12 Must-Have Tools to Make Your Painting Job Go Faster
You’re moving your mother into an assisted living facility and you’ve been tasked with painting her house to get it on the market to sell. Lucky you. You’re looking at a week or two of work and want to knock off a day or two by using the tools the pros use to get things done faster. What are those must-have tools to get the job finished before you run out of steam? All of these tools will speed up your work and I’ll include some tips to make your job go even faster.
Tools For Faster Painting:
6 IN 1 TOOL
– Don’t start your work without this in your back pocket. As the name implies, it is 6 tools in 1: scraper, spreader, hammer, knife, nail-puller and roller cleaner. The roller cleaner is the big semi-circle in the middle of the blade. Don’t get the 5 in 1 as it doesn’t have a metal butt for pounding in nails. You’ll also find yourself using it as a screwdriver, tape sealer (for pressing down on your tape when taping off trim to save wear and tear on your fingers), paint can opener, and beer bottle opener. It’s also great for tearing holes in your mom’s favorite couch when you forget to take it out of your back pocket before sitting down. It costs about $8.
– I call this an adult-sized paint roller. A quick computation and you will realize it’s twice the size of your basic 9” roller. Does that mean you can roll out a wall in half the time? Just about. I think they should just ban 9” rollers; there is no reason to use one. The thicker the knap the more likely it will get into the little pockets on textured walls and thus able to paint your wall with one coat. A thicker knap will also hold more paint so you won’t have to load your roller as often. Don’t forget to buy an adult-sized pan to go with it. Instead of taking the time to clean the roller at the end of the day I load more paint on the roller, set it completely inside the tray and wrap the whole tray with plastic to keep everything from drying out. If I’m doing a lot of colors I’ll have 2 or 3 of these going at all times so I can be working on another color while I’m letting one dry before coming back for a second coat. Roller pad, frame, and pan will run you about $50.
PURDY 4 1/2” JUMBO MINI-ROLLER
– Not all mini-rollers are created equal. The oxymoronic Jumbo Mini will hold more paint than the rest which will mean less time refilling your roller. There are mini-rollers that are fatter but have a thin knap so don’t hold as much paint. Use this instead of a brush to paint the corners and edges that you won’t be able to get to with your big roller. A 4 ½ inch margin of paint around your wall edges will make rolling with your big roller a breeze. If your ceiling is not going to get the same color as your walls then use this roller to get as close to the ceiling as possible right before you cut in your edge at the top of the wall with your brush. This will load more paint onto the top edge of your wall so there won’t be such a large bare spot pulling paint out of your brush that you will need for cutting that edge. In other words, use the mini-roller for getting paint on the wall for brush work. Also use it to paint those areas that are just too small for your large roller, such as your favorite spot to paint, behind the toilet. Use your brush only as a last resort as you may be able to cover in one coat with this roller what will take two coats with a brush. It’s about $9 for pad and frame. Don’t get the frame with the really long handle because you won’t be able to hook it to the inside of your Handy Pail while using your brush.
BERCOM HANDY ROLLER PAIL
– This isn’t just a nifty idea. You will wish they had come out with this the last time you painted a house. Don’t get the pint-sized pail, get the gallon sized one shown in this picture as it will have a built-in paint grid for loading paint on to your jumbo mini-roller. This will save you half the trips up and down your ladder since you won’t have to make separate trips with your brush and your mini-roller. It comes with a handy built-in magnet so you can hang your brush inside where it won’t drip all over everything. If you are doing more than one color get the handy plastic liners so you can have one for each color of paint. It comes with fitted bonnets you can put over the top to keep your paint from drying out when you’ve had enough painting for one day. Just pull the bonnet off the next day and you’re ready to start painting again. It’s about $10 and $1 for throw-away liners but most places that sell them only carry the smaller version. Have your local paint store order you the larger roller pail. It should take them less than a week to get it.
– Go ahead, splurge a little and get yourself one high quality brush that you will be able to use for just about everything for years to come. A good brush holds more paint, has fewer stray bristles, and cuts a straighter line. I use Purdy brushes which are about as good as they get without being very expensive. I’ve heard Wooster brushes are good too. Purdy has a plethora of variations so ask your paint store manager which is best for what you want to do. I prefer the 3” Purdy Glide because it holds a ton of paint and cuts down on the number of times I need to load paint on to my brush. Also make sure you have a wire brush to clean your paint brush every day. You’ll want to take good care of this fine tool. It’s bout $20.
ACCUBRUSH XT EDGER
– With this tool I figured I knocked off about 6 hours from a 60 hour job. The promotional material for this tool is grossly exaggerated, claiming a person can do a paint job in half the time, but even a 10% difference is significant. I couldn’t use it for all my edging but it did work fine for the tops of my walls and tops of doors and tops and bottoms of windows, even if it did take two coats. These aren’t sold in stores but you can get them at www.PaintHelpers.com. With the pro model (XT) you can attach an extension pole to keep you off your ladder. It costs $100 for the Jumbo Kit with spare brushes and rollers and $85 for a slightly used one. There’s no point in spending the extra $25 for the Deluxe Kit which includes a “free” MX (non-pole mountable) edger as you won’t be using it unless you have two people using them at the same time. It’s not very rugged – I wore it out on one house.
2’ TO 4’ EXTENSION POLE
– Your broom handle will work fine for your paint roller until you get into tight spots like hallways and closets. Switching between short poles and long poles can get old after a while, especially if you have to sacrifice your wife’s favorite broom handle for getting into those tight spots. You can also use it as a temporary broom handle when you break one of your wooden ones. They cost bout $30.
WERNER MT22 TELESCOPING MULTI-LADDER
– This could be the last ladder you will ever buy. It’s rugged as can be and gives you both a 9’ step ladder and lays out flat for a 22’ extension ladder. It folds up for storage to about the size of a 5’ step ladder. If you don’t have 10’ high ceilings to work on or a two story entry or stairwell then you won’t really need this ladder but I’d get one anyway. You’ll find a need for it. If you have stairs or sloping ground to deal with you’ll love being able to shorten one of the legs to compensate. They also make a larger size that is an 11’ stepladder and 26’ extension ladder. I sent my painter to get a $70 extension ladder when mine broke and he came back with this $170 multi-ladder. “What, are you kidding?” I asked him. “$170 for a ladder?” Best investment I’ve made in a long time.
3 STEP LADDER
– To ease the strain on your neck while cutting edges at the top of your wall get a small, lightweight 2 or 3 step ladder with broad steps and a back or handle that is easy to grab with your free hand and move down the wall another 6 feet. You will want to find one that puts the top of your head less than an inch from the ceiling so you can keep your head level rather than looking up for hours at a time while cutting in that top edge of your wall. They are about $30, give or take.
– If you are painting ceilings you will want the bigger 12’x15’. If you are just painting walls then you will want to get the 4’x16’ runners. The better quality drop cloths are rubber coated on one side to prevent your paint from soaking through and getting on your nice carpets if you happen to spill some paint. I know, moving those drops around as you go can be a hassle but it sure beats the time it takes to get wet paint off your carpet. $20 to $30 each.
– Have you ever taped off your trim, painted, pulled your tape off, and along with it came the finish on your trim? That’s because paint will soak through regular masking tape, and even blue tape, and then stick to your trim as it’s drying. You can get around that by pulling the tape off while it’s still wet but you run the risk of waiting too long and the paint on your tape binds to the paint on your wall and pulls the paint off your wall making an even bigger problem to prolong your painting project. They are about $6 per 60 yard roll.
WHITE PAINTER’S PANTS
– Painter’s pants for just painting your own house – seriously? Seriously. Besides having an extra side pocket that’s just right for your putty knife it has loops on both sides for your rags. You’ll want to carry both a wet rag and a dry rag at all times and without the loops you’ll have to stuff the wet rag in your pocket. ‘Nuff said. You might also want to get a t-shirt that says, “Yes, these are my painter’s paints. No, I won’t help you paint your house.” The pants run about $20.
This is not an exhaustive list of things you will need but these are the ones that do the most for speeding up your project so you don’t wear out and have to call in a professional like me to finish the job. Minus the big ticket items such as the fold-up ladder and edger you’re looking at about $200.
Except for the items you will need to order ahead of time like the Roller Pail and Accubrush Edger you can get most of this at the big box stores like Lowe’s and what you can’t get there you can get at a paint store like Sherwin-Williams that is fully stocked with tools.
When your painting is complete and your tools have been tucked away for the next project, there’s just one final task. Pack up your family and head for the beach — it’s the perfect place to relax while you’re waiting for the paint to dry.