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MAKE A GRAND ENTRANCE; Great British Bake Off runner-up Richard Burr, who works as a builder when he's not in the kitchen, gives his decorating tips.

REFRESHING your home's entrance is a big job. Richard Burr - former contestant on the Great British Bake Off - reveals his five top tips for a perfect paint job. "Thanks to the property programmes on telly, we know all about kerb appeal these days," he explained. "No better place to start than your front door. If it's been looking shabby for a while and you've been meaning to sort it, now's the perfect time - before the dark and wet evenings set in. It's not as daunting as you might think."

TIMING IS EVERYTHING "The only reason our front door got done was because we blocked out two consecutive weekends to tackle it - the door was in pretty terrible condition. If you don't make the time to start it and get it finished, you'll regret it - an unfinished door is much uglier than one that needs painting. Get it done before the weather gets too cold, as you'll need your front door open for as long as possible while the paint dries."

STOCK UP ON ALL THE KIT "Before you start, you'll need to prepare all your equipment. You'll need: 80-120 grit sandpaper. Rags - it's a dusty job and you'll need to rub off dust while you work. Have a vacuum cleaner handy too. A plastic dust sheet for your porch or hall - if someone opens your back door while the front door is open, you'll pull a dust cloud through the house. If your door's in particularly bad condition, use a two-part wood filler before undercoating. Do not use decorators caulk, as it's not appropriate for front doors. You'll also need paint primer and an undercoat to prepare your surface. However, you won't need both of these separately if you get a primer undercoat.

"Then, of course, you'll need the paint for the door and a two-inch synthetic bristle brush. Finally, white spirit or brush cleaner will make cleaning brushes easy, while a Stanley knife blade is very useful for cleaning spots of paint off glass."

CHOOSE THE BEST PAINT "If you're painting your front door, you'll need exterior gloss. This is far harder-wearing than interior gloss and well worth the money. And if you're going to all this trouble, why not be bold with your colour? I painted my door bright red and it cheers me up every time I see it. Plus, when I'm in a cab, I can say, 'The house with the red door please', as it's the only one in our street! Whatever paint you choose, make sure you get the same brand primer undercoat to go with the top coat. Paints are designed to work together for the best results and, in some cases, can be completely incompatible between brands."

PAINT IN THE RIGHT ORDER "Prepare the outside of the door on day one, by removing all the door furniture then sanding it all over (being careful not to scratch your glasswork), wood-filling if necessary and dusting it down with your rags.

"First, paint all the mouldings and cut into the windows using the one-inch brush. As you look at the door, you'll see horizontal lengths of wood - 'rails' - that fit into vertical lengths called 'stiles'. Often down the middle of a door, you'll also have a length of wood called a 'muntin'. Paint the muntins first, using long, sweeping motions. Next, paint the rails. Once you've painted all the rails, you can paint the stiles, so that the edge where each rail finishes is painted over on the stile - this will give you a good finish."

LET IT DRY PROPERLY "For a front door, I use two layers of primer undercoat and one coat of gloss. The undercoat is touch-dry after two hours, but I always leave the door open for as long as possible. I let it dry properly for 18 hours, then give the door a fine-sand, rub-off with a rag, and repeat the process.

"Use a wedge to prop the door open while it dries and if you need to be elsewhere in the house, put on the internal security chain. For the gloss layer, it takes 24 hours to dry properly. If you don't want to leave it wedged open during the night, make sure you leave it for as long as possible and do some touching-up the next day.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 12, 2017
Next Article:Mary Berry's 10 top tips for a happy home.

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