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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 This makes it excellent for painting tired or outdated kitchen cabinets, old bathroom suites, and worn out furniture!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  • A great way to spruce up tired or outdated furniture without sanding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

    David Cullen Verified Owner

    Used on kichen cupboards. Wiped first with sugars oak then brushed this on.
    Dried very quickly and effectively. Coated up next morning and got a great finish.

  2. Avatar

    Clive Talbot-Brown Verified Owner

    First time with this product. I have used an American product previously which included a suspended abrasive but basically worked the same way. I used Owatrol to prepare all gloss work for a flat refurbishment. It worked really well except where it picked up some dirt and I didn’t wipe it off and re-do the area. So, I would definitely recommend it as the gloss coat went on really well, but pay a bit of attention and don’t take liberties! Trade gloss went on as well as it would over undercoat. I have also used it to prep a melamine loft hatch for gloss paint and the results on that were perfect without undercoat or primer. This will be in my stock for all future decorating jobs, large or small.

  3. Avatar

    Richard Verified Owner

    Used this product along with zissner 123 undercoat paint on bedroom door furniture, which had a plastic shiny surface. Works well, although I did a test without proper preparation on another similar old spare door and found that the doors took the finished paint better if I cleaned down the surface thoroughly with a degreaser and then washed the surface thoroughly before applying ESP with a lint free cloth. I found a cloth easier than a brush. Once dry I undercoated with Zissner 123 and then over painted. You do need to be careful that you have no bits settle on the surface as they will show more on a totally smooth finish, and as I first found with the test door, if you try to pick it off when dry it will just take more of the surface off and it will look worse. So good preparation is worth the extra time for a good finish.

  4. Avatar


    Tried to establish if I could paint over a varnished door using this product and am left totally confused as the answer was to sand the area first. From the reviews I expected to wipe the area clean and apply the product, then paint after 2hrs.
    Not sure it does what it says on the tin.

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi John,
      We’re sorry to hear that you have been unhappy with your Owatrol experience. Could you give us some indication of who gave the advice to sand the area first as it doesn’t seem to be what we would suggest? You should be able to use ESP directly on a varnished door without the need for sanding.
      Many thanks,
      The Owatrol Team

  5. Avatar

    Crafter Verified Owner

    Quite an eye opener! Used this on a small melamine cupboard which I then painted with emulsion paint. I made a small mistake, and tried to scratch it off after two days drying. Nothing happened, so I had to repaint the area. Encouraged, I then used it on an old vase. This took emulsion paint beautifully. Currently looking for more things to paint…….

  6. Avatar

    Stacey Verified Owner

    Amazing. I’ve been able to paint over my old horrible melamine bedroom furniture and they look beautiful now. I’ve also used this on a large wooden dining table, it gives whatever surface your wanting to pain a good surface to stick to. It’s quick and easy to use, too. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  7. Avatar

    Malcolm Hogg

    I’ve used this many times over the years, even to prepare previously waxed skirting boards etc. The results have been very good indeed. Excellent product

  8. Avatar

    Ms Hardy

    Used this product for 1st time last week , I primed with esp then used eggshell paint to cover old melamine wardrobe doors in house just moved into and the results were unbelievable with new handles they look like newly fitted wardrobes and saved me a small fortune . Can’t praise this product enough . Friends and family were impressed

  9. Avatar

    Jacquie Carter Verified Owner

    Had a lovely email explaining that delivery may be a little later than anticipated but it was delivered earlier than expected which was a lovely surprise. The product does exactly what it says s it does, I love it! Would highly recommend it, it makes a tedious job so much easier!

  10. Avatar


    I used ESP on a recent internal wood/gloss job. If the doors skirting architrave etc would of been rough I would of preped by rubbing down U/C and top gloss.
    Fortunately the previous glossing was level and smooth with very little work needed other than a new lick of paint.
    I was hesitant in its use at 1st as I take pride and care in my work and aim for a perfect end result.
    Well I sugar soaped all the wood work, further wipe over with a clean sponge and water.
    Allowed to dry, then ragged on the ESP, as mentioned in a previous thread it does go along way.
    Around 20minutes later ragged all surplus ESP off then straight on top with oil based gloss, NO UNDERCOAT.
    I am very impressed with the results and would most certainly use again providing the surfaces to be painted were in a good state otherwise I would prep U/C and gloss.
    But yes an excellent product.

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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