Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Common Painting and Decorating Terms

Making Good

This means raking out and filling all cracks and holes. We will also ‘feather out’ areas of plasterwork to upgrade the surface. Making good will leave a surface sound. It will not make an imperfect surface, perfect, or make smooth, ridges and undulations.


Where the plasterwork is cracking and imperfect, or there is the possibility of further cracking lining paper can be used. We use 1200 grade lining paper hung butt-jointed so that the seams are not noticeable. If needed this will upgrade a surface more than making good.


By this we mean actual resurfacing of an area, wall, or entire room by a tradesman plasterer. This is often the only way to obtain a perfect surface. It is either by use of two coats of plaster or fixing plasterboard and skimming.

Rubbing Down

By use of abrasives. It has a number of purposes – removes nibs, flaking paint and imperfections. It provides a ‘key’ for new paint and retards excessive build up of paint on the woodwork. On woodwork we will rub down the entire surface before painting and ‘flatting down’ with fine abrasive is done between coats.

Wall and Ceiling Finishes

We will normally use paint rollers and ‘cut in’ with a brush. Paint rollers can leave a heavy texture. This is avoided by not applying the paint too thickly and using the correct grade of roller sleeve. Some texture however is unavoidable particularly with emulsion paints.


‘Filling’ is part of making good. Internally we normally use cellulose fillers on walls and ceilings. On external surfaces we use proprietary oil stopper. Flexible fillers are used for gaps between wood, plaster e.g. where skirting and architraves meet walls.

Rotten Timber

Rotten timber, particularly on exteriors is not always found at time of quotation. If found this will be pointed out to you. It is most often found in timber sills and lower rails of a sash window.

Timber sills cost about £120 to cut out and replace the external section. Lower rails of sash windows can sometimes be repaired at about £180. Sash replacement is from £300 as this means a window made up by a joiner, fitted, new sash cords, re-glazing and repainting in three coats internally and externally.


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