugar soap is a fantastic de-greaser and cleaner used regularly for prepping surfaces. Another great product from Zinsser is the universal de-greaser and cleaner - great for prepping kitchens and bathrooms.
Our favourite tapes are:
tesa tape - PINK
For masking existing wallpaper: Pink Tesa is very low tack, so won't rip or damage wallpaper when it is removed.
tesa tape - BLUE
For masking outdoors: Blue Tesa is UV-resistant and can withstand weather conditions. We use this on exterior windows and doors.
tesa tape - YELLOW
For interior masking: Yellow Tesa is perfect for masking off prior to spraying. We use this for interior windows too.
3" general purpose tape
This humble and often under-appreciated masking tape is essential for taping the edges of our flooring protector and also for covering sockets and switches. This tape is an absolutely vital tool in the Henry Fix armoury!
Preparation - surface protection
carpet & floor protection
For hard floors, we use Hippo/Packexe, Pavisave fleece or Corex sheets (dependant on the type of project).
For protecting and covering furniture or worktops, we use high quality butyl drop cloths, which are fully waterproof.
We use ground sheets to protect the ground when working on exterior decorating projects.
Trimaco 'Tape and Drape'
Another essential tool of our trade is a sheeting dispenser which we mainly use in kitchens and bathrooms to protect sanitary ware, worktops, cupboard doors, etc. It is light-weight polythene sheeting with tape attached and also clings to surfaces by static. It's great to protect large areas in one go.
3m Hand MASKER
The 3M hand masker is used as part of our masking and protecting process. We use this heavily in kitchens as it's great to wrap cooker hoods and other fixtures. We also use it prior to spraying.
Brushes & Rollers
purdy, Arroworthy & Wooster
A general DIY pack of brushes and a 9-inch roller and tray will not do! We love using quality tools and equipment that are made for professional usage and built to last. Purdy brushes, roller frames and extension poles are our standard kit. 14" roller heads from Arroworthy or Wooster give us greater coverage in less time. We will also use striker brushes for quick cutting in of hard-to-reach areas; sash brushes for windows and hand-painting spindles; and fitch brushes for fine detail.