Many homeowners looking at getting their property painted would be surprised to hear that there isn’t a whole lot separating DIYers and paint professionals. Of course there are still many reasons to go with a professional including time, safety, insurance liability, and a quality guarantee.
Aside from talent and experience however, the biggest thing that makes a painter a professional is the tools. Professionals have an arsenal of painting tools and accessories at their disposal that make a job faster, easier, and ultimately better looking.
Tool access would be another reason to hire a professional for larger paint jobs. It sounds less expensive to do a DIY paint job until you start buying all the necessary tools for a high quality job. If you don’t get the tools, then the job takes longer and thus your cost savings start to dry up too.
But painters just need a brush and a bucket, right? To get the most out of the job in terms of appearance, longevity, and resale value, here are some must have painting tools to consider:
Believe it or not some people think the preparation of a room is harder than the actual painting. It’s true that taping off a room can be time consuming and frustrating especially if your hands are sweaty and dirty.
A paint tape dispenser is a must-have tool. The device applies the tape in one continuous strip and has a felt pad that safely rubs along surfaces. The best dispensers have an edge to apply the tape in a straight manner as well as rollers that create a firm seal. They also have a small blade for a precise cut and an even start on the next job.
After preparation by taping, you want protection by covering. Canvas is the preferred material for paint drop cloths because it is durable enough so that the liquid won’t bleed through in a spill. The best drop cloths also have a rubberized backing that can grip the floor and also add an extra layer of protection.
We’re not quite ready to paint yet because our final prep-step is about securing access. An extension pole is a must-have tool if you’re going to be painting ceilings or high up on walls. Those painters who have worked with extension poles for awhile use them all the way down to about eye-level. The poles allow you to use more leverage and force which ultimately applies a better coat.
Two types of ladders are your best recommendations for painting. The first is a platform ladder if you’re going to be doing interior rooms only. These 6-foot ladders provide enough height to reach ceilings and the tops of walls and also have a convenient stand on the top to rest your tray, bucket, putty knife, etc.
The other popular route is to buy an articulating ladder. These are the ‘all-in-one’ products that can serve as a step ladder or be adjusted to an extension ladder. The articulating devices have numerous settings when you pull out a pin and slide the tubes in different manners. They are especially useful for painting as the legs can be adjusted to different lengths to allow painting going up stairs.
Brushes are a must for cutting regardless of whether you decide to do rolling or painting with a spray gun for the rest of the job. You’ll want natural bristles for oil-based paints and synthetic for water based. 2-1/2” angle brushes work best for cutting while 4” to 5” straight edge models are best for doing larger flat surfaces.
It can be a bit much to climb a ladder while holding a paintbrush in one hand and a tray full of paint in the other. Platform step ladders are nice for setting the tray down but a metal paint tray takes that convenience to the next step. Hooks on the tray turn any step ladder into a platform ladder. The tray is made of metal so it’s more durable than the plastic ones and easier to clean. You can use plastic tray liners or something as simple as a plastic grocery bag since the metal is so stout.
Instead of hand scrubbing rollers or buying cheap ones to throw away after each use, a roller cleaner is a must-have paint tool. These work by putting the roller in a plastic tube and then running water through that tube. Once the water coming out of the other end of the tube is clear you know the roller is cleaned.
This is only the tip of the iceberg for paint tools that make your job easier. Depending on how detailed you want to get there are edgers, drill bit attachments to mix the paint, spouts to pour paint into the tray, bucket buddies, and more.
Daniel has been scrubbing down walls, cutting in lines and perfecting wall painting for many years through DIY techniques, since he first started working on fixing up his old family home. Home improvement has become a passion of his and he aims to share some tips and techniques to others. He is a writer for PaintAccess