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Preparation is the key to any successful painting project.
Begin by removing as much furniture as possible from the room. Use drop cloths to cover the floor and any remaining furniture. While plastic is ideal for furniture, canvas drop cloths absorb paint, are not slippery, will not move, and can be reused.
Next, remove any pictures, mirrors, window treatments, and electrical/light switch plates. Loosen the ceiling plates of hanging light fixtures and cover the fixtures.
Because surface dirt can cause poor adhesion, use a light detergent to wash surfaces that are soiled, that are touched often, or that may have any oily residue from cooking. Take care not to leave any residue from the detergent.
Wash doors and trim, particularly where they are handled. After they are clean, wipe surfaces with a damp cloth and allow them to dry before painting.
 
Pen, Crayon, and Water Stains
Use a liquid detergent to remove as much of the markings left by pens, crayons, and water stains as possible, and wipe with clean water.
Glossy Surfaces and Imperfections
To ensure proper adhesion, sand glossy surfaces with fine sandpaper. Be sure to remove sanding dust. Vacuum surfaces clean and wipe with a tack cloth.
Examine floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces for nail holes, cracks, or any other surface imperfections. Use a putty knife to rake out any large plaster cracks or loose particles in your walls and ceilings.
 
Spackling
Firmly press spackling compound into crevices with a putty knife and smooth until the compound is flush with the surface.

 

To fill mitered trim joining (which are open) and door or window trim that is separated from your wall, press the compound into the crevices, and smooth it with your finger. Allow it to dry and then sand lightly.
Because patching compound shrinks when it dries, it is often necessary to apply the compound a second time after the first coat has dried.
 
Loose Paint
Use a putty knife to remove any loose or scaling paint. When you remove paint from walls or ceilings, sand paint edges to ensure a smooth surface. This will marry the two levels of paint so the edges will not be noticed when it is re-coated.
When removing paint from the sash, trim, or doors, use a fine sandpaper to sand the entire surface. 
 
Painting Supplies
Using the right painting tools will ensure optimum results when it comes to painting any room in your home.
You’ve chosen just the right colors for the room you’d like to paint, but are not sure of the painting tools to use to get that professional look.
Here you’ll find all of the information you need to make any painting project go more smoothly and get excellent results.
 
Paint Surface Preparation Tools
Surface preparation is crucial in painting interiors. It is essential to have a dry, clean, obstruction-free surface before you start to paint. Here are the tools you’ll need:
  • Screwdriver: to remove all outlet and switch covers
  • Painter’s tape: to place on trims, baseboards, uncovered outlets and switches, and any other surface that needs protection from paint stains
  • Paint scraper or flexible putty knife: to remove cracked or peeling paint and to apply caulking compound or putty to cracks, nail holes, and other surface depressions
  • Steel wool or a wire brush: to remove grime and old paints or stains from raw wood
  • Sandpaper: to smooth out imperfections, sags, drips, or runs on walls or other surfaces
  • Tack or damp cloth: to wipe clean surfaces to be painted after using steel wool or sandpaper
Painting Tools: Brush or Roller?
Once you’ve properly prepared the surface, you’re ready to paint. Whether to use a paintbrush or a paint roller depends on the type of paint you are using and the size of the surface to be painted.
Paintbrushes
Although using a paintbrush takes considerably longer than a roller, it is ideal for cutting in, windows, baseboards, and intricate trim work.
  • Nylon/polyester blended brushes: the best choice for all latex (water-based) paints and coatings
  • Natural China bristle brushes: the best choice for oil-based paints, stains, epoxies, and varnishes because natural bristles will soak up the water and go limp when used to apply water-based paints
  • Paintbrush sizes: A 1- to 2-inch brush is ideal for small spaces, tight trim areas, touchups, and detail work. A 2.5- to 3-inch brush is perfect for trim and corner work, and the larger 4- to 5-inch brush is recommended for larger areas like walls or side paneling.
Paint Rollers
Paint rollers make painting go more quickly, but should be used only for painting walls, ceilings, and other large, flat surfaces. They can be used to apply both latex and oil-based paints and stains and do a fine job with both gloss and semi-gloss coatings.
  • Paint roller sizes: The standard roller length is 9 inches. For smaller areas, a 4-inch or 7-inch roller cover may be used. For larger areas like walls, ceilings, and floors, 14-inch and 18-inch rollers will get the job done more quickly.
Here’s a comprehensive list of painting tools and supplies you’ll need to give your interior a gorgeous and lasting paint makeover:
  • Primer and paint
  • Paint brushes and paint rollers
  • Paint paddles
  • Roller trays
  • Mineral spirits/solvents (to clean up oil-based paint) 
  • Drop cloths or tarps and cleaning cloths 
  • Caulking gun, putty knife, and caulk/joint compound 
  • Steel wool, wire brush 
  • Tack cloth 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Sandpaper

Roller Cover

 We use wool or a wool/poly blend.  This one I’m recommending  is the best paint roller cover, and a good deal. A half inch nap is good for most interior work: but not stucco or popcorn ceilings. They don’t shed and leave ticks on your wall like Cheap-OS and they hold a lot of paint so you can go farther with each dip.  By the way, paint tools like this roller storage container: don’t waste your money.  Just wrap your wet one with some plastic that was already in the trash!

TIP: The cheapest wall painting tool to store a wet paint roller overnight or even for a few days, you just use a plastic bag and put a few drops of water inside! This advice goes for the occasional painter as well as the professional painter.

A Quality Brush

 Actually we sometime buy a cheap-o paint brush to leave in a small can of primer or to use with some oil paint.  We don’t clean brushes for icky paints. The one linked to here is 2.5 inches: professional paint brush minimum size. Maybe go with 2 or 1.5 if you are new.

Sandpaper

 Have some various grits around: 120 -150 – and some 80. Careful with the 80 as it can do some damage.  Buy the good stuff and don’t let it get wet.  Or go with the kind you can wet to cut through plaster faster: but I don’t like them.

Block Sander

 Just a block of wood that you can wrap sandpaper around will save your hands some stress. You can buy the kind that has a clip so the sandpaper does not move around. Remember to give walls a quick blast with about 120-150 grit sandpaper to remove ticks and lint trapped there from the last painter who used a cheap roller that shed lint~!

Roller Bucket or Tray/Pan

 I prefer this roller bucket. If you want a tray, that one as a lid, but we use 5-gallon buckets that paint comes in and knock off excess paint with this screen.  This system is so much better than a tray/pan. It is is hard to spill–we use a plastic bag for an overnight lid. It is made out of durable plastic and balances a lot better than a paint tray and washes out easy. It’s a must-have wall painting tool.

Step Ladder

This one is my favorite. I was not supposed to use this ladder I’m recommending, as it is against the safety code of the government, but I used it anyway.  It has a shelf for tools and the ‘cut’ bucket, and I customized it by adding a thick screw to the top handle for hanging the cut bucket as it is up higher.  We move fast and this was a big help for us.

Drop Cloths

 Good to have around while painting. We use canvas for floors, plastic for furniture. Not expensive and have many uses. Tip: wipe up drips that go on the cloths so you do not step in one and track paint when you step off onto the floor!

Painting’s Tape

 Here the one I use. Not used as much as you think, (see my post on about painting the walls or trim first), but essential to mask off trim in tight corners. A good paint brush eliminates the need for taping. So there you have it. If you are considering starting your own painting business and want to know how much it will cost to get started, this painting tool list will help you. I would guess offhand that everything on the list totals around $300. If you already have a step ladder and even a small extension ladder, this will cut the start up cost down considerably.

As with so many products today, this recommendation ranges from sound remodeling advice and a statement created to limit company liabilities.

But do you really need to do this?  Are there any instances when you can get by without cleaning walls before painting?

Bottom Line

Cleaning Needed Cleaning Not Needed
  • Walls are excessively dirty, oily, or greasy.
  • Children or pets in the home.
  • Bathrooms and in kitchens around stove and sink.
  • Walls that are relatively clean.
  • Ceilings.
  • Low impact rooms (i.e. bedrooms).

 

When You Can Avoid It

If you have a normal house, low-impact rooms, usual activities—you do not need to scrub with TSP when preparing to paint.

Common themes:

    Lack of excessive dust

    No Crayon, grease, or other substances on the walls that paint refuses to stick to

    No wood-burning fireplaces

    Little or no contact with skin

    No pets

    No cooking or bathing (thus, bathrooms and kitchens are excluded from this class)

Walls, not horizontals like baseboard or door trim tops.

Areas That May Not Need Cleaning

    Living room that does not get a lot of activity and was painted only a few years ago.

    Master bedroom—i.e., for adults, not children.

    Dining room dedicated to dining only.

    Office.

    Even a family room that is well-treated and has no wood burning fireplace.

    Powder room that is used only for toilet activities and hand-washing.

True, lightly washing with TSP is always preferable to not lightly washing with TSP. Simply put, clean is always better.

But if a full wash-down is preventing you from tackling the painting, then you should skip the wash.

Painters commonly use products such as paint strippers that may contain toxic, flammable or combustible chemicals. These and other concerns can make the job hazardous for workers who do not take proper safety precautions.
Identify potential safety and health issues:
  • Heights/falling injuries 
  • Ladders, platforms and scaffolds 
  • Eye injuries 
  • Confined spaces 
  • Slips, trips and falls 
  • Exposure to bacteria 
  • Chemical exposure 
  • Exposure to mold 
  • Noise 
  • Heat and cold exposure 
  • Repetitive tasks 
  • Standing for long periods
Painters should learn safe work practices for:
  • Working near falling objects 
  • Proper lifting techniques 
  • Maintaining equipment in good working order 
  • Selecting and wearing personal protective equipment 
  • Working in confined spaces 
  • Clearing clutter 
  • Reporting a hazard
+ SURFACE PREPARATION
Preparation is the key to any successful painting project.
Begin by removing as much furniture as possible from the room. Use drop cloths to cover the floor and any remaining furniture. While plastic is ideal for furniture, canvas drop cloths absorb paint, are not slippery, will not move, and can be reused.
Next, remove any pictures, mirrors, window treatments, and electrical/light switch plates. Loosen the ceiling plates of hanging light fixtures and cover the fixtures.
Because surface dirt can cause poor adhesion, use a light detergent to wash surfaces that are soiled, that are touched often, or that may have any oily residue from cooking. Take care not to leave any residue from the detergent.
Wash doors and trim, particularly where they are handled. After they are clean, wipe surfaces with a damp cloth and allow them to dry before painting.
 
Pen, Crayon, and Water Stains
Use a liquid detergent to remove as much of the markings left by pens, crayons, and water stains as possible, and wipe with clean water.
Glossy Surfaces and Imperfections
To ensure proper adhesion, sand glossy surfaces with fine sandpaper. Be sure to remove sanding dust. Vacuum surfaces clean and wipe with a tack cloth.
Examine floor, wall, and ceiling surfaces for nail holes, cracks, or any other surface imperfections. Use a putty knife to rake out any large plaster cracks or loose particles in your walls and ceilings.
 
Spackling
Firmly press spackling compound into crevices with a putty knife and smooth until the compound is flush with the surface.

 

To fill mitered trim joining (which are open) and door or window trim that is separated from your wall, press the compound into the crevices, and smooth it with your finger. Allow it to dry and then sand lightly.
Because patching compound shrinks when it dries, it is often necessary to apply the compound a second time after the first coat has dried.
 
Loose Paint
Use a putty knife to remove any loose or scaling paint. When you remove paint from walls or ceilings, sand paint edges to ensure a smooth surface. This will marry the two levels of paint so the edges will not be noticed when it is re-coated.
When removing paint from the sash, trim, or doors, use a fine sandpaper to sand the entire surface. 
 
Painting Supplies
Using the right painting tools will ensure optimum results when it comes to painting any room in your home.
You’ve chosen just the right colors for the room you’d like to paint, but are not sure of the painting tools to use to get that professional look.
Here you’ll find all of the information you need to make any painting project go more smoothly and get excellent results.
 
Paint Surface Preparation Tools
Surface preparation is crucial in painting interiors. It is essential to have a dry, clean, obstruction-free surface before you start to paint. Here are the tools you’ll need:
  • Screwdriver: to remove all outlet and switch covers
  • Painter’s tape: to place on trims, baseboards, uncovered outlets and switches, and any other surface that needs protection from paint stains
  • Paint scraper or flexible putty knife: to remove cracked or peeling paint and to apply caulking compound or putty to cracks, nail holes, and other surface depressions
  • Steel wool or a wire brush: to remove grime and old paints or stains from raw wood
  • Sandpaper: to smooth out imperfections, sags, drips, or runs on walls or other surfaces
  • Tack or damp cloth: to wipe clean surfaces to be painted after using steel wool or sandpaper
Painting Tools: Brush or Roller?
Once you’ve properly prepared the surface, you’re ready to paint. Whether to use a paintbrush or a paint roller depends on the type of paint you are using and the size of the surface to be painted.
Paintbrushes
Although using a paintbrush takes considerably longer than a roller, it is ideal for cutting in, windows, baseboards, and intricate trim work.
  • Nylon/polyester blended brushes: the best choice for all latex (water-based) paints and coatings
  • Natural China bristle brushes: the best choice for oil-based paints, stains, epoxies, and varnishes because natural bristles will soak up the water and go limp when used to apply water-based paints
  • Paintbrush sizes: A 1- to 2-inch brush is ideal for small spaces, tight trim areas, touchups, and detail work. A 2.5- to 3-inch brush is perfect for trim and corner work, and the larger 4- to 5-inch brush is recommended for larger areas like walls or side paneling.
Paint Rollers
Paint rollers make painting go more quickly, but should be used only for painting walls, ceilings, and other large, flat surfaces. They can be used to apply both latex and oil-based paints and stains and do a fine job with both gloss and semi-gloss coatings.
  • Paint roller sizes: The standard roller length is 9 inches. For smaller areas, a 4-inch or 7-inch roller cover may be used. For larger areas like walls, ceilings, and floors, 14-inch and 18-inch rollers will get the job done more quickly.
Here’s a comprehensive list of painting tools and supplies you’ll need to give your interior a gorgeous and lasting paint makeover:
  • Primer and paint
  • Paint brushes and paint rollers
  • Paint paddles
  • Roller trays
  • Mineral spirits/solvents (to clean up oil-based paint) 
  • Drop cloths or tarps and cleaning cloths 
  • Caulking gun, putty knife, and caulk/joint compound 
  • Steel wool, wire brush 
  • Tack cloth 
  • Painter’s tape 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Sandpaper
+ CHOOSE THE CORRECT PREMIER & FINISH COAT

Roller Cover

 We use wool or a wool/poly blend.  This one I’m recommending  is the best paint roller cover, and a good deal. A half inch nap is good for most interior work: but not stucco or popcorn ceilings. They don’t shed and leave ticks on your wall like Cheap-OS and they hold a lot of paint so you can go farther with each dip.  By the way, paint tools like this roller storage container: don’t waste your money.  Just wrap your wet one with some plastic that was already in the trash!

TIP: The cheapest wall painting tool to store a wet paint roller overnight or even for a few days, you just use a plastic bag and put a few drops of water inside! This advice goes for the occasional painter as well as the professional painter.

A Quality Brush

 Actually we sometime buy a cheap-o paint brush to leave in a small can of primer or to use with some oil paint.  We don’t clean brushes for icky paints. The one linked to here is 2.5 inches: professional paint brush minimum size. Maybe go with 2 or 1.5 if you are new.

Sandpaper

 Have some various grits around: 120 -150 – and some 80. Careful with the 80 as it can do some damage.  Buy the good stuff and don’t let it get wet.  Or go with the kind you can wet to cut through plaster faster: but I don’t like them.

Block Sander

 Just a block of wood that you can wrap sandpaper around will save your hands some stress. You can buy the kind that has a clip so the sandpaper does not move around. Remember to give walls a quick blast with about 120-150 grit sandpaper to remove ticks and lint trapped there from the last painter who used a cheap roller that shed lint~!

Roller Bucket or Tray/Pan

 I prefer this roller bucket. If you want a tray, that one as a lid, but we use 5-gallon buckets that paint comes in and knock off excess paint with this screen.  This system is so much better than a tray/pan. It is is hard to spill–we use a plastic bag for an overnight lid. It is made out of durable plastic and balances a lot better than a paint tray and washes out easy. It’s a must-have wall painting tool.

Step Ladder

This one is my favorite. I was not supposed to use this ladder I’m recommending, as it is against the safety code of the government, but I used it anyway.  It has a shelf for tools and the ‘cut’ bucket, and I customized it by adding a thick screw to the top handle for hanging the cut bucket as it is up higher.  We move fast and this was a big help for us.

Drop Cloths

 Good to have around while painting. We use canvas for floors, plastic for furniture. Not expensive and have many uses. Tip: wipe up drips that go on the cloths so you do not step in one and track paint when you step off onto the floor!

Painting’s Tape

 Here the one I use. Not used as much as you think, (see my post on about painting the walls or trim first), but essential to mask off trim in tight corners. A good paint brush eliminates the need for taping. So there you have it. If you are considering starting your own painting business and want to know how much it will cost to get started, this painting tool list will help you. I would guess offhand that everything on the list totals around $300. If you already have a step ladder and even a small extension ladder, this will cut the start up cost down considerably.

+ CLEANING UP

As with so many products today, this recommendation ranges from sound remodeling advice and a statement created to limit company liabilities.

But do you really need to do this?  Are there any instances when you can get by without cleaning walls before painting?

Bottom Line

Cleaning Needed Cleaning Not Needed
  • Walls are excessively dirty, oily, or greasy.
  • Children or pets in the home.
  • Bathrooms and in kitchens around stove and sink.
  • Walls that are relatively clean.
  • Ceilings.
  • Low impact rooms (i.e. bedrooms).

 

When You Can Avoid It

If you have a normal house, low-impact rooms, usual activities—you do not need to scrub with TSP when preparing to paint.

Common themes:

    Lack of excessive dust

    No Crayon, grease, or other substances on the walls that paint refuses to stick to

    No wood-burning fireplaces

    Little or no contact with skin

    No pets

    No cooking or bathing (thus, bathrooms and kitchens are excluded from this class)

Walls, not horizontals like baseboard or door trim tops.

Areas That May Not Need Cleaning

    Living room that does not get a lot of activity and was painted only a few years ago.

    Master bedroom—i.e., for adults, not children.

    Dining room dedicated to dining only.

    Office.

    Even a family room that is well-treated and has no wood burning fireplace.

    Powder room that is used only for toilet activities and hand-washing.

True, lightly washing with TSP is always preferable to not lightly washing with TSP. Simply put, clean is always better.

But if a full wash-down is preventing you from tackling the painting, then you should skip the wash.

+ SAFETY TIPS
Painters commonly use products such as paint strippers that may contain toxic, flammable or combustible chemicals. These and other concerns can make the job hazardous for workers who do not take proper safety precautions.
Identify potential safety and health issues:
  • Heights/falling injuries 
  • Ladders, platforms and scaffolds 
  • Eye injuries 
  • Confined spaces 
  • Slips, trips and falls 
  • Exposure to bacteria 
  • Chemical exposure 
  • Exposure to mold 
  • Noise 
  • Heat and cold exposure 
  • Repetitive tasks 
  • Standing for long periods
Painters should learn safe work practices for:
  • Working near falling objects 
  • Proper lifting techniques 
  • Maintaining equipment in good working order 
  • Selecting and wearing personal protective equipment 
  • Working in confined spaces 
  • Clearing clutter 
  • Reporting a hazard