Brushes and rollers
Pretty obvious, right? But the trick is to get the right brushes and rollers for your particular project. There are cutting-in brushes for painting windows and timber trim, and wall brushes for doing around the edges of a wall. Rollers have a whole range of materials and fibre lengths (called the nap) for paints with different gloss levels and for surfaces that are smooth or rough.
No matter how hard you try, paint will end up where you don’t want it. To protect against this you’ll need drop sheets. If you’re planning to do a bit of painting, it’s worthwhile investing in a few heavy-duty canvas ones. For one-off jobs, plastic drop sheets will be fine. Masking tape is also another essential. Use it to keep paint off the glass when you’re doing a window or put it on top of the skirting board to protect against spatter as you paint the walls.
Access all areas
Start with an extension pole for your paint roller so you can reach the top of a wall. Ladders let you get up to prepare and cut in around the top of walls and the ceiling. Don’t underestimate the value of two ladders with a plank between them. It takes a lot longer to move one ladder around an area than to set up a plank once. Extension ladders are important for outside work, just make sure it is securely positioned and the top is tied off. Don’t overreach either.
When you’re using a brush, it’s best to use a paint pot rather than just dip the brush straight into the tin. If dust or dirt gets on your brush, you won’t contaminate a whole tin, just the paint in the pot. It’s also safer. If you knock over a small pot, it’s a lot easier to clean up than if you spilt a whole tin.
Fillers and sandpaper
The old saying that a good paint job is all in the preparation is so true. To properly prepare most surfaces, you’ll need various types of fillers and sandpaper. There are fillers for holes and cracks in walls, gaps between building elements like walls and skirtings, and for holes in timber. The sandpaper comes in to smooth out fillers after they’ve dried, roughen up glossy surfaces and between coats for some types of paint. Sandpaper is graded depending upon how rough it is. The higher the number, the finer the paper. For most painting jobs, 120- and 180-grit sandpaper will be all you’ll need. Higher grits are generally used for clear-finishing raw timber where a smoother surface is required.