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ESP Easy Surface Prep

Bonds paint and varnish to all shiny and smooth surfaces

from 32 reviews
  • Forms a film on the surface for paints to adhere to - oil or water based paint including varnishes
  • Quick drying and odourless - ideal for confined areas
  • Paint over with your choice of finish after just 2 hours!
  • Suitable for interior and exterior use
  • Eliminates the need for sanding so saves you lots of time
  • Available in a handy 1 Litre bottle
32.84 including VAT (26.70 excluding VAT)

ESP Easy Surface Prep is a wipe on/wipe off product which primes and prepares any shiny surface for painting. It completely eliminates the need for difficult and time-consuming sanding and leaves the surface ready for paint or varnish to bond to. It’s a safe and effective way to prepare any non-porous surface for painting and is ideal for use on ceramic tiles and melamine units.

It is easy on the hands, colourless, virtually odourless and can be wiped on and off with a lint-free cloth making it incredibly easy to use! Therefore, it is suitable for indoor and external use. ESP may be painted over anytime after 2 hours and up to 7 days later.

Why should I use Easy Surface Prep?

The benefits of ESP are self-evident:

  • Easy to apply
  • Eliminates the need for sanding
  • Does not remove or dull the old finish.
  • Paint over with any oil-based or water-based paint or varnish
  • Paint over anytime after 2 hours or up to 7 days later – so there’s no high-stress time frame!
  • It prepares all smooth or slick surfaces for painting or varnishing. Without a surface preparation such as ESP, the paint would quickly flake and peel.

Easy Surface Prep is suitable for interior and exterior uses including melamine, ceramics, lacquers, baked enamels, varnishes, paint, walls, furniture, radiators, the list goes on. This makes it excellent for painting tired or outdated kitchen cabinets, old bathroom suites, and worn out furniture! The simple fact that it eliminates the need for sanding should be reason enough to consider it – what a time-saver.

Ideal Uses for Easy Surface Prep (ESP)

  • Updating melamine kitchen furniture, great for revamping kitchen cupboards
  • Re-painting a bathroom without having to re-tile!
  • A great way to spruce up tired or outdated furniture without sanding
  • Upgrading cheap furniture, time to add some colour to those flat packs!
  • Suitable for use on baked lacquers and enamels, like lamps and ornaments
  • Even good for use on glass, it dries totally clear

Always read the Easy Surface Prep Product Information before using and follow the instructions carefully.

Surface Preparation

First clean and dry all surfaces to remove oil, grease and other contaminants and remove any loose and flaking old finish. For oily, greasy, waxed or varnished surfaces prepare by scrubbing with a green scourer or 00 steel wool soaked with ESP. Wipe clean after 5-10 minutes then follow the standard application instructions.

Application tools

  • Lint free cloth
  • Brush
  • Roller


Apply ESP generously with a clean, dry, lint free cloth. If ESP crawls or separates, the surface is not clean. Wipe off ESP and re-clean according to above directions before continuing. Leave to stand for 5 minutes then lightly wipe over the surface in one direction with a clean cloth to remove any excess ESP. Allow to dry for 2 hours. When dry, ESP may be left up to 7 days before applying the finish. If this time has passed, re-apply ESP as directed before painting.

Clean Up

Clean all tools and equipment with soap and water.

Things to Remember

  • Shake well before application
  • Do not thin
  • Ensure the new finish is compatible with the old finish
  • Use clean cloths to apply the ESP and change them regularly
  • Do not contaminate new clean ESP with old used ESP
  • Do not use ESP for dipping

32 reviews for ESP Easy Surface Prep

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  1. Avatar

    paul nash

    E.S.P worked so well on a fitted bedroom unit with emulsion paint we thought we’d try it on some Ikea kitchen doors instead of replacing them but with gloss paint for extra durability. If you follow the instructions it works perfectly especially with a gloss roller. Unlike the water based paint we found don’t sand the doors unless the finish has split (the E.S.P will just soak into the MDF and not form a barrier) and a 250grt between coats.

    The 1ltr goes a long way this is our second project with the same bottle.

  2. Avatar

    Daniel Borley

    Purchased this after reading good reviews. Followed instructions to the letter twice and no good at all. Paint simply smeared around on kitchen cupboards. Waste of £25 not to mentioned the ruined cabinets. Thanks for nothing!

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi Daniel,

      We are sorry your experience using ESP wasn’t successful.
      Having sold thousands of litres of ESP without a problem this is most concerning.
      May we ask that you send a contact number to; sales@owatroluk.com or call us on; 01582 592707 so we can speak to you further about this and get a resolution, please?

      All the best,
      The Owatrol Team

  3. Avatar

    Pauline Lupton

    Used for a run of 5 laminate wardrobe doors and very pleased with the result. Unfortunately when lifted dust sheets I had obviously spilled some Owatrol ESP on the carpet and it has dried. Any suggestions for removing. Many thanks

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi Pauline,

      Thank you for your query.

      For cleaning your tools after application, all that is required is soap and water so we would recommend trying this route first.
      If you are still having problems after this attempt, please feel free to give us a call on 01582 592707 and we will discuss further.

      I hope this was helpful.

      All the best,
      The Owatrol Team

  4. Avatar

    Lyn McFarlane Verified Owner

    Unlike all the other reviewers, I was very disappointed in this product. It was expensive but simply didn’t do what it said it would. I was trying to paint brand new cupboards from Argos so there was no need to wash with sugar soap. I followed the instructions to the letter but to no avail or at least, not much.

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi Lyn,

      Thank you for your comment regarding ESP.

      We are sorry your experience using ESP wasn’t successful.
      Even though your cupboards are new, sadly there could have potentially been some dust or other contaminant on the surface, which could have caused the ESP not to adhere to the surface properly.

      If you have any questions regarding the use of ESP, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

      All the best,
      The Owatrol Team

  5. Avatar

    Connie Broderick

    I have been in the painting business over 35 years. E.S.P. is an amazing product. People who have problems with it staying on the surface have usually not cleaned the surface properly first. It is ideal where you want to paint a shiny surface that is not damaged (no filling needed) Also other products require you to brush on a primer which means more brush marks for the DIY painter. I have used it on cupboards, on gloss painted surfaces, in areas of heavy traffic etc. and monitored the areas over time. Any chipping that has occurred has always has been beyond the E.S.P. surface to the bare material. Cannot recommend it enough.

  6. Avatar

    Victoria Verified Owner

    After reading reviews and watching demos, I had high hopes for this and I truly haven’t been disappointed. I used it in the kitchen so I could paint all the cupboards, doors, skirting, and anything else I could put a paintbrush on. I chose this because the last thing I wanted to try and do was sand down every surface, especially with January/February weather. So far, I have had no problems with the painting, it really has done the job. Time will tell on how well it lasts, but covering each surface after prepping with ESP has been a real joy, the paint covered great. I can’t recommend this enough, if you’ve got a big awkward job on, or even something small, try this out.

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi Victoria,

      Thank you so much for your kind words and 5 star review – we are happy that ESP allowed you to gain the desired finish you were after in your kitchen.
      If you have any before and after photos (or just after) we would love to turn this into a case study for our blog.
      If you are happy to do this, then please send the photos to sales@owatroluk.co.uk

      All the best,
      The Owatrol Team

  7. Avatar

    Barry Verified Owner

    I have used this on wooden kitchen cupboards and melamine kick boards. Being items in the kitchen I thourougly degreased with sugar soap and then applied. No rubbing down or sanding required. So much quicker and easier. A couple of coats of Farrow & Ball paint, perfect finish. This will be used on all future paint jobs.

  8. Avatar

    Barry Verified Owner

    I have used this on wooden kitchen cupboards and melamine kick boards. Being items in the kitchen I thourougly decreased with sugar soap and the applied. No rubbing down or sanding required. So much quicker and easier. A couple of coats of Farrow & Ball paint, perfect finish. This will be used on all future paint jobs.

  9. Avatar

    Joyce Verified Owner

    I don’t usually review things, but I’m so pleased with ESP. A bit about me – I’ve done a fair bit of DIY and learnt that preparation is key to a good job. I’ve also learnt it’s time consuming and a pain to do it properly. I’ve transformed a tired and dated oak kitchen into the new house I’ve moved into, into what looks like a completely different and new kitchen using ESP. The units look fantastic! I’m planning a new kitchen in a new extension, so didn’t want to spend a lot of money or invest a lot of time to make the present kitchen look better. After finishing the kitchen units, the tiles didn’t go with the new colour, so I used ESP and painted them white. So far, so very good. They look amazing. The paint is adhering really well. The ceiling had a varnished pine ceiling, which I washed, but thought I’d be lazy and just tried painting it. What a mess. Orange resin stains were everywhere. After applying ESP and giving it another 2 coats of paint, the results are incredible! I honestly do not think I would have ever covered them just using paint. From a horrible dated and orange pine ceiling I now have a funky painted one. The outside door is such a mess and really needs replacing, but after the ESP treatment, it’s giving it a new lease of life with very little effort. It looks so different. Same result with a badly varnished bay window. I wish I could show you!!
    I followed the instructions to the letter. Just one thing, I should have made a better job of wiping glass after applying the ESP as it is hard to clean off the glass when it has set. Oh and a little ESP goes a long, long way. The bespoke kitchen fitter who fitted my wardrobes couldn’t believe the finish of the kitchen units.
    I highly recommend ESP – it’s brilliant.

  10. Avatar

    Tim Pye

    If you have old lead paint then avoid causing a toxic dust hazard by using ESP rather than sanding it. I have found success with ESP on internal painted and varnished wood.

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This coverage indication is only a guide and actual coverage is dependent on surface type, age, porosity etc.
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Coverage: 18m2 per litre
Tools: Brush, Roller, Rag
Suitable for: Exterior & Interior use
Clean up: Soap & water
Drying Time: 2 hours
Re-coating Time: Between 2 hours and 7 days
Suitable Surfaces: All shiny surfaces