For most home improvement
projects, choosing the right tools for the job is half the battle.
Fainting is no different. So before you grab the first brush or
roller cover you spot on the store shelf, bone up on some basics.
Because of the abundance of quality, specialized painting products
on the market today, you’ll have no trouble finding the right tools
for your job. With this information, you’ll know how to make the
A good roller can be invaluable to your painting project.
Inexpensive and efficient, this simple tool can save you time and
energy. Rollers are commonly used for painting large wall areas,
ceilings, and floors. Two simple components make up the roller: the
frame and the cover. Covers are easily changeable, according to the
job at hand.
SELECTING A ROLLER FRAME
Choose a standard 9” (23 cm) roller with wire frame and nylon
bearings. Check the handle to make sure the molded grip is
comfortable in your hand. The handle should also have a threaded end
so you can attach an extension handle for painting ceilings and high
SELECTING A ROLLER COVER
Roller covers, or pads, come in either synthetic or natural lamb’s
wool and are available in a variety of nap thicknesses. In general,
synthetic covers are used for water-based paint; while lamb’s-wool
covers are used for oil-based paint. Select roller covers with
longer-lasting plastic interiors, as opposed to the cheaper
Short-nap roller covers
have 1/4” to 3/8" (6 mm to 1 cm) nap. Choose short nap covers for
applying glossy paints to smooth surfaces like wallboard, wood, and
Medium-nap roller covers
have 1/2” to 3/4” (1.3 to 2 cm) nap. These are com monly called
all-purpose covers. They give flat surfaces a slight texture and are
a good choice for walls and ceilings with small imperfections.
Long-nap roller covers
have a 1” to 11/4” (2.5 to 3.2 cm) nap. Choose long-nap covers for
painting textured surfaces including stucco and concrete block.
Paintbrushes fall into two basic categories:
natural bristle and synthetic bristle. Do not assume that natural is
better, which was once the common wisdom about paint brushes. In
fact, natural-bristle brushes should only be used with alkyd, or
oil- based, paint. If natural-bristle brushes are used with
water-based paints, the bristles will bunch together. Choose
synthetic-bristle brushes for water-based latex paints.
Look for quality. A bargain
brush will save you a few dollars but may well cost you more in the
long run. Invest in a few quality brushes; with proper care, they
should last through many paint projects. As a starting point, choose
a straight-edged 3” (7.5 cm) wall brush, a 2” (5 cm) straight- edged
trim brush, and a tapered sash brush.
A good brush has a strong,
hardwood handle. Dense bristles should be flagged, or split, at the
ends. Always check to make sure the bristles are attached securely
to the handle. If some pull out when you tug, you can expect the
to fall out into your paint job. The metal band, or ferrule, should
be firmly attached. Inside the bristles, check that the spacer plugs
are made of wood, not cardboard, which may soften when wet.
A 1 1/2 (3.8 cm trim
brush works well for painting narrow woodwork.
A 2" (5 cm) trim brush
works well for painting woodwork and windows.
Choose a 2" (5 cm)
tapered sash brush for painting windows.
Choose a 4" (10 cm) brush
walls and ceilings.
Paint pads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate
many different tasks. Use these foam pads with water- based paints.
Small pads with tapered edges are helpful for painting narrow areas
like window trim or louvers, while the larger sizes can be used on
wall surfaces. Specialty pads are available for painting corners and
hard areas. Paint pads generally apply paint in a thinner coat than
a brush or roller, so additional coats may be necessary.