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Painting tools and equipment

Painting tools and equipment

Painting tools and equipment. Painting Of the hundreds of weekend tasks that DIY enthusiasts take on in their homes, the most common is the simple paint job. A vast selection of paints and finishes is now available for all surfaces, and recent additions to paint-makers ranges have increased the options considerably. This article guides you through the selection of painting tools and equipment, paint, offers advice on paint schemes and shows you how to tackle your paint job.

Designer’s notes :

Painting tools and equipment

To anyone approaching a makeover for the first time, the vast array of paints must be confusing. The latest paint technology has led to boasts that a professional finish can be attained by a novice. However, it is important to assess modern paints in terms of what they will do, and relate them to older-style paints that may have been used in the house.

Paint types :

The paint in your tin will be either water or solvent-based. Both types are made up of pigment, which provides the color, and a binder that holds the pigment particles together. This combination in water is generally called emulsion. In a spirit-based solvent it is known as oil-based gloss or eggshell. Decorators have traditionally used water-based emulsions for interior walls and oil-based finishes for woodwork, such as doors and surrounds, because they are harder-wearing.

Today’s technology allows the manufacturer to offer the choice of water-based gloss or satin paints for woodwork. These reduce the drying time considerably Traditional descriptions are altering, too. Skilk vinyl emulsions are often labelled ‘washable’ or  ‘wipeable’. Matt emulsion is referred to as ‘reflective’ also non-wipeable. Water-based gloss may be non-drip, no undercoat needed or ‘one coat only’. Often oil-based gloss is offered as ‘liquid gloss’, or, implying use by professionals, as ‘trade’ gloss. Don’t be misled by the ‘trade’ label into thinking that this paint is superior in some way it isn’t.

Painting tools and equipment

As you contemplate your choice of finish, consider only the durability of water-based versus oil-based paints. Oil-based is tougher, longer lasting and easier to dean. Water-based paints are easier to use, environmentally friendly) and the job is done in a quarter of the time. You will, however, need to repaint much sooner if you use water-based paints.

Choosing appropriate paints :


On walls and ceilings, which are particularly large areas to paint, don’t consider oil-based finishes unless you intend to apply a special effect such as tagging, in which case eggshell is ideal. Large areas of oil-based paint are unpleasant to apply environmentally unfriendly and time-consummate to change. Emulsions are designed for the job, but make sure your wall surfaces are suitable first.

Once you have a color scheme in mind, examine the room. What is the current state of finish? If it is a painted scheme on plaster, lining paper or wall covering that can be painted, and you are merely altering the colors, your task is straightforward because paint is the major decorating factor.

Perhaps the current finish incorporates wood cladding, tiles, or even a powerful wallpaper pattern that is to be retained on some of the walls. Your paint scheme must take into account what the room inherits from its previous life, and combine with existing materials to achieve a matching or contrasting effect.

Old and new together :

Retaining parts of someone else’s room scheme may seem unappealing at first, but don’t dismiss it out of hand. If the room has a particular feature that dominates it, then it may provide a better visual result if you work with it, not against it. If you like a particular characteristic, it makes no sense to remove or disguise it, and it can become the axis for the new scheme.

In any combined scheme, remember that decorating can be done wall by wall, slowly building up a new look. It doesn’t necessarily have to be drastically altered all at the same time. In the same way that you must consider what effect the floor covering, carpet or wood floor will have on painted walls, you have to view the walls themselves in relation to each other.


Primers / Undercoats

  • Knotting solution/Primer
  • Wood primer
  • Aluminum wood primer
  • Alkali-resisting primer
  •  Penetrating stabilising primer
  • Red oxide primer
  • Acrylic primer/Undercoat
  • Oil/Resin undercoat

Finishes/Top coats

  • Vinyl matt emulsion
  • Vinyl silk emulsion
  • Eggshell emulsion
  •  Gloss emulsion
  • Gloss
  • Eggshell
  • Smooth masonry paint
  • Floor/Tile paint
  • Ceiling paint
  • Textured paint
  • Radiator enamel

Adding to a scheme at any time has never been easier. Original paintings, prints or tapestries can be hung, small areas painted as a special effect, or rugs used on the floor. This slightly alters the overall appearance, and the way that the walls interact with it, particularly if the scheme is monochromatic and the main color theme is continued in the pictures.

As a final thought, you should consider carefully the condition of the walls when you are making your decisions. If you find wood cladding, paneling or very heavyweight wall coverings in the room, stop and ask yourself why they are there. What are they covering up? Many enthusiastic decorators have ripped off tongue-and-groove cladding only to find that the wall underneath needs to be taken back to the brick, damp proofed, sealed and replastered.

Practicalities :


It is important to take into account the function of the room area when choosing paint for a particular scheme. Entrance hallways, for example, may have hooks for wet hats and coats and a place where people remove muddy boots and leave umbrellas. Don’t consider a paint scheme that is not washable.

drowing room

Any wood here will need a tough finish, such as oil based gloss, or, if it is varnished, an exterior yacht varnish, to cope with everyday knocks.A wood cladding on the lower, more vulnerable, half of the wall may work to your advantage here.

The walls of the bathroom and kitchen should be washable, but the bathroom is a room that needs to be a warm and friendly place, so you Will want to offset the sometimes cold or austere feel of tiles and glass.

Rooms used by everyone in the home need to be both decorative and functional. These are the truly multi-purpose areas. The philosophy of change a little at a time is practical here. Children‘s rooms and play areas need paints that are washable and tough to withstand heavy us.


Two topcoats are a good idea, so that surface scratches do not reveal a different color underneath. Avoid matt emulsion paints in children‘s rooms, as these will become shiny where inevitable smudges and fingerprints have to be cleaned off. Go for paints with a silk or semi-sheen finish.


Bedrooms have to be more robust these days because often they double as teenage living space. However, bedrooms are more personal areas, and schemes can be the choice of the individual. The paint job can be bold and imaginative, whereas communal areas sometimes call for compromise. A scheme in the main living area, for example, of bold, pure, vivid colors, may have seemed spectacular when you were doing it, but even after a short while may become tiresome and rather irritating to the eye

Basic skills: guide to paint :

There is more to painting than simply choosing your ideal color. Sound preparation of the surface to be painted is a must, otherwise you risk having to redo it in the not too-distant future and ending up with a patchy appearance. You also need to know how best to store your paint and use the tools that are vital to the process.

On old walls you should use a stabilizing primer or a diluted mix of PVA. New plaster needs a plaster primer, although a stabilizer will do, but you must ensure that the new plaster is properly dry or you Will be sealing in damp.

Before applying paint to either wood panels or wooden cladding, coat the knots in the wood grain to stop them from seeping resin, which will show through the paint finish. Use knotting primer for this, followed by a primer, an undercoat and lastly a topcoat.

Traditionally primer was an oil-based paint, but acrylic primer and combined primer undercoat have now  gained in popularity due to their case and speed of use, and also because they are environmentally friendly. The latest technology offers gloss or satin finishes in a ‘non-drip’ form that requires no undercoat, just a primer.

Paint pots :

However good your paint job, accidental chips and scratches can occur, and a supply of retouching paint is always a good idea. A small amount of paint left in a can is best decanted into a suitable jar, with a lid, Before using the Paint. Types and Uses table on for storage. The more paint there is in the jar, the less air there is, and less chance of a skin forming on the top. Avoid getting paint around the rim of the jar or inside its lid, otherwise opening it some time later will be tricky. And don’t forget to label the jar.

A large volume of paint can remain in the original can. Many tradespeople then store this upside down. If you do so, make sure that the lid is hammered down securely or it may leak out. You may prefer simply to  invert the can for a few minutes in order to allow the contents to run around the lid seal, and then to store it the correct a way up.

Painting tools and equipment :

As with all tools of the trade, investing in cheap, badly made decorating equipment is a recipe for failure. There is nothing quite as expensive as trying to save money. An inferior tool can ruin a job or a finish by under performing at a crucial stage, so invest wisely. Here is a selection to start off your essential toolkit for painting.

Tools and equipment :

For walls and ceilings you will need a set of tools to take off the existing finish, and another set to put on the new scheme. Before you begin, always remember to protect the floor and furniture by covering them with large dust sheets.

Sugar soap and glass paper

If you are repainting a papered wall, you only need to ensure that it is clean household liquid soap applied with a soft cloth will remove grease. Make sure the wall is dry before you start painting. Repainting an emulsion on a masonry or plaster wall is easier if the wall surface is ‘keyed’ to receive the paint so lightly abrade the surface with medium, followed by fine glass paper.

Before painting over a gloss, satin or mart oil-based surface, with either oil-, or water-based paint, use flexible wet-and-dry paper to remove the surface ‘sheen’. Soak medium and line-grade glass paper in a bucket of hot water with sugar soap, an all purpose cleaner. Abrade the surface as before, using lots of water. Rinse the surface and dry it.

Brushes, pads and rollers :

Good-quality paint brushes will apply paint evenly, and will not shed bristles all over the wall, although cheaper versions probably will. Four sizes of brush are available  1.2cm /1/2in 2.5 cm/ 1 in, 3.8cm/ 1/1/2in and 5cm / 2in. This choice should suffice for any standard painting job. Larger sizes of brushes, up to 15cm/ 6in are available for working with, but they may make your hand and arm ache.

For painting larger areas, it is better to use a paint pad or roller. When painting always decant the paint into a kettle or bucket. Never paint straight from the can. The pad and roller will have their own loading containers, and as an option solid emulsion has its own tray.

The roller may be foam or fiber. Fiber rollers are available with different pile lengths. The i more uneven the surface, the longer the pile you will need. For large areas use rollers, and to reach small awkward places use radiator rollers.

Other equipment :

You can reach high ceilings by using an extension pole however, high comers will have to be done With a brush. Always use a stable stepladder that has an integral top platform for placing your brush and paint kettle. Masking tape and paint masks can be used to protect adjacent areas of color. If you do overrun, use a soft,damp cloth.

Maintenance :

Always clean the brushes, rollers and containers. Oil-based paints can be removed with white spirit, turpentine substitute or a brand-name brush cleaner and restorer. Water-based paint can be cleaned off in hot water and soap After brushing out excess paint on old newspaper work the cleaning solution well into the brush Remove partly dried paint with an old comb. Rinse and partly dry the brush with a soft cloth

Never leave your brushes to soak overnight the will end up With a ‘permanent wave’ that Will make accurate cutting-in of colors and pads, wash them out in their respective trays Squeeze the rollers and hang them up no dry


As your brush dries protect the bristles in clingfilm and wrap an elastic band around the end to  keep the tips square with the handle. This Will ensure that it always keeps its shape. Avoid leaving brushes soaking In a jar of brush cleaner too long because the bristles will splay out.

General preparation :

The finished job is only as good as your preparation. Walls and ceilings need very careful assessment before you reach for the roller and pries open the paint pot. They may need to have cracks repaired, and will need to be washed down (and possibly ‘keyed’) before you can apply emulsion or oil-based paint.

The qualities of paint :

A thick coat of paint cannot be used to disguise a bad wall. Paint contains a binder, and the binder’s job is to ensure that the colored particles (pigment) dry together on the wall as a continuous protective film, on top of, but not hiding, any bumps, cracks or imperfections. Even thickening agents used in non-drip paints will not cause jelly-like applications to dry out any other way than Hat on the wall. It is usually accepted that darker, glossier, more reflective colors show up imperfections more than pale, subtle tones, but this emphasis wall damage,  and the only proper course of action is to eradicate the problem during preparation.

Repairing  damaged walls :

Don’t be unduly worried, however, if your walls are not in pristine condition. Cracks and crevices in plaster are commonplace. New plaster frequently develops hairline cracks as it dries out, often Where large areas meet at an angle, such as a wall and ceiling.

A slight settling of the building on its foundations, or a small amount of subsidence, will result in fairly obvious cracks appearing in the plaster work on the walls and ceilings. Check all around the room thoroughly if this is the case. You may find other evidence of settling, where skirting boards meet the walls, and around door frame mouldings.

All these cracks can be easily made good, using a decorator’s pack of all purpose filler, Which comes in white powder form to be mixed with water. Cracks caused by movement that is likely to recur, Where the stair skirting joins the wall in the stairwell, for instance, should be repaired with a flexible filler. These fillers are available pre-mixed in cartridges, are usually applied by means of a simple-to-use cartridge gun, and have a nozzle that can be cut to fill a specific width.

Over painting :

Over painting wall areas with emulsion, whether in the same color or not, is a common task in the home. Provided your walls are sound, you only need to ensure that they are clean and free from contamination by dust, dirt and grease. Usually, household liquid soap, hot water and a sponge will do the job.

However, if a wall or ceiling has an unsightly stain caused by a leaking roof or upstairs appliance, you must seal It or It will quickly show through the new paint brush. The easiest way is to paint over the stain with oil-based gloss or eggshell in an appreciation color, allow it to dry and then apply the emulsion. Alternatively, stain sealers arc available in spray can form.

If the walls have an oil-based paint finish, eggshell or flat oil, then in addition to washing them down, you will need to provide a ‘key’ for the new paint Finish to adhere to. Lightly abrade the surface using abrasive paper wrapped around a sanding block.

Use medium paper for gloss and fine paper for eggshell. Alternatively, you can combine both operations by keying the surface while it is wet, using flexible wet-and-dry paper. Soak the paper in a bucket of soap and hot water for at least five minutes, while pre-washing the wall using a sponge. Using plenty of water, lightly abrade the wall surface to remove the sheen. Finally, wash down the wall with clean water.

Preparing paint :

It is important to read the manufactures instructions and familiarize yourself with information on the side of the can at the star of the job. Make sure the top of the paint can is clean before you open it. If you are not careful, any dirt there may fall into the paint once opened. Insert a screwdriver blade horizontally under the lip of the can and turn it slowly until it is vertical, repeating further around the rim to pries off the lid.

This minimizes damage to the lip, and it will make re-sealing easier. If the can is already half-empty, carefully remove any top skin and stir the paint. Any remaining tiny pieces of skin or debris must then be removed by straining the paint. This can be done by decanting the paint into a paint kettle or a bucket through a piece of stretched stocking.

Abrasives :

The generic term sanding down , referring part of decorating preparation and is still in common use, even though ‘sandpaper’ as such has not been commercially produced for many years. The modern equivalent glass paper and all other suitable abrasives are in stock at your local DIY store and are outlined here.

Preparing the ground :

Quality preparation is the key to a quality result, and a smooth surface is essential for a paint or varnish finish. This means rubbing down with the correct abrasive using the right materials speeds up the task and gives the best result. Some surfaces must be rubbed down dry (bare woods, surfaces containing water-based fillers), some wet (gloss paint that is being recoated), and some, such as floorboards, are suitable for both application.

Common sense will play a part in your decision. Wet abrading of water~soluble materials, including fillers, often leads to little more than a paste-like mess dry rubbing of dirty, greasy surfaces will clog the abrasive in no time, and be ineffective and expensive because the Paper cannot be reused.

Wet or dry ?

Traditionally, rubbing down a dry process, starting with coarser grades and finishing with liner ones, the finest grade of all often being referred to as ‘flour’ paper. With the legislation of the Lead Paint Act (1926) as a spur, whereby the dry abrading of lead-based paint was made illegal, manufacturers introduced a waterproof paper so that a lubricant could be used with the abrasive. Initially not a popular choice, because of its cost, it was used in coach finishing and other high-quality work, and general decorating workers continued to dry rub. Today, silicon carbide used with a lubricant is recognized as a real alternative to dry papers. It is faster and more efficient because of its cutting action, lasts longer, doesn’t clog easily, and can be rinsed clean in a bucket on site. This offsets its higher cost (it is four times the price of glass paper).

Today’s cutting edge :

The home decorator is able to make the same choices in buying and using as the working professional:

Conventional glass paper :

This is used dry, available in sheets 2.8cm x 2.3cm/1 1/8in X 7/8in, graded 3 (coarse) to 00 (very fine) or simply labelled coarse, medium and fine, depending on the manufacturer. It is suitable for hand or machine use. It’s cheap but clogs very easily and selection of inappropriate grades can result in scratching of the workpiece.

Aluminum oxide :

This is used dry, available in sheets, 2.8c, 2.3cm/1 1/8in x 7/8in, or in rolls 11.5cm/ 41/2, wide and sold by the roll or in meter length  cut from a roll or in precut sizes ready made for machine sanders. Graded in grit sizes, 40 grit(coarse) to 240 (very fine). Electra-bonded, with a grit size giving a more controlled cut, it is frequently used instead of glass paper because of its longer life.

Silicon carbide (wet-and-dry paper):

This can be used dry or lubricated if regularly rinsed in the wet application it is long lasting. Available in sheets 2.8cm x 2.3cm/1 1/8 in X 7/8 in  graded 100 (coarse) to 1200 (very fine), but frequently found in DIY stores as a decorator’s pack containing a couple of sheets of coarse, medium and fine flexible papers. Tough, flexible and long lasting When lubricated, it should be a first choice for painted surfaces.

Steel wool :

This can be used dry or lubricated, available as boxed rolls about 7cm/2 3/4 in Wide, or as pads Graded from 5  (coarse) to 0000 (very fine) often packed as a kit With coarse, medium and fine pads. Can be used as a cleaner or degreaser on flooring to scour wood flowing the use of water washable paint remover or to apply waxes to prepared surfaces. Always were gloves to use it.

How to paint :

It might appear that painting is a perfectly straightforward procedure, but there are numerous tips on the selection of your brush, roller, pad or aerosol that can make the task much easier. If you know how to apply the paint properly and what sort of stroke to use, the result will be much more pleasing.

Using a brush :

Always select a brush of a suitable size for the job and make sure that it is clean. Ensure that the bristles are in good condition by working the brush up and down on a dry surface. This will cause any dust and defective or loose bristles to fall out. For very small wall areas, for blending in and For finished detail work on roller painted walls, use a small brush, 3.8cm/ 1/2in or 5cm/2in size. Hold it between your thumb and fingers on the metal casing, or ferrule, which encases the bristles.

Larger brushes, although quicker initially, will soon become tiring and difficult to control, and are no substitute for a roller. However, if you decide the large 15cm 6in brush is for you, then you will find it easier if you hold it by the handle.

If emulsioned surfaces, the easiest to paint, do not dry out uniformly flat, simply apply a second coat. Oil-based finishes must not dry out at the edges before the entire surface is finished, or the brush strokes will be obvious, so blend in the wet edges continuously as you move from side to side across the surface. Frequent changing of the direction of the brush stroke will result in a more even distribution of paint.

Using a roller :

A paint roller is the most time-efficient way of applying a water-based Finish to a large area. The only shortcoming is that you cannot butt up to other color surfaces or into corners, and you will need a small brush to complete the job. Oil based paints are equally easy to apply, but they will retain some of the texture of the roller in the finish, whereas emulsions all dry flat. If an absolutely dead flat finish is needed in an oil base, use a brush.

  • Select a suitable roller sleeve for your wall, remembering that the smoother the surface, the shorter the pile required.
  • Pour the paint of your choice into the reservoir of the paint tray, level with the ribbed rolling area.
  • Immerse the roller sleeve in the reservoir, then roll it out gently on the ribbed area to ensure an even distribution of paint.
  • Apply the roller to the wall using even pressure throughout, in vertical overlapping strokes.
  • Finish off by changing to horizontal strokes, which will ensure an even coverage.
  • Don’t try to cover too big an area each time you load the roller. You may End it helpful if you visualize your wall broken down into imaginary squares and then fill one at a time.

If paint spatters onto adjacent surfaces as you roll out the paint, it’s because you are driving it too fast. This is always a temptation, particularly when using an extension pole to paint a ceiling. So slow down, and remember that paint splashes from above you can land on your head. Always wear eye protection.

Using paint pads :

Paint pads come in a variety of sizes and the larger ones can be used with an extension pole to reach ceilings. Edging pads are available to cut into corners and angles. Pads come with their own paint tray and special loading roller.Pour in your paint, and load the pad by running it back and forth across the ribbed cylindrical loader. Paint in vertical overlapping strokes to achieve a smooth even coat. While paint pads are simple to use, bear in mind that they carry less paint per loading than a brush or a roller, so you are likely to need an extra coat.


Using your second finger as a pressure guide on either the handle or ferrule of a brush can quickly result in a blister, particularly if you have soft hands. An astutely positioned sticking plaster, or even a length of masking tape wound around the finger, will protect against rubbing.

Try to keep the brush handle and ferrule free of Sticky semi-dry paint or varnish at all times, because  this exacerbates the problem.

Aerosols and spray guns :

Universally available in solvent or water-based form, aerosols are very useful for spraying small areas as special-effect patterns on a plain painted wall. Yet they are expensive, and require accurate and detailed masking. They are not suitable for spray painting an entire room. For this you would need to hire an electric airless spray gun with a changeable paint reservoir.

These guns have a viscosity measuring cup to ensure that the paint for the reservoir has been thinned down correctly.Useful accessories include a flexible extension nozzle, for spraying a ceiling, and more powerful models have a Fin adjustment control for flexibility of spray volume However, unless you are experienced in the use of guns, you are advised to choose another application method.

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