A year ago now, we were lucky enough to be able to travel to Sydney with our then newly qualified apprentice, Max, to mentor him as he competed in the national WorldSkills competition for Painting and Decorating.

This is the same competition that Clayton competed in and placed third in during his apprenticeship in the early 2000’s, and is an experience that remains extremely close to his heart.

A year on from our most recent WorldSkills experience, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the competition and wanted to share our 5 key takeaways from the experience, from the perspectives of a competitor, mentor and employer.


There is something so rewarding about coaching another person to meet their goals, and then seeing them achieve them. It’s the understanding of how that achievement will make the mentee feel, the confidence it will bring them, the sense of pride they will now hold, and hopefully the feeling of being supported unconditionally by those around them.

It’s a very different feeling to achieving a goal yourself, but in our experience, it feels even better.


The sheer determination and hard work we saw from every young person who competed in this competition is something that impressed us a year ago, and continues to today. Each and every one of them trained for countless hours for  12 months prior, having begun training before regionals, and then ramping it up in the lead up to the national comp. They put in huge physical days during the event, and we never once heard a complaint.

It was clear that these young people were willing to do what it took because they loved what they were doing. They had found the career that motivated them, they were supported, and nothing was going to stand in the way of them completing this competition and being their best.


We watched not only the painters, but a large number of other trades over the course of the event. Some trades worked in pairs for the duration of the competition, including visual merchandising and landscaping. These pairs of people represented the same state, but were not necessarily from the same region or TAFE, and were paired up for the purposes of the national competition only. Watching the relationships (of the landscapers especially) evolve over the 4 days was heartwarming, and seeing their mutual relief and elation when the final buzzer went off was really moving. These duos have no doubt formed friendships that will last a lifetime thanks to this experience.

In our own section, the competitors worked as individuals, but still supported each other for the duration. We watched as they interacted at the end of each day, checked out each others’ booths, and genuinely complimented each other on their work. The bond that was developed amongst the painters and amongst us as mentors and families of the competitors was strong, so much so, that we remain in contact today, and are so excited to see them all thriving in their respective states.


The memories we all hold dear to us from this experience are not those from the awards night, but are from the competition itself. There were far more greater “wins” than a place on the podium, that will serve Max and all of the competitors well in their careers to come.

They had to think outside the box to fix problems on the fly, to work with finesse (some of their work was measured against a scale with millimetres only of tolerance), and they had to work to tight deadlines and with extreme discipline when it came to time management. Simply to complete the requirements by the end of the competition was an achievement in itself. These skills that they developed, along with their proven commitment and dedication to the experience, are the real winners from WorldSkills.


What an experience that could have been missed! If you are ever provided with the chance to support a team member or a family member through a competition or similar experience for something that they are passionate about – take it. This was a fantastic development opportunity for Max and for us, and really helped to build a solid foundation and strengthen our working relationship.

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As painters, we are in the business of colour! From experience, we know how tricky it can be to select your all-important colour scheme. We have worked on multiple projects where clients have changed their minds about a colour choice early into the project as it “just doesn’t look right”, resulting in us repainting in a new colour, occasionally more than once!

In order to avoid you ever needing to do the same, we’ve compiled a few tips to keep in mind when selecting your colours for your next painting project.

The colour of something is the appearance that it has as a result of the way in which it reflects light”.


Lighting can have a huge impact on colour, and can completely change its look. As we all know, indoor artificial light is very different to natural light, but did you know that natural light can also change a colour depending on the direction the light is coming from?

Spaces that are lit by northern natural light remain the most neutral, whereas rooms lit from the east or the west can significantly change a colour. Eastern light tends to be a yellow light that is stronger of a morning, and western light can be so strong that it may even appear orange. In contrast, spaces lit by southern sun will have a bluer or cooler toned light that is relatively consistent throughout the day.

Given this, it’s always a good idea to sample your desired colours within your own space to see how it would look in reality, considering the way your space is lit.


Undertone is not something immediately apparent, nor is it something we’re inclined to consider at first glance, however the undertone of a colour can make or break a colour scheme depending on the lighting and colours used around them.

For example, a white paint with a green undertone may appear perfect until painted behind orange or warm coloured timber, at which point the contrasting warmth of the timber can make the cooler green undertone very apparent.

Undertone can be tricky to detect to the naked eye, especially in whites. It’s a good idea to hold a true white (such as Dulux’s Vivid White) up to the white paint you may be considering, which should bring out the undertone. From there, you know what you’re working with to either harmonise your colours with those of similar undertones for a well-coordinated colour scheme, or to intentionally create a contrasting colour scheme!

Alternatively, you may wish to bring the professionals in for a formal colour consultation, to let them guide you and provide their professional recommendation. We contract a team of qualified interior designers and colour consultants who can do just this, and whose services  are provided to you fee-free for any full internal or full external painting project.

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The task of undertaking a renovation is an exciting one! The chance to make a property your own by making the modifications you’ve chosen and adding your own flair is an opportunity not all are fortunate enough to come by, and should certainly be appreciated. Whilst exciting, we know that this can also be a very daunting process that can become quite expensive if you’re not careful.

We have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you with your renovation budgets, so if you’re a property owner who is considering (or maybe even in the middle of) a renovation, read on!


If your windows or doors are still trapped in the 80’s with a stale shade of mission brown, cream or silver, there is an alternative solution to trying to coordinate them into your new colour scheme, or replacing them! Using spray techniques, we can paint aluminium windows and doors in the colour of your choice, bringing them in line with the rest of your property. The finish is long-lasting, and looks as good as new.

The photos below were taken this week (July 2018) during a visit back to a project completed in Carindale in early 2016. The windows and sliding doors had been a very patchy and tarnished looking silver originally, and are now finished with Dulux Monument. The results were fantastic two and a half years ago when we first we completed the project, and still look just as great today. The facelift has proven to be durable and glossy, even in and around the latches and door hardware.


If your cabinetry or tiles are in a good condition (sturdy, chip free, and aren’t warped) but are in need of a facelift, it is also possible to repurpose these using a two-pack paint system.

Two pack paint systems are protective coatings that provide hard and durable finishes, in a semi-gloss or gloss finish. The durability and sheen level makes two pack paint systems ideal for painting tiles and cabinetry, again with a spray finish.

By painting these surfaces instead of replacing them, you would not only be able to save on costs, but would also have control over the colour choice and wouldn’t be restricted by pre-determined colour options available from retailers. When paired with new handles, the painting of cabinetry can completely change the look of a space, especially kitchens!

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You may have heard of the Dulux Accredited Painters program on the radio or on TV, or you may have even seen the iconic logo on vehicles of Accredited painters.

You may have heard of the program, but what exactly does it mean to be Dulux Accredited? And most importantly, what does it mean for you as a consumer?


Each Dulux Accredited painter has been hand selected by Dulux and invited to join the program based on their reputation for delivering exceptional workmanship and customer service, maintaining a high standard of professionalism, and for being a reliable organisation.

Upon being invited to the program based on their industry reputation, painters are then required to meet a range of strict selection criteria including providing Dulux with the contact information of former clients who will then be checked as references. Should the painter not meet the selection criteria or not receive excellent references, Dulux will revoke their invitation to join the program.


Along with their endorsement from Australia’s most iconic paint brand, each Dulux Accredited painter is required to:

  • Provide their own workmanship warranty of at least five years for residential projects,
  • Be fully licensed,
  • Hold at least $5m of public liability insurance,
  • Be actively monitored by Ebix Trades Monitor to ensure they remain fully licensed and insured, and
  • Comply with and uphold Dulux’s Charter of Values, which incorporates working with integrity, ensuring client satisfaction, delivering excellent workmanship, working in a sustainable manner, and adhering to health and safety legislation.

Whilst other non-Accredited painters may offer warranties and be insured, they are not held accountable to honour their warranties, and nor do they have to maintain their insurance (outside of the realms of their licence conditions). The knowledge that not only is a Dulux Accredited painter an excellent craftsman, but also that they are held accountable and are monitored regularly, provides peace of mind for you as a client.

There’s no additional cost for you to use an Accredited painter, although it is to be expected that being a painter of this calibre, their pricing would be equivalent to the quality of work you should expect to receive.

As a member of the Dulux Accredited program, we are proud to be endorsed by a company whose products we trust and utilise each day.

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Selecting the correct sheen level for interior painting

For those considering painting a room or two themselves, there are a number of things to bear in mind to ensure that you achieve the right finishes, and results that last. Preparation is crucial, and of course there is the all-important colour selection, but what about sheen levels?

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or confused (like our pup friend) whilst standing in front of shelves upon shelves of paint drums at your local paint store or Bunnings, read on for a few tips to get you started.


For the majority of ceilings, you’ll want to use a flat paint. Flat paint covers blemishes in plasterboard well, including covering joins between plasterboard sheets. It is easy to apply and is a lot less likely to show any stop and start marks left when rolling, some of which would be expected from a DIY painter. Whilst flat paint isn’t as washable as paints with higher sheen levels, this isn’t of great concern as our ceilings are lot less likely to need washing.

The exception to using flat paint is in bathrooms and separate kitchens. For these areas, where condensation and moisture are more likely (from showers, range-hoods etc), it is best to use a specific kitchen and bathroom ceiling paint. Kitchen and bathroom ceiling paints have a slightly higher sheen level, making them more washable and less likely to grow mould. This said, for kitchens that are part of an open plan area where the ceiling is continuous into other spaces, regular flat ceiling paint should suffice, as the openness of the space itself provides ventilation and air flow.


Low sheen is generally your go to paint for walls, whether they’re plasterboard or VJ boards. The added touch of sheen compared to flat paints does mean that stop and start marks or imperfections are a little more noticeable, so you do need to be consistent with your application. On a positive note, the added sheen increases the durability and washability of your walls, which is especially important for homes with children. Low sheen paint is still relatively easy to apply for a DIYer also.


For all “trims”, it’s a gloss or semi-gloss waterborne enamel paint that you’re after. Both gloss and semi-gloss paints are hard wearing and highly washable, which is ideal considering the surfaces painted in these are the most likely to be knocked and touched by grubby fingers. As for which sheen level you select, it’s really down to personal preference. Gloss provides a high sheen level, and is generally the more traditional detail paint as seen on fan lights in Queenslanders, or on picture/chair rails. Semi-gloss is slightly less luminous, and has a more modern and minimalist feel.

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What you need to know about painting warranties, and how to compare them

It’s normal for consumers to consider the warranty offered when purchasing a new car, mobile phone or whitegoods, but as yet, warranties don’t seem to be valued as highly when it comes to property maintenance, particularly painting.

Painting provides more than just a coat of paint in your desired colours – it protects your property. Paint forms a barrier between the elements and the bare substrates of your home, it protects from marks and water, and reflects light and heat (just think about the protection the paint on a tiled roof provides!). Given this, isn’t it reasonable to expect that your painting work is warranted to ensure that your property is adequately protected?

So, what does a painting warranty actually cover?

The first thing to note is that there are two distinct types of warranties when it comes to painting – the manufacturer’s warranty for the paint itself, and the painting company’s warranty for the application of said products.

Manufacturer's Warranty

The most important thing to note about warranties offered by paint manufacturers is that should a successful claim be made, it is only the paint itself that is replaced or refunded. There is no provision for the cost to have the product removed and reapplied, and nor is there any provision for replacement of paint if the failure is due to incorrect application in the first place. It is for this reason that it is important to consider the warranty being offered by the painting company.

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Painting Company's Warranty

A painting company’s warranty should protect you against issues caused by substandard workmanship. Whilst it is unreasonable to expect that a painter should warrant their work against external forces such as heat damage from a built in BBQ, it is reasonable to expect that a painter provides you with a warranty against flaking, peeling and blistering where the workmanship was the cause.

Here are our key tips for comparing and selecting a good painting warranty:

  • Make sure they offer one! A company who does not offer a warranty may very be well be capable, but where’s the motivation for them to provide you with a premium job if they do not have to be concerned about any failures in the future?
  • A warranty should always be given to you in writing. If a painting company refuses this, the chances of them honouring it later on are very slim.
  • Read the details of what’s covered and what’s not. We’d be cautious of a painter willing to cover any and all damage to their work – as we mentioned, there are some things outside of the painters control for which a warranty would not be reasonably expected. If a painter is covering these items and more, we’d be dubious as to whether they’d honour a warranty claim.
  • Ensure that the warranty being offered is a workmanship warranty, and is not a re-sell of the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Consider the length of the warranty offered. Paint may not appear defective immediately, and in fact can take around 2-3 years to begin to fail. Given this, it’s advisable to seek warranties of 3+ years to ensure that the painter is covering their work beyond the average failure period.

Refined Painting Projects is proud to provide our clients with a written 8 year workmanship warranty as a part of every quotation. Please contact us with any questions or should you wish to receive further information.

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Is painting the inside of my home or office harmful to my health?

Let’s have a go at testing our memory and senses to begin the day…


I want you to imagine the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning; let that warm, rich, and nutty scent consume you.


Think about the scent after rain has freshly fallen. It’s earthy yet clean, refreshing, and calming.


I want you to imagine the smell of freshly applied paint.

It’s not pleasant, is it? No doubt you have imagined a chemical-like, pungent odour that would be bound to cause a headache if you had to be around it for too long. It’s the memory of this smell that often causes people to ask whether painting the interior of their home or office can be harmful to their health.

Historically, paint has contained a higher quantity of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than it does today. VOCs are compounds that seep into the atmosphere as paint dries, which in high quantities can cause short term health problems such as headaches and nausea, long term health issues (with ongoing exposure) such as organ damage, as well as environmental damage and pollution. VOCs are also the cause of “that paint smell”!

Thankfully, VOC levels in paint have been significantly reduced in the last 10 years, meaning the health and environmental risks that once were associated with having your home or office painted have also decreased substantially. As well as the general level of VOCs in paint being reduced, there are manufacturers making paint with even lower levels of VOCs, which you will see specifically marketed as “Low VOC” or “No VOC” paint.

We always aim to use these low-VOC paints in our day-to-day work, though endeavour to do so especially when painting the interior of a property. If for any reason the paints we use are not low-VOC (special finish coatings for example), we will work with you to ensure adequate ventilation is created, with as little disruption to your senses as possible.

Rest assured that even we are using paints not specifically labelled as low-VOC, the risk to the health of your family, staff or yourself as a result of having your property painted every few years is very minimal. In addition to ventilating the area, we will also avoid working around people when possible, and ensure that paint is stored safely and securely for your peace of mind.

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