Filling and Scraping Tools

Filling and scraping tools for painting are an indispensible part of the paint prep process.

Tools for Applying Fillers

Caulk Gun
A caulking gun is a tool used to release caulk from a tube or cartridge that contains the caulk. Caulk tubes or cartridges are specifically designed to be used with a caulking gun.

The operating mechanism of a caulking gun consists of a plunger, pressure rod, trigger, and spring loaded metal plate. The plunger fits inside the caulking cartridge and is driven by the pressure rod. The pressure rod is controlled by the trigger. When the trigger is depressed, more pressure is applied to the plunger, pushing the caulk through the caulk tube spout.

The older model caulking guns are designed with ratcheted pressure rods. When the pressure rod is set to each consecutive notch, it releases a certain amount of caulk whether you need all of it or not. This not only wastes caulk but it also creates a messy situation, in which you’ll have to deal with excess caulk.

The newer caulking guns are equipped with a smooth pressure rod that locks into the position right where you stop it. When you release the trigger, the pressure rod is locked into place by a spring loaded metal plate. This design prevents excess caulk drip. When you want to release the pressure rod, push down on the spring loaded metal plate and pull back on the rod.

Many caulking guns are equipped with a cutter used to trim the end of the caulk tube plastic spout. When using this feature it is easy to cut too large of a hole. It is better to cut a small hole with a utility knife. Another feature on some caulking guns is a thin rod for the purpose of breaking the foil seal at the base of the caulk tube spout.

Putty Knife - Flexible
Flexible putty knives are primarily used for applying fillers. They can also be used as light duty scraping tools. A putty knife with a flexible blade performs much better than one with a stiff blade for this application. As pressure is applied, a flexible blade deflects, making it easier to work with fillers.

Putty knives range in quality based upon the materials used to produce them. The plastic varieties are the least expensive. Putty knives manufactured with polypropylene handles and high carbon steel blades are the midrange quality while putty knives with stainless steel blades are the most expensive.

Flexible putty knives are sold in a variety of sizes, ranging from ¾ inch to 4 inches. This makes them useful for different sized jobs.

Scraping Tools

Putty Knife Scraper
A putty knife scraper is a type of a putty knife with a stiff blade. This tool is primarily used to scrape and remove paint. A putty knife scraper works with a pushing motion. You apply the putty knife blade under peeling paint and scrape the loose paint by pushing toward areas where the paint has good adhesion.

Putty knife scraping tools are available with both chiseled (beveled) edges and straight edges. The blades are manufactured from high carbon steel or stainless steel and come in a variety of widths, ranging from ¾ inch to 4 inches to accommodate all types of jobs. Putty knife scraper blades can be re-sharpened as needed, to maintain an effective working edge.

A putty knife with a stiff blade is a paint scraping tool and should not be confused with a putty knife with a flexible blade, which is commonly used for applying filler.

5 In 1 Tool
A 5 in 1 tool is a multi-purpose painter’s tool. This type of tool offers a unique design, making it useful for several tasks.

The stiff chiseled blade functions as a paint scraper much the same as a putty knife scraper. The pointed corner works well to detail caulk in tight corners, during application. It is also effective opening cracks to prepare them for filler. The curved profile, along the blade is shaped to aid in the cleaning of rollers. Some additional uses for this tool are opening paint cans and setting nails.

Paint Scraper
Paint scrapers are scraping tools designed to remove paint. Unlike a putty knife scraper, a paint scraper is used in a pulling motion. By applying downward pressure to the scraper blade while pulling it across the painted surface, a paint scraper effectively removes layers of damaged paint.

Paint scrapers are available in several widths to accommodate different prep applications. A paint scraper is equipped with a replaceable, double edge blade, that can also be re-sharpened.

Wire Brush
A wire brush can be used as an abrasive tool to scrape paint, clean surfaces before painting, and remove rust. A typical wire brush consists of a handle made from wood or plastic, and a large number of steel bristles or wires.

Wire brushes vary in stiffness. Finer bristle brushes work well for some cleaning applications. They also can be used to scrape or brush away flaking paint. Stiffer bristle wire brushes are best used on very hard surfaces such as masonry or metal. They also can be used to open the grain on wood surfaces where that particular look is desired.

Heat Gun
A heat gun in conjunction with scraping tools is used for paint removal. It has a similar appearance to a hand held blow dryer, but with a heavy duty metal case.

A heat gun is well suited for removing thick paint coatings. It allows you direct a stream of very hot air onto a painted surface causing the paint to soften and blister. Once the paint has softened, it should be scraped immediately. Avoid excessive heating of a surface because it can cause scorching or combustion.

Electric heat guns are equipped with a heat element, a fan, and a temperature control. The fan blows air across the heat element which is an electric resistance coil. An open vent allows more cool air to mix, keeping the temperature to the low range. Conversely, closing the vent maximizes temperature.

The newer heat guns feature digital controls with multiple temperature settings and variable fan speeds. Some heat guns reach temperatures over 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always take safety precautions when using this tool. Read manufacturers direction before use.

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Professional Painting, Inc. is a full service painting company serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988.