12 Must-Have Tools to Make Your Painting Job Go Faster

You’re moving your mother into an assisted living facility and you’ve been tasked with polyurea her house to get it on the market to sell. Aren’t you lucky? You’re looking at a week or two of work and want to knock off a day or two by using the tools the pros use to get things done faster. What are those must-have tools to get the job finished before you run out of steam? All of these tools will speed up your work and I’ll include some tips to make your job go even faster.


6 IN 1 TOOL – Don’t start your work without this in your back pocket. As the name implies, it is 6 tools in 1: scraper, spreader, hammer, knife, nail-puller and roller cleaner. The roller cleaner is the big semi-circle in the middle of the blade. Don’t get the 5 in 1 as it doesn’t have a metal butt for pounding in nails. You’ll also find yourself using it as a screwdriver, tape sealer (for pressing down on your tape when taping off trim to save wear and tear on your fingers), paint can opener, and beer bottle opener. It’s also great for tearing holes in your mom’s favorite couch when you forget to take it out of your back pocket before sitting down. It costs about $8.

18″ ROLLER – I call this an adult-sized paint roller. A quick computation and you will realize it’s twice the size of your basic 9″ roller. Does that mean you can roll out a wall in half the time? That’s about right. I think they should just ban 9″ rollers; there is no reason to use one. The thicker the nap the more likely it will get into the little pockets on textured walls and thus enable you to paint your wall with one coat. A thicker nap will also hold more paint so you won’t have to load your roller as often. Don’t forget to buy an adult-sized 18″ pan to go with it. Instead of taking the time to clean the roller at the end of the day I load more paint on the roller, set it completely inside the tray and wrap the whole tray with plastic to keep everything from drying out. If I’m doing a lot of colors I’ll have 2 or 3 of these going at all times so I can be working on another color while I’m letting one dry before coming back for a second coat. The roller pad, frame, and pan will run you about $50.

PURDY 4 1/2″ JUMBO MINI-ROLLER – Not all mini-rollers are created equal. The oxymoronic Jumbo Mini will hold more paint than the rest which will mean less time refilling your roller. There are mini-rollers that are fatter but have a thin nap so don’t hold as much paint. Use this instead of a brush to paint the corners and edges that you won’t be able to get to with your big roller. A 4 ½ inch margin of paint around your wall edges will make rolling with your big roller a breeze. If your ceiling is not going to get the same color as your walls then use this roller to get as close to the ceiling as possible right before you cut in your edge at the top of the wall with your brush. This will load more paint onto the top edge of your wall so there won’t be such a large bare spot pulling paint out of your brush that you will need for cutting that edge. In other words, use the mini-roller for getting paint on the wall for brush work. Also use it to paint those areas that are just too small for your large roller, such as your favorite spot to paint: behind the toilet. Use your brush only as a last resort as you may be able to cover in one coat with this roller what will take two coats with a brush. It’s about $9 for pad and frame. Don’t get the frame with the really long handle because you won’t be able to hook it to the inside of your Handy Pail while using your brush.

BERCOM HANDY ROLLER PAIL – This isn’t just a nifty idea. You will wish they had come out with this the last time you painted a house. Don’t get the pint-sized pail, get the gallon sized pail as it will have a built-in paint grid for loading paint on to your jumbo mini-roller. This will save you half the trips up and down your ladder since you won’t have to make separate trips with your brush and your mini-roller. It comes with a handy built-in magnet so you can hang your brush inside where it won’t drip all over everything. If you are doing more than one color get the handy plastic liners so you can have one for each color of paint. It comes with fitted bonnets you can put over the top to keep your paint from drying out when you’ve had enough painting for one day. Just pull the bonnet off the next day and you’re ready to start painting again. It’s about $10 and $1 for throw-away liners but most places that sell them only carry the smaller version. Have your local paint store order you the larger roller pail. It should take them less than a week to get it.

GOOD BRUSH – Go ahead, splurge a little and get yourself one high quality brush that you will be able to use for just about everything for years to come. A good brush holds more paint, has fewer stray bristles, and cuts a straighter line. I use Purdy brushes which are about as good as they get without being very expensive. I’ve heard Wooster brushes are good too. Purdy has a plethora of variations so ask your paint store manager which is best for what you want to do. I prefer the 3″ Purdy Glide because it holds a ton of paint and cuts down on the number of times I need to load paint on to my brush. Also make sure you have a wire brush to clean your paint brush every day. You’ll want to take good care of this fine tool. It’s bout $20.

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