the painted surface
The Painter's Toolbox
You could probably paint everything in the room with one brush - if you had nothing better to do. Some basic tools will make the task go much easier and the results much more rewarding. These tools are not expensive and could very well last a lifetime. We do not suggest buying the cheapest brush or tool you can find. It has been our experience you will get what you pay for in the quality of paint related tools. The equipment needed to perform the average paint job is reusable, so your investment in the right equipment today will work for future painting projects. The painter's basic toolbox will include some or maybe all of the following, depending on the specific needs of your task. The recommendations we make are the basic tools you can antcipate needing for a typical job. If you would like to read some tips covering the washing and caring for your tools check out: “Tool and Brush Care”.
The Paint Brush
This is the essential tool and maybe the most important, useful and versatile. It will be used on every surface, the walls, woodwork, trim, bookcases, cabinets and everything else. Brushes come in many sizes, shapes, qualities and types. Two major types are for use in either oil or water-based paint. The brush for oil-based paints is made of natural bristles and the brush for water-based paints is made of synthetic bristles. The natural bristle brush should never be used in water-based paint, but some synthetic bristle brushes can be used in either type of paint. Two shapes to choose from are the typical squared off type and the angle sash, the bristles of which are cut at an angle coming to a slight point on one side. Brushes range in size from the pencil-thin artist brush to those as wide as 6 inches. The quality of the brush is very important. It has been said, "A good brush can make bad paint look good, but a bad brush can only make good paint look bad". When shopping for a brush look for one that is comfortable to hold, the bristles are longer than the width of the brush, and are tapered and split at the ends, making them soft to the touch. The bristles should be firm but not stiff.
A 2 or 2 1/2 inch wide synthetic (nylon/polyester blend) brush. This is an all purpose brush, it is a good medium sized brush that can be used for all projects.
A 2 or 2 1/2 inch natural bristle brush for oil-based paints, varnishes, stains and polyurethane.
A 1 inch synthetic brush to be used for tight spaces between mouldings or cabinets.
If a large brush is needed, go with the 4 inch synthetic bristle brush.
The Roller Cover, Frame and Extension
Roller covers, like brushes come in many types, sizes and qualities. Typically used to roll walls or large flat expanses of any surface, they can also be used to paint spindles, railings, fences, decorative objects or ironwork. They will be made from two materials, either a synthetic fiber or lambswool. The synthetic is usually cheaper in price, but not necessarily in quality. As a general rule either type can be used in any paint. The lambswool roller hes some advantages in that they hold more paint, reducing the number of times reloading, they also release paint well, making the application to the surface and cleaning easier. There is a risk of the fibers loosening in either type from the less expensive roller covers. This can be avoided by using a quality cover which will give finer results and last much longer. The nap sizes range from 1/8 to a couple of inches. The thicker naps are for textured ceilings, brick or any rough surface and can also be very useful painting decorative objects. The frame should be stiff enough to withstand the constant pressure of the rolling motion. Look for one where the main frame is turned at right angles as these are usually the strongest. An extension makes using a roller much easier. It provides leverage, balance and of course an extension of length. The variable length type (2 to 4 or 3 to 6 ft) are very useful and should be included in your toolbox.
Your box should contain 9 inch wide,1/2 inch nap lambswool roller cover for smooth to slightly textured surfaces. The lambswool will cost a bit more, but is easier to use and clean. It can be used to paint many rooms.
A "hot dog" roller cover. This is a small diameter roller useful for painting stripes, rails, spindles and behind toilet tanks or other tight spaces.
Include two frames, one 9 inch, the other a 6 inch for the hot dog roller.
A roller handle extension is a valuable tool for any painting project. It should be variable in length, somewhere between 2 and 6 feet.