Having the proper paints tools is the key to an efficient quality finished project. You don’t need to have all kinds of fancy painting gadgets and accessories, just the one’s most pro painters use every day.
An Actual Paint Can Opener
While you can pry open paint cans with a screwdriver in a pinch, you’re bound to damage the lid and affect the seal of the can when you re-close it. You’re much better off purchasing a paint can opener. When the painting day is complete it doubles as a beer bottle opener.
Use Painter's Tape
Painter’s tape has a less aggressive adhesive than ordinary masking tape. Since it sticks so well it will tear as your removing it and make the simple job of tape removal much more time consuming. If don’t remove masking tape right away the problem is even worse. Even with painter’s tape, it’s best to pull the tape free as soon as you’re done painting to prevent it from tearing or even lifting off your fresh paint. Properly masking off a room for painting is rarely done well by amateurs.
A Small Putty Knife is a Must
You’ll use it for embedding painters tape into woodwork for a tighter seal, which keeps paint from seeping behind the tape onto the wood. You’ll also use it for scraping away grime; paint drips and even cutting clean tape joints at inside corners.
Buy Quality Rollers
Spend at least $5 on roller sleeves with a nap depth of ½ to ¾-in. Cheap roller sleeves don’t hold paint and will leave roller lint embedded in the fresh paint. They also may have cardboard rather than plastic liners, which make them almost impossible to clean for reuse. Sleeves with naps that are under ½-in. make for more work because they don’t hold enough paint. They’ll show more roller marks and because the coat is so much thinner, you’ll never get away with a single coat.
Buy a Good Roller Frame
Like cheap roller sleeves, cheap roller frames are no bargain either. A quality frame will last forever, and hold the sleeves from slipping off the end of the frame while rolling. A 9-in. frame for wide-open spaces and a 3-in. one for areas too narrow for the wider roller are the best choices.
Extendable handles are used to gain leverage, reach, and the strength of two hands and arms. They speed up the rolling time and save wear and tear on the wrist and hand. You can get buy with an ordinary broom handle but if you plan on doing lots of painting in your lifetime, it’s well worth investing $25 on a good handle.
2-1/2 in. Sash Brush
A sash-brush has an angle on the end of the bristles. It was originally designed for cutting in around window sashes. This is my go-to brush style for any cutting in done at inside corners, against ceilings and around woodwork before rolling the walls.
Never use plastic sheathing for drop cloths. Canvas drop cloths are easier to spread, and are non-slip so they’re much safer. It’s well worth investing in at least two different canvas cloths. One that’s 10x12-ft. or so for large areas and a long, narrow “runner” style. That type works great for hallways, stairs and to lay along walls to take care of drips while cutting in and rolling.
Deep Roller Trays
A conventional roller tray is fine for small rooms. Plastic ones are the way to go. You really don’t even need to clean them after the job is done. Just pour the excess paint back in the pail, let the paint dry in the tray and you can start add more paint right over the dry stuff. After a few layers, just peel away the sheet of dry paint and start all over.
5-Gallon Bucket and Painting Screen for Big Jobs
If you have large or several rooms to paint, those are the tools to get. Pour a couple of gallons of paint into the bucket, mix well and drop the screen over the bucket lip. It makes quick easy work of dipping, screening off the sleeve and applying paint to the wall.
For cutting in you’ll want a dipping bucket that you can carry around with you to dip your brush in. An empty paint can will get the job done, but I like the HANDy Paint Pail (about $10 at home centers) or a 2 gal. bucket with a small paint screen. That way you can keep a 3 inch roller and brush in the bucket. The hand strap makes it very comfortable and convenient to use. A magnet holds the brush ferrule to keep the brush out of the paint while using and you can even get disposable liners so you never have to clean out the container.
If you already have a 6-ft. ladder you’re fine. But if you need to buy a ladder, a 4-ft. one is perfect for painting the average room. It’s high enough for cutting in 8-ft. ceilings and small enough so you can move it around with one hand.