Tools for Painting Prep

Obtaining the appropriate tools for painting prep is essential in order to accomplish any painting preparation tasks. As with any craft, using the right tools saves time and yields better results. To remain within a budget, it is best to only purchase painting tools that coincide with your scope of work.

A wide variety of painting tools are used to facilitate the different aspects of the painting trade. Most tools for painting are designed for a specific objective. Some tools have a multi-purpose use.

The basic tools for painting prep are:

Filling and Scraping Tools
Tools for applying fillers include flexible putty knives and caulk guns. A putty knife and a caulking gun are useful for almost every painting project.

A caulking gun is a tool that is used together with a tube of caulk. A caulking gun is the only viable way to extract the caulk from the tube or cartridge that contains the caulk. It is one of the most basic tools for painting prep that should be included in a painter’s tool box.

A flexible putty knife provides an efficient way to apply fillers such as spackle, putty, and polyester wood filler. Putty knives are inexpensive tools that come in a variety of sizes and grades.

Scraping tools for painting include stiff bladed putty knives, 5 in 1 tools, paint scrapers, and wire brushes. These tools are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate different conditions. For example a wide 4 inch paint scraper would be more effective on exterior wood siding than a ¾ inch scraper, while the smaller scraper would work better on narrow wood moldings. Because paint scraping tools are relatively inexpensive, it is a good idea to purchase the scrapers that will best assist your painting prep.

Heat Gun
A heat gun, working together with a paint scraper is a tool used for paint removal. If a stream of hot air is applied to an existing painted finish, it will soften the outer coats of paint so that they can easily be scraped away.

Sanding Tools
Sanding tools are used in conjunction with sandpaper to prepare surfaces for paint or stain finishes. Sanding tools are comprised of a random orbital sander and palm sander for power sanding, and a sanding block and sanding pole for hand sanding.

Sanding with a random orbital sander or a palm sander is a more efficient method for cutting through old coats of paint than hand sanding. For a job requiring extensive sanding, either one of these tools can save a considerable amount of time. Keep in mind that these sanders are only useful for sanding flat surfaces. Surfaces with irregular profiles still need to be hand sanded. Before purchasing one of these items, consider whether the time saving justifies the expense.

Pole sanders are primarily used to sand walls and ceilings. Priced around $20, a pole sander is a worthwhile purchase if the job requires sanding several walls and ceilings.

Tools for Masking and Covering
Painters drop cloths are used to cover floors, furniture, patios, decks, etc. Even though drop cloths can be pricey, it is a good idea to invest in a couple of them. This is especially the case if you plan to take on any future painting projects. A 4-12 foot runner and a 9-12 foot tarp are popular sizes. Paper/plastic tarps are definitely easier on the budget but somewhat clumsy to use. Red rosin paper is also an alternative for covering hard surfaces.

A hand masker is a painter’s tool that combines masking tape with masking paper or folded masking film. This tool is a huge time saver for any painting project requiring extensive masking and covering. Priced around thirty five dollars, it might be a worthwhile purchase.

Sheetrock Repair Tools
Sheetrock repair tools include a joint knife, taping knife, wide taping knife, mud pan, keyhole saw, and utility knife. Some combination of these tools is absolutely necessary to properly repair drywall holes and cracks.

Cleaning tools
Cleaning tools for painting projects are primarily used for washing and vacuuming.

Pressure washers are machines that provide high pressure water. The high pressure water makes it much faster and easier to remove dirt and grime from exterior surfaces. Always use the spray tip with the widest fan for cleaning purposes.

Because most residential cleaning projects can be accomplished in a short period of time, renting a pressure washer may be a more economical approach than purchasing one. When using a pressure washer, care should always be taken to avoid injury and property damage.

A hand pump sprayer is a low pressure tool that works well to apply cleaning agents to exterior surfaces. For example a pump sprayer could be used to apply wood cleaner to a deck or siding. It is a much faster way to apply chemical cleaners than that of a sponge or brush.

A HEPA vac also known as a high efficiency particulate air vacuum is recommended for cleanup of any paint dust or small debris that may contain lead or asbestos. These vacuums can cost between $300 and $1,000. A daily rental can run as high as $90. Purchasing one of these vacuums may be a good choice for a large job extending over a prolonged period of time.

A standard shop vac works well for general cleanup. Shop vacuums are available in several sizes and are relatively inexpensive to purchase. They should not be used for cleanup of hazardous materials.

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