How to protect sockets and light fittings while decorating

Decorating can be a messy business at the best of times. Paint gets everywhere if you are not careful and once splattered on carpets and soft furnishings, it’s impossible to remove. You also need to protect fixtures and fittings, such as electrical outlets, light switches, and light fittings. Otherwise, they too will be covered in paint, and once paint dries on plastic, it doesn’t come off easily.

Preparation is everything when you are embarking on a decorating project, large or small. The better prepared you are, the less likely you are to make an expensive mess. Read on for a guide to protecting electrical outlets and light fittings.

Identify all the Electrical Outlets

If possible, empty the room of as much of the furniture and clutter as you can. It is a lot easier to decorate a room when it’s empty, as you then have plenty of space to cover the floor and manoeuvre your step ladder.

Once everything has been removed and the remaining items stacked up away from the walls, check how many plug sockets and light fittings you have. Examine each one to make sure it is in good condition and doesn’t need replacing.

Fix Damaged Electrical Outlets

If you spot any damaged switches or sockets – or loose ones – ask an electrician Essex to take a look. Trade Facilities Services can send an electrician in Essex to check the electrical installation, fix problems, and even carry out an EICR test if you suspect there are bigger issues than one dodgy socket. Remember, if this is a rental property, you must have the electrical installation checked every five years and give a copy of the test report to your tenants.

After any damaged outlets have been fixed and you are ready to start, it’s time to apply some protection.

Use Plastic Bags to Protect Sockets and Light Switches

Masking tape is useful for protecting small areas, but some cheaper masking tape doesn’t adhere well and can sometimes fall off at an inopportune moment. For maximum protection, carefully unscrew each mounting plate from the wall and pull it away a short distance. Grab some nappy sacks or small food bags and wrap one around the socket or light switch. Tie the bag in place or use masking tape to seal it. These can be removed and the fitting screwed back into place once you have finished painting (be sure to keep the screws somewhere safe!).

The best way to protect expensive light fittings is to remove them completely and replace with a temporary cheap pendant set and a high wattage bulb, so you have more light if you’re decorating in the evenings. If you’re not comfortable with basic wiring or the light fitting is difficult to reach, ask an electrician to disconnect it for you.

Your other option is to use a large plastic bag and cover it completely, protecting the ceiling rose with masking tape. If you use this method, don’t switch the light on.

Finally, if you have a very careful hand, you might want to use a small brush to paint around fixtures and fittings. But be careful when painting walls and ceilings, as small droplets tend to travel a long way and are not always visible until white paint on plastic turns yellow with exposure to UV light.