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Painting with the Right Tools

This DIY Basic will provide tips on painting with the right tools.

More in Painting

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Gather Your Materials and Tools

For a professional look, always use the right paint tools.

Materials and Tools:

drop cloth
tack cloth
painter's tape
masking machine
paint scraper
sandpaper
sanding sponge
caulking gun
TSP
ladder
brushes
plastic wrap
paint roller covers
paint roller frames
extension poles
positive-locking pole
roller trays
ladder-lock legs
plastic tray liner
5-gallon paint bucket with roller grid

Step 3: Prep the Area

Cover floors and furnishings with clean, heavy-canvas drop cloths; old sheets and light-weight plastic will not block paint spatters; drop cloth comes in 4- to 12-ounce weights

A tack cloth is a varnish-impregnated, open-mesh cloth that picks up and holds loose dirt, dust, lint, etc.; use it to clean surfaces and to remove dust after sanding

All-purpose blue painter's tape is rated for interior painting; you can also get specialty tapes for glass, wood, stucco, brick, tile, and lacquer

Tip: Smooth bubbles and creases out of painter's tape with a plastic credit card.

Step 4: Sand the Walls

A masking dispenser is an automatic tool that will help you save time. It will ensure a tight seal around edges and trim.

A good quality, wide scraping blade removes loose paint as well as other material on wall or ceiling.

Sand walls and patches first with medium grit, then finish with fine grit.

A sanding sponge coated with abrasive grit lasts longer than sandpaper and molds itself around the object being sanded; great for trim and carved woodwork

Using a power sander to sand old paint will remove even more loose paint and give a smooth, new surface. Wear a dust mask when sanding old paint. Power sanders can also be used on new or old wood surfaces.

Tip: Before sanding, test paint chip for lead; if paint is lead-based paint, DO NOT SAND

Use trisodium phosphate to clean the walls.

A good quality, dripless caulking gun saves time and gives neater seals in cracks and seams

Heavy-duty ladders are much more stable and safer than light-weight models; add ladder levelers and stabilizers for more safety. Make sure your ladder is rated for your weight.

Step 5: Choose the Best Brushes and Rollers

Premium quality brushes last much longer than cheap models and make all the difference in paint results. For latex, use premium synthetic bristles, like polyester or nylon. For edges and trim, 2-inch, angled brush gives cleanest line

Wetting the brush makes latex paint adhere better.

Instead of cleaning brushes during short delays, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store in freezer

When it comes to paint roller covers, use only nap recommended by paint manufacturer. The narrower the nap, the smoother the paint surface.

Roller frames range from 3 to 16 inches in width; use narrower rollers for small spaces, wider rollers for large areas

Extension poles make painting high areas safer and quicker because you won’t need a ladder. Choose the proper length for the room.

Tip: A positive locking pole easier to use than a threaded broomstick.

Paint roller trays work well for small jobs; for large areas use a 5-gallon paint bucket with a roller grid.

Use ladder-lock legs to snap tray onto ladder.

To save paint and simplify cleaning, use plastic tray liners.

To clean paint out of bristles, run paintbrush comb through brushes

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