Painting Tools & Materials
Choosing to paint your own home can be quite the learning experience the very first time around. You'll quickly understand that you need more than just a paintbrush to get the job done properly—and while buying multiple tools to paint a bedroom or the living room may seem excessive, you'll find that your renovation budget suffers less compared to the costs of hiring a professional crew.
All of the following items will help you paint your home with finesse—they've each been picked out by DIY experts who have experience painting rooms of all shapes and sizes. With each tool we highlight, we're sharing tips for completing specific tasks when it comes to painting an object, including common jobs like kitchen cabinets, credenzas, crown molding and trim, and kitchen cabinets.
Some items on this list might surprise you—like a caulking gun, for example. But caulk allows you to fill the cracks between gaps in design elements, like wood floors and plaster walls. Applying paint-friendly caulk before you start painting can save you from painstakingly brushing new colors onto walls to avoid mistakes. Other tools are essential for any task: Having an arsenal of properly sized brushes can minimize how much time you'll need, and painting accents like window frames becomes nearly impossible if you don't have a whole bunch of masking tape.
Not having the items on this list, including gadgets like the 5-in-1 paint tool, won't prevent you from getting started on your project, but using them will make any paint job that much easier. Once you have all of the essential tools, follow along as we share the best ways to use paint to give nearly any object in your home a fresh makeover.
Joint Tape, Joint Compound, and Taping Knife
Caulk and Caulking Gun
Painters' masking tape helps ensure a clean line between the wall and the ceiling or trim. It's sold based on degree of adhesion, so select the one that's appropriate for your surface, such as low tack for glass or high tack for textured walls such as brick.
Scotch Blue Painter's Tape, $7, homedepot.com
Spackling Paste, Wood Filler, and Putty Knife
Sandpaper, Sanding Sponge, and Dust Mask
You'll need coarse (80 to 100 grit), medium (120 to 150 grit), and fine (220 grit) sandpaper for smoothing filled holes and cracks; a sanding sponge, which can be cleaned and reused, is a newer option. Wear a dust mask and goggles to sand—especially with older items that may contain lead paint.
3M Very Fine Hand Sanding Pads, $3, homedepot.com
Rags, Sponges, and Tack Cloths
For cleanup, cotton rags made for painting (they give off little lint) are invaluable. Use medium-size sponges to wipe down walls and smooth caulk. Tack cloths, which are sticky, remove fine dust from surfaces.
This handy multitasker performs even more functions than its name suggests. Use it to open paint cans, tear masking tape, scrape paint, clean roller sleeves, and remove debris from fissures in the wall; the square end works as a slotted screwdriver.
Husky 14-in-1 Painter's Tool, $7, homedepot.com
Don't skimp here—cheap brushes can shed bristles. Use a three-inch angled sash to "cut in" a room (paint wall edges and corners) or nip into furniture details. The best brushes have flexible—not stiff—bristles with flagged, or split, ends, which hold more paint.
A good-quality roller has a cage with springs, to prevent the sleeve from slipping off, and a rigid handle with a hole in the bottom for an extension pole. Popular sizes include 9 inch, 7 inch, and 4 inch. Use the largest one that fits in the area to be covered.
Sherlock Roller Frame, $7, homedepot.com
Roller Tray and Liner
Invest in a sturdy metal roller tray that is reusable, says Mark Eichelberger, senior product manager at Sherwin-Williams. Placing a disposable plastic liner inside the pan makes cleanup a breeze (and saves you from replacing trays caked in dried paint). Double-check that liners fit your tray, as sizing is not universal.
Metal Deep-Well Paint Roller Tray, $9, homedepot.com
Anyone who has tried to balance a paint tray on a ladder will appreciate an extension pole, which snaps or screws into the end of a roller, enabling you to reach new heights. Telescoping poles, which can be adjusted in length, are handiest.
Mr. Longarm Adjustable Exension Pole, $39, homedepot.com
Additives such as Floetrol emulate the smooth look of oil paint by rendering brush and roller marks less prominent. Try mixing a pint of conditioner with a gallon of latex paint and test a swatch on the wall. For an even cleaner finish, add up to 1 pint more conditioner.
Latex Paint Additive and Extender, $7, homedepot.com