Painting can be a big job, but with the right tools the task will be easier and the finished product more professional. Here are nine essential tools.
- Masking tape will keep paint off of adjacent areas where you don’t want it, making your job decidedly easier. Most often this will be masking trim work from the walls and vice versa. While the old standby is blue painter tape, consider getting Frog Tape, (about $4.50) which is specially treated to prevent paint from bleeding through.
- Scraper. Arm yourself with a good hand scraper with a 2.5-inch flat edge and a slight hook on one side for digging out old caulk. Prices for a good one start at $6.
- Rags. Tear up old t-shirts for clean-up rags, or spend $10 on a bag of evenly sized, absorbent rags. You’ll need plenty of them.
- Drop cloths. Protect your floors from the inevitable drips and splatter. If you want a reusable solution, buy a thick plastic tarp or heavy cloth drop sheet. If you want to toss it after the job, a plastic sheet with a minimum thickness of 10 millimeters will work. Prices start at $11 and go up to $30 plus.
- Brushes and rollers. Good application tools make the job go smoother and turn out better. Pay a little more for brushes that will lay down a nice finish. The Purdy brand is one of the best. Brushes made with Chinex bristles handle paint best, can be used for water- and oil-based paints and wash out easiest, which means they can be reused. Depending on width, good brushes cost $15 and up. Rollers come in two parts: the roller frame with handle, and the cover, which is what applies the paint. Consult with your store’s paint adviser about the length of nap you need on the cover for the surface you are painting. Frames cost $10 and up while packages of covers are $8 plus.
- Bucket and tray. Do NOT paint right out of the paint can. For a big job, mix multiple buckets of the same paint in a separate five-gallon pail to blend any batch variations. Then pour into a hand-held bucket or roller tray. The best buckets are square, with a handle and a ribbed surface inside to wipe away excess paint dripping from your brush. Roller trays lay flat and are the width of your roller. Good buckets and trays start at $7.
- Extension pole. Use this telescoping aluminum pole with a screw tip for attaching a roller frame or other tool to paint hard-to-reach spots without using a ladder. Prices on a good one, with a textured grip on the handle, start at $22.
- A ladder. Rather than buy a step ladder or an extension ladder, buy one that does both, a multipurpose ladder that can be folded or extended, the sides lengthened or shortened. A quality multi-position ladder starts at $99.
- Sprayers. If you want to paint like a pro, buy an airless sprayer, then be sure to watch a few online instructional videos. Small sprayers usually have the paint reservoir attached while bigger floor models draw the paint from a bucket. The hand reservoir types start at $60. Floor models start at $300.