Painting Equipment and Tools
Decorating is the job on which you can save most money by doing it yourself — painting and papering a room need cost only one-tenth of what a professional would charge. With the right equipment, decorating takes less time and effort and good results are more easily attained. Try to take the long view when choosing decorating equipment. Often, only a few pence separate shoddy tools from others that will give years of efficient service.
The basic tools for most painting jobs are brushes and rollers. Just as you should always buy the best paint you can afford, it makes sense to buy good-quality tools. Maintain them properly during and after use.
Brushes can be used with either oil- or water-based paint and are available in a variety of widths for tackling different surfaces. Use wide brushes (10-15cm/4-6in) for walls and ceilings, narrow brushes (2.5cm/1 in) for margins and fine trim, and medium brushes (5-7.5cm/ 2-3in) for bigger areas of woodwork
Special brushes are produced to make the task of painting awkward areas easier. These include cutting-in brushes, with angled tips for painting edges or window frames, and brushes for painting radiators, where the bristles are fixed at right angles to the handle.
Rollers are designed for use with water-based paint. Their principal advantage is that they enable large areas to be painted quickly and evenly. Some rollers can be fitted with handle extensions for painting ceilings or other areas which are difficult to reach. Choose a roller where the sleeve detaches from the frame to make cleaning much easier.
There are three main types of roller: short pile (short nap), shaggy pile (coarse nap) and foam. Both foam and short pile rollers work best on smooth surfaces, but short pile rollers will produce a better finish. Shaggy pile rollers are designed to cover textured surfaces. There are also special rollers designed to apply textured coatings. These have relief sleeves which deposit the paint in a pattern.
As with rollers, paint pads are best used with water-based paint. They consist of a square or oblong pile-covered foam pad attached to a handle. Use pads to cover large surfaces.
If you are using a brush, you can paint straight from the paint tin, but it is better to use a special paint container. These have handles, which make them more portable than tins; moreover, should you accidentally spoil the paint with dust picked up on the brush, you will waste only what is in the container.
Rollers must be used with paint trays. The tray has a reservoir which holds a small amount of paint and a slope to facilitate the even application of the paint onto the roller.
Plastic or metal guards are protective shields which can be placed against a window, wall or floor when you are painting frames or woodwork. Alternatively, you can use a piece of stiff cardboard or mask out the surrounding area with tape.
Care of Brushes and Rollers
Never overload tools with paint. As soon as you have finished, clean your tools by washing them in the appropriate solvent. Use white spirit, turpentine or a commercial brush cleaner for oil-based paints; cold water for water-based paints. Rinse brushes and rollers thoroughly, leave to dry and store flat. Never stand brushes or rollers upright.
*A loaded brush can be left for up to two hours without cleaning if it is covered tightly with foil or plastic kitchen wrap to prevent the paint from drying out.