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Use the Right Painting Supplies for the Best Results

Rollers, Pads, Brushes, Painter's Tape, and Paints

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Every year, new products come on the market to help make painting more enjoyable. You'll want to select the best ones for your job.

Natural or Synthetic Brushes

  • Paint brushes with natural bristles are meant for oil-based paints. Natural bristles will soak up the water and go limp in water-based paints. The newer synthetic bristles were designed for water-based or latex paints, but can be used for anything. Densely packed bristles that taper to a chisel edge help with painting a straight edge, cutting in or tipping. Split ends or "flags" hold more paint and spread it more evenly and smoothly. Choose the right brush for your job.

Foam Brushes and Rollers

  • Foam brushes come in many widths, are inexpensive, and are great for small jobs or touch-ups. Foam paint rollers work well, don't spatter the paint, and are easy to use when you want a really smooth wall. Don't try them on rough surfaces, though, as they will not hold up.

Pad Painters

  • Smooth pad painters offer simple and neat paint application and easy clean ups. Don't apply too much paint to the pad, as it will drip. You'll have to take it apart, clean it, dry it thoroughly, and start over.

Paint Rollers

  • A paint roller with a plastic core will last longer than one with a cardboard core. Select a roller "nap" (fullness of the covering) according to the texture on your walls. Use a flat, smooth roller for flat, smooth walls and a thicker, more plush roller for rough textured walls.

Water-Based or Latex Paint

  • New latex paints are formulated to be environmentally-friendly. Drying time is short (usually about 1 hour) and clean ups are easy with water. Apply water-based paints with rollers, pads, or synthetic bristle brushes. Latex paints tend to get a "skin" of paint in the can when they begin to dry out, so keep the can covered as much as possible. Pour paint into another container to work from and close the can.

Oil-Based Paint

  • Most professional painters prefer oil-based paints, especially for cabinets, furniture, and trim. New formulations do not harm the environment and are not toxic. Because they dry more slowly, oil-based paints allow for better coverage and work well in warm, dry climates where water-based paints would dry too fast. Apply oil-based paints with pads, rollers, or natural bristle brushes. Clean up with paint thinner or other solvent.

Drop Cloths

  • The best material for a drop cloth is a heavy canvas cloth. It's not as slippery as plastic and covers better than newspaper. Fold the cloth to fit any size room and tape down the corners to prevent paint from oozing over the edge. To prevent scratching, be sure to vacuum hardwood floors before you put the drop cloth down.

Tinted Primer

  • Most paint jobs work better when you use a primer or base coat. Have the primer or base paint tinted to match your surface paint color. You may be able to avoid a second coat of finish paint. For ceilings, try paint that is specially formulated for ceilings. Some brands go on light blue and change to white when dry. This makes it easier to see where you've already painted.

Painter's Blue Tape

  • If you've never used painter's blue tape, why not? It has a waxy coating to keep paint from seeping through, is available in several widths, and provides a perfect straight edge for painting. It will not pull up the paint on the surface it's stuck to, and the seal is activated when you put it down onto a smooth surface. Its special properties don't last forever, so don't leave it on the wall more than a couple of days.

Learn about Cleaning Up, Keeping Extra Paint, and Planning for Touch-Ups on Page 3.

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