Tools for Painting and Decorating

It is a golden rule to buy the best tools you can afford. A good paint brush, pad, or roller, given reasonable care, will give many years of service. Always compare the length and thickness of the bristles on a brush. A 76mm brush should have bristles 76mm long and be at least 22mm thick. A cheaper 76mm brush would tend to have only 50mm bristles perhaps 15mm thick.

Cheap brushes tend to shed bristles and may spoil your work. Test the quality of the bristles by flexing them in your hand. Good-quality bristles should feel soft.

Bristle, which comes from hog-hair, has at the end of each bristle countless invisible barbs which hold the paint and cut down on the number of times you dip into the paint kettle. Genuine bristles have a natural taper which makes the brush a manageable shape.

Many experienced painters will only use bristle brushes although brushes with synthetic bristles are available. The synthetic bristle does not have the same paint-holding qualities as it lacks the barbs.

You will need brushes of various widths for particular jobs. A useful width for many jobs is 65mm-76mm wide. Door panels, walls, and even larger areas can be painted with a brush of this size. For bigger areas, such as ceilings, you need a 100mm – 150mm brush, and a dry dusting brush to dust off mouldings.

Smaller brushes – 38mm to 50mm – are used for skirting boards, mouldings and window frames, while a 13mm brush is useful for glazing bars and other narrow paint surfaces.

A cutting-in brush, which has a bevelled edge, is useful for painting mouldings or around awkward corners. A wire-handled crevice brush is useful for tackling tight corners, such as behind radiators, where an ordinary flat brush cannot be used.

A round brush, called a sash brush, is used for painting round pipes and railings. A long thin-headed fitch, a brush made of hog’s hairs, is useful for picking out intricate details. Also useful is a flat brush designed for lining work. This can be used to achieve straight edges at corners and where walls of different colours abutt.

Stippling brushes for stone paint, distemper brushes and varnish brushes are among other types. You can build up a selection of brushes in the same way you might build up a tool-kit.

Paint rollers

Paint rollers are used for painting large areas. The roller head may be made of lamb’s wool, foam plastic or felt. A lamb’s wool roller is by far the most expensive, but the best. Rollers are ideal for decorating with water-based paints as the paint will wash out easily.

Gloss paint is much more difficult to remove completely and it may be better to use a brush even on a large area. When using a roller, paint is poured into a paint tray, and the brush tracked into this; this applies the paint evenly to the roller head.

Long-handled rollers are also available, enabling you to paint at a distance.

Paint pads

Paint pads are made of foam or mohair and are obtainable in various widths. They are suitable for interior work. Some types of pad are renewable.

Paint kettles

Paint kettles are made of metal or plastic. A working quantity of paint should be decanted from the main tin into the kettle. Among advantages are that you are not carrying a large heavy tin of paint, possibly up a ladder, with risk of spillage. A paint kettle can also be secured to a ladder with a billhook. Skin will form on paint on which the lid is not secured. A kettle prevents this.


One of the butane torches with disposable or exchange canisters is suitable for removing paint from timber or metal. Avoid using near glass.

Shave hooks

The multi-edge shave hook and the triangular hook are used for stripping paint from mouldings and difficult corners, in conjunction with a blow torch or chemical stripper.

Filling or stripping knife

The filling knife has a more flexible blade than the stripping knife. Both are used to apply filler to cracks in plaster.


These are used in conjunction with chemical paint removers or blow torches.

Sanding block

Sandpaper in different grits (40, 80, 150, 240...

Image via Wikipedia

This can be a piece of timber, with glasspaper wrapped round, or a proprietary sanding block which ‘locks’ the glasspaper round it.

Sponge and tack rag

The sponge is used for cleaning and wiping down and the tack cloth to remove surface dust from paint surfaces.

Step ladder

This should be in good condition and safe to use. Two ladders can be used in conjunction with a scaffold board about 3m long. Below a height of 2-50m, a pair of hop-ups, which can be hired or made, may be a better platform. Multi-purpose ladders can be used as trestles or converted to a general-purpose ladder.


These can be made, bought or hired. The trestle can be a working platform or used with a second trestle and a scaffold board. Trestles and boards should be in sound condition and not likely to give way.

Extendable ladders and scaffold towers

A light-weight aluminium ladder, with two or three extensions, will tackle a wide range of jobs. A wooden ladder is heavier to manipulate. Check all ladders for safety before use. Ladder stays prevent the ladder from resting on guttering, which may give way.

Scaffold towers can be built up to varying heights and wheels can be fitted to move them around. A pair of towers with bridging staging can provide a working platform along the width or depth of the house. Some types of scaffolding can be used indoors.

Power aids

These include disc and orbital sanders, paint stirrers and power sprays.

11. June 2012 by admin
Categories: Decorating, Painting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tools for Painting and Decorating


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