Queenslanders are an important part of Brisbane’s architectural heritage. A beautifully maintained Queenslander attracts attention regardless of how modern the rest of the street is. There are several factors to consider in how to prepare a Queenslander house for painting including surface preparation, paint finish selection and paint application.
Origins of the Queenslander
The term “Queenslander” typically refers to a high set (traditionally 2.8m high), weatherboard clad house with prominent stumps, exterior staircase and gabled, corrugated iron roof. An important design feature of Queenslanders is the verandah that partially wraps around the house. The extent of the verandah varied between designs but never completely enveloped the house. The open underfloor area was integral to the cooling effects of the design and was not intended to be enclosed. The modern trend is to enclose this area to allow for more living space.
Raising the house on stumps was a practical and inexpensive construction technique that allowed for ventilation and cooling, prevented termite attack, overcame terrain variations (eliminating the need for a level house site) and overland water flow during high intensity rain events or flooding. Decorative timber battens were often installed between the stumps to screen the space off and for security.
Internally, walls and ceilings were clad with VJs (tongue and groove timber boards) and decorated with ceiling roses and fenestrations above doorways. These features afford the interior of Queenslanders their typical charm and were included for cross ventilation purposes.
This style of building had its heyday during the 1920s and 30s. Following World War II, construction practices changed due to reducing land availability, cheaper construction materials, availability of earthmoving equipment and a push for lower maintenance houses.
How to prepare a Queenslander house for painting
Washing down surfaces is the first step in preparing your Queenslander for painting.
Wash down external surfaces
Whilst washing down external surfaces may be considered tedious and a waste of time, it improves the longevity of the paint finish.
We recommend using water only combined with a mechanical means of removing grime, for example rubbing each surface with a broom or using a water blaster. Any product used with water has the potential to leave a residue behind which may interfere with paint adhesion. Crazy cracking is a common issue associated with residues.
Sand internal surfaces
Internal surfaces are a bit trickier to prepare as liberal use of a broom and water or a water blaster could cause damage. We recommend wet sanding internal surfaces before painting to ensure built up grime is removed.
It is important to note that lead paints were readily available during the Queenslander period. Work Safe Queensland website provides advice on working with lead-based paint.
Inspect surfaces for imperfections
Preparing surface imperfections for painting can become overwhelming due to the fiddly nature of the work. The quality of the final finish is dependent on this step. Taking the time to ensure this step is done thoroughly and competently will have benefits in the final finish.
The next step is to apply paint to the prepared surfaces
This is the step you’ve been waiting for and finally its time to apply the paint. But wait! What type of paint?
Paint selection considerations include location, that is, internal or external; substrate; whether a primer is required; oil or water based; finish type; environmental conditions; application method; and colour. A good quality paint applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions should last between 10 and 15 years.
Full exterior repaint of this timeless beauty
This grand old Queenslander is situated on a hillside in Coorparoo. It took approximately 4 weeks to lovingly prepare and repaint.