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 This makes it excellent for painting tired or outdated kitchen cabinets, old bathroom suites, and worn out furniture!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  • A great way to spruce up tired or outdated furniture without sanding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

    Linda Young

    After reading the reviews I purchased this product. Followed all the instructions carefully and was really disappointed. Whilst the paint keyed to the surface of the melamine bookcases it marked so easily and came off. Would never use this product again. Id painted cupboards in my en suite with great success a number of years ago so I will have to repaint using a different primer. Like I said was disappointed and a waste of money

    • Owatrol Team

      Owatrol Team

      Hi Linda,
      We are sorry to hear that you have been disappointed with your experience with our product. Could you please give us a little more information about the surfaces and paints used?
      The Owatrol Team

  2. Avatar

    Genny Lucena Verified Owner

    Excellent stuff. Never heard of it before but it was ideal for preparing varnished pine doors without sanding before coating with satinwood. Made a lovely wardrobe from our old pine doors.

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    I bought this product after stumbling across reviews for it. I used it on an “orange” pine dresser and then rollered with Rose and Craig paint – fantastic. I have now painted (again with a Hamilton roller) nasty white and gold melamine wardrobe doors using Valspar Superior Satin paint, wow – new handles added and they look fantastic. I’m singing Owatrol’s praises to everyone!

  4. Avatar

    Michael Hunt Verified Owner

    Excellent product, very easy to use and helped transform an out of date kitchen into a pure white product that visitors assume is a new kitchen

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    This product is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I applied it as directed, then waited about two hours to let it cure. The results were amazing. I painted a light-colored cabinet dark brown and it looks like a new piece of furniture. Highly recommended!

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    I bought this product about 15 years ago. At the time it was very new to the market and i wanted to try it. I still have the same tin with about half left….. I am still using it and am delighted to see i can still get it… It is brilliant ,and would never spend the time sanding again. I would and do recommend it to everyone. I upcycle a lot of furniture so find it invaluable.

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    james Catlin Verified Owner

    I am a lover of hard wood and most of my house is varnished hard wood. My wife wanted it changed she said it was to dark, I panicked because sanding and removing this varnish was going to be very hard and messy work. A friend told me about E.S.P. and I found this web site, It is the best thing I have ever used but don’t miss a bit or the new paint will chip off.

  8. Avatar


    Brilliant product, takes no time to apply and saves on time wasted sanding furniture. Just wipe it on, leave for 2 hours and then you can paint on top. Briiilant. (from Amazon.co.uk)

  9. Avatar

    Richard Baker

    I felt compelled to write and tell you about my experience with the Owatrol products I used when painting my dining room. To give you some background, I hate glossing with such a passion that with my previous houses I removed all skirting boards and doors and architraves, replacing them with natural wood. However recently we have moved into an old cottage and removing these items would not have been in-keeping with the structure of the cottage.
    Searching on the internet I people recommending Owatrol Oil and ESP, products I have never heard of before. After searching out the company on the web and phoning your help-line to find a local distributor I purchased both products. Unbelievable!!! The outcome is amazing. I have always wanted gloss that resembles the finish on car body work…well now I have found the product that delivers such a finish. Just a few words of gratitude from a new life long customer of the Owatrol products.

  10. Avatar


    Got fed up to exhaustion with rubbing down varnished wood and had lots of awkward access wood to do next (rubbing down above head etc) . As the surfaces I needed to paint do not have any impact/heavy wear potential (which chip//flake etc without proper prep) I decided to risk using ESP . Fabulous result. Took me 20 mins to do entire understairs to loft extension with ESP and maybe another 5-10 to wipe off excess etc….and a few minutes later started to cover more than adequately with undercoat white paint. End result now glossed in white is just fine and considering it was quite dark stained and varnished wood it was well worth the investment. May try on heavier wear surfaces in future. ESP flows like a spirit so it covers well with very little of the fluid. (from Amazon.co.uk)

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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