The Right Painting Tools Make All the Difference
A successful professional-looking paint job is not done with just a paintbrush, roller, and can of paint. Many tools and accessories play their parts in creating vibrant colors with beautiful finishes.
Once the wall preparation is complete, maximize the appearance and finish of the paint you select with the right tools. The right brush, roller, and other accessories will make all the difference.
The Right Tools
Tape & Masking
Tape is an inexpensive item that is available in hardware or craft stores. It helps avoid painting mistakes and makes your project more productive. Use it to ensure straight lines, prevent overlaps, and avoid getting paint on other surfaces like the baseboards, molding, or ceiling. Be sure you use painter’s tape, not masking tape. They are not the same thing. Don’t find out the hard way.
Paintbrushes come in a variety of sizes, end types, and bristles. A high-quality brush can mean a better-looking job with less effort. Plus, it holds more paint, applies it more evenly, and the hairs will not shed and stick to the wall. Sherwin-Williams explains the different types of brushes.
Types of Brushes
- Natural-bristle brushes made with animal hair are for applying oil-based paints, varnishes, shellac, polyurethane, and other oil-based finishes. Their natural “flagging” (splitting or fuzzy tips) create split ends in the bristles that allow them to hold more paint and assure a smooth paint release and finish.
- Blended nylon/polyester brushes are easy to clean and work well with all types of latex paints. The combination of nylon’s durability and polyester’s shape retention is the mark of a high-quality brush – one that also produces a high-quality paint finish. What’s more, these durable brushes are built to handle numerous projects. So, with proper care, nylon/polyester brushes should last for years.
- Polyester brushes are best for latex paints. These brushes hold their shape and stiffness in any paint and apply paint smoothly and evenly.
Sherwin-Williams paintbrushes are available in widths from one to four inches. The size you select is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is:
- 1″ to 2″ | window and other small trim
- 3″ | glossy paints for doors and cabinets
- 4″ | large, flat areas
Brush End Types
- Chisel Trim Brush – slanted bristles produce a good, straight line for trimming corners and edges.
- Square Trim Brush – bristle ends are cut square and used primarily for applying paint over flat areas.
- Angled Brush – bristles are cut to make it easier to apply paint to the window trim.
- Thin Angle Sash – slanted bristles and a thin profile produce a good, straight line for trimming in corners and edges.
- Angle Sash – features slanted bristles and holds more paint than its thin counterpart. Excellent for cutting in at the ceiling or painting trim.
- Flat Sash – bristles are straight across and used primarily for applying paint over flat areas.
- Trim – a flat brush that is excellent for painting large flat surfaces, especially exterior siding.
- Wall – a thick flat brush that holds a larger amount of paint. Excellent for painting larger surface areas.
Rollers help you paint large, flat surfaces in much less time than a brush. They are also excellent for use on all walls, stucco, concrete, or any other flat surface. Here are some options to consider when purchasing a roller cover:
Roller Cover Material
- Nylon/polyester: Synthetic roller covers are ideal for applying latex paints. They resist matting and hold their shape for a smooth finish.
- Natural fiber covers: Roller covers made from natural fiber including mohair and lambswool. They are ideal for oil-based coatings.
- Blended covers: Roller covers made from a blend of natural and synthetic fibers are excellent multipurpose covers and can be used with all paints.
The standard roller length is nine inches. For smaller areas, a four-inch or seven-inch roller cover may be used. For larger area walls and floors, 14-inch and 18-inch rollers may increase productivity.
Roller covers vary in nap length. The nap is determined by the surface texture to be painted:
- 1/4-inch, 3/16-inch: For very smooth surfaces like metal doors and plaster.
- 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch: For smooth and semi-smooth surfaces like drywall.
- 3/4-inch: For semi-rough surfaces like wood or a textured ceiling.
- 1-inch, 1 1/4-inch: For rough surfaces like stucco or a heavily textured ceiling.
- 1 1/2-inch: For extremely rough surfaces like concrete blocks.
As with brushes, the initial extra investment in higher quality rollers and covers will pay off in the final look and ease of application. Lesser quality roller covers may leave streaks or nap fibers on the painted surface. Sherwin-Williams Contractor Series line offers five varieties of high-quality roller covers.
- Polyester Knit is the most popular roller cover sold by Sherwin-Williams. Specially formulated for today’s latex coatings, the highly crimped fibers offer the best protection against matting.
- Soft Woven rivals polyester knit in popularity. Recommended for both latex and oil coatings, they do a fine job with gloss and semi-gloss coatings.
- Wool/Polyester Knit is a 50/50 blend. Fifty percent of the roller cover fiber is natural wool, which allows for greater paint pickup and delivery. Fifty percent is polyester, which helps the roller keep its shape during prolonged use. The blend results in an excellent balance of productivity and low matting.
- Merino Sheepskin picks up and releases more paint than any other roller cover. Many painters use Merino Sheepskin exclusively for any type of coating, claiming it lasts a long time with proper care.
- Mohair features a blend of soft natural angora mohair with synthetic fibers to produce the smoothest finish possible with a roller cover. Recommended for use with gloss and high-gloss coatings.
HANDy Paint Pail features a magnetic brush holder, adjustable strap, and paint scraper that withstands years of use. It is solvent-resistant and works with any paint or stain. The HANDy Paint Pail is easy to clean and makes wash-ups fast and effortless even without a liner.
HANDy Craft Cup holds 1/2 pint of paint or stain and has an ergonomic thumb-thru handle. The built-in brush scraper helps to eliminate drips and spills, making it the perfect tool for small paint projects, trim work, and crafts! It is made in the USA with biodegradable additives.
FlipTray for step ladders is an attachable product that accommodates 90% of all step ladders. It is made from engineering plastic and hardened metal components. It passed stress, load-deformation, and weathering tests.
Pour N’ Store Paint Can Lid helps you pour paint from a can without spilling it. Available in gallon and quart sizes, Shur-line Paint Can Lids provide mess-free pouring of any water-based paint or stain and fit most plastic and metal paint cans.
Cleaning & Storing Painting Tools
Clean and store your supplies so you can use them again and again, like Rosie’s favorite 20-year-old brush.
A paintbrush has a hollow separator right down the middle. That gap holds the paint so you can distribute it on the surface. It’s that hollow place you need to get clean.
- When you’re finished painting, rinse the brush under warm water until the water runs clear.
- While rinsing, repeatedly curl the bristles over your hand, from back to front, until you don’t see any more paint.
- Don’t dab the brush on the side of the sink; use your hand.
- Buy a steel “toothbrush” at the paint store and use it to scrape the bristles. That will bring paint that’s stuck in the separator to the middle. Rinse again after scraping.
- Use your wet fingers to comb the bristles into place. The way you put the brush up is the way it will look next time you use it.
- Most quality brushes come with a cardboard keeper that has a flap and string for storing the paintbrush. With care, your brush will outlast its keeper. Wrap the damp brush in a paper towel, fold carefully, and tape in place.
Always open paint cans with a paint key; never use a screwdriver, or you’ll bend the cover so you can’t store the paint properly.
- Use a wet scrunchie pad to remove extra paint from inside the lid and the channel around the top of the can.
- Put two layers of plastic wrap across the top of the can.
- Put the cover back on the can. Hit the top only with a rubber mallet to secure the cover.
- Trim the cellophane wrap off the edges of the can.
- Secure the top all the way around with non-air-permeable tape (duct tape) to create a tight seal.
- Turn the paint can upside down.
- Using a marking pen, write the date, name of the job, kind of paint, and the room or item it was used on the bottom of the can.
- Store the can upside down.
Stored paint cans should be flipped or shaken aggressively every six months.
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