31 Must-Have Painting Tools – A Complete List
Painting is a potentially messy, somewhat slow going, but essential and rewarding home improvement job. Even a quick coat of paint to refresh an existing color can have a huge impact on a room. Creating feature walls, painting stunning alcoves, and giving a room a bright and bold new color can have a significant impact on the look and feel of that room. Whether you’re a novice painter, a keen amateur, or even a seasoned professional, certain tools should be considered an integral part of your tools and accessories list.
Below we have included 31 of the tools that we consider to be must-have tools for the job.
1. Wall Cleaner
Preparation really is one of the most important elements of ensuring that you get the best finish. If you have dirty walls, you won’t get the best results. The paint will fail to adhere to greasy stains, while dirt and debris can cause shadows and prevent the paint from spreading evenly over the wall.
You will need a sponge to effectively apply the wall cleaner to your walls and other surfaces. Ensure that the sponge is brand new and that you’ve chosen a good quality one. Old sponges harbor more dirt than you’ll be able to get rid of, while some sponges shed bits of the material on the wall and leave you with more work than they finish.
A sander is suitable for helping to remove the paint from wood and one can be used on other surfaces, as a means of preparing the surface to accept paint. It can also be used to work the primer, once this has been applied, and to ensure that the paint holds. A manual sanding block is suitable for small jobs, but you may want a larger and electric version for big jobs.
As well as the sander itself, you will need sandpaper to use with it. Ensure the sandpaper works with your chosen type of sander, and choose relatively fine sandpaper.
Spackling paste, or putty, will be essential for the best looking walls. Whether you find that you have pulled a few small areas of plaster out while stripping wallpaper down, or there are multiple nail and screw holes in the wall, this filler putty will fill in the holes and can be prepped and painted once it is dry.
If you’re working in bathrooms or around pipes, caulk will also be an important element in your painting arsenal. It seals edges and will also accept paint when treated properly.
7. Removal Strips
No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes at some point in your painting career. You should find a reliable paint removal method that will work effectively and quickly to clean up your accidents and leave your paint job looking as good as new, or as good as you intended.
The humble screwdriver should be ever-present in your tool belt or pocket. In the case of painting, you will need to remove things like base plates, so that you can paint in behind the plate. Depending on the room that you’re painting, there may be other occasions when this tool will prove essential.
It is always a good idea to have a pencil on hand. You may need to mark out some measurements to ensure that you don’t paint too far or that you paint far enough. Whatever the reason, being caught without a pencil is a nuisance, and they don’t take up a lot of room in your painter’s bag.
10. Painter’s Pants
Or, you can keep your pencil in your painter’s pants, although we probably wouldn’t recommend it. Painter’s pants are essential, though, because they include loops to hold items like brushes and poles. They have extra pockets, including extra-large pockets, too. They also enable you to keep your scruffy jeans for doing the gardening and your everyday jeans for wearing everyday.
11. Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape, which is usually blue tape, is easily applied to walls and door frames. Paint will not leak through it or bleed behind it, and once you’ve finished painting, it can be easily removed from the wall to leave you with sharp edges and a great looking paint finish.
12. Tape Reel
The tape reel is a simpler and more convenient way to apply the tape. And we all know that if something is simpler and more convenient, it is more likely that we will do it and do it well.
13. Metal Paint Tray
The paint tray you choose will determine a lot about the type of paint job you do. The tray doesn’t have to be anything special, but we do recommend that it has a hook or legs that allow you to hook it onto the ladder when you’re painting higher surfaces.
14. Tray Liners
Some people will argue that these are not essential items, but we disagree. Tray liners are convenient. They make cleaning up much, much easier because all you have to do is remove the liner and throw it away once you’ve finished. They also enable you to put leftover paint back in the bucket. Some people use grocery bags, but tray liners are designed for the purpose so are stronger and of better quality.
15. Small Paint Pail
The small paint pail is a small bucket that holds paint. It offers the convenience of not having to climb up and down the ladder whenever you need more paint, and it is lightweight enough that you can carry it without suffering user fatigue.
16. Large Paint Bucket
A five-gallon bucket will not be movable and you won’t be carrying it up and down ladders with you, but you can pour all of your paint in here before starting and then mix it all together. It ensures that you have a uniform color and it keeps all of your paint in one place.
17. Tape Measure
There are plenty of occasions when you need a tape measure. You will want to know the size of the area that you’re painting, to ensure that you have the right amount of paint. To calculate this, you’ll need a tape measure.
18. Paint Mixer
You should always thoroughly stir the paint before you start applying it to walls. This ensures that the color is properly mixed and that you don’t end up with pockets of color and areas with no color. A paint mixer or stirring stick is clean and makes stirring easy.
19. Pouring Spout
A pouring spout may not sound like an essential item. After all, the paint tin has a hole in the top and you can pour paint from there. But if you have ever done this, you will know the dangers of paint drops and the likelihood of paint blotches on the carpet.
20. Edging Tool
Edging tools enable you to cut into corners without the expert precision of decades of brush painting experience. They do take a little getting used to, but once you’ve mastered one of these devices, you can pull off all kinds of impressive painting tricks, too.
21. Drywall Knife
A drywall taping knife slots under the baseboard. You can then paint without danger of getting paint on the floor and, once you’ve finished, simply remove the knife for a clean line and accurate paint. It does the same job as taping the area but is much quicker and more convenient than keep having to tape and untape the spot.
Few people can comfortably reach the top of the wall, let alone the ceiling, and for those of us that aren’t 6-foot-4, a two-step stool is ideal for painting. Easier to lug around than step ladders, they still afford you the height you need to get up and get the upper areas of the room painted.
23. Stair Ladders
Painting the landing or stair walls is very difficult. You can either put together a series of ladders with planks running between them to effectively create your own indoor version of a scaffold tower or use stair ladders. Stair ladders have one long side and one shorter side and can be adjusted so that they securely stand anywhere up a set of stairs.
24. Drop Cloth
A drop cloth covers furniture and the floor of any room that is being painted. It prevents paint spills from getting on surfaces where it shouldn’t and can usually be taped to the baseboard for additional coverage. If you move the cloth, ensure it is clean and free from paint, and always ensure that the cloth is hole-free if it has been used before.
Even if you roller the walls and ceiling, you will need brushes to apply finishing touches and for gloss work. Do not try and cut corners with poor quality brushes, or you will find that you end up with more bristles on the paint than are left on the brush at the end of the job. Get flat and angled brushes to cover all eventualities.
26. Brush Cleaner
Paintbrush cleaner is a quick and simple way of ensuring that your brush is completely clean and available for use when you next embark on a refurbishment job. Following the instructions of the cleaner you buy.
27. Brush Cover
Honestly, you can probably use grocery bags and other materials to cover your paintbrushes, or you can buy dedicated brush covers that are easy to apply and just as easy to remove when it is time to carry on painting.
Using a roller enables you to cover a much larger area than using a brush. It is quicker, easier, and more convenient, and thanks to the handle of the roller, you can usually reach further from your starting position as well. Like the brushes you choose, do not buy low-quality rollers just to save a few dollars.
29. Paint Pole
Your roller will likely only have a relatively short handle on it. Buy a pole that attaches to the end of the handle, ideally one that can twist and extend before twisting and locking. These allow you to get right up to the top of the walls and even paint the ceiling with one roller.
30. Paint Sprayer
A paint sprayer is a bit of extravagance if you only plan on painting a single room, but if you are redecorating an entire house or several homes, you can either rent or buy a paint sprayer to greatly reduce work time and ensure uniform painting results.
31. Work Light
You may have to turn the electricity off when working, but even if you don’t, if you only have a single, central bulb, you will not be able to see where you have painted and where you still have to do. A work light will eliminate shadows and make it much easier for you.
Must-Have Painting Tools List
You may be able to remove a few of the items from this list, and you may insist on adding some others that you simply can’t live without. However, the key to a successful paint project is preparation, so it pays to have your list ready so that you can tick all the items off before you apply a single drop of paint to the wall.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1. Wall Cleaner
- 2. Sponge
- 3. Sander
- 4. Sandpaper
- 5. Spackling
- 6. Caulk
- 7. Removal Strips
- 8. Screwdriver
- 9. Pencil
- 10. Painter’s Pants
- 11. Painter’s Tape
- 12. Tape Reel
- 13. Metal Paint Tray
- 14. Tray Liners
- 15. Small Paint Pail
- 16. Large Paint Bucket
- 17. Tape Measure
- 18. Paint Mixer
- 19. Pouring Spout
- 20. Edging Tool
- 21. Drywall Knife
- 22. Steps
- 23. Stair Ladders
- 24. Drop Cloth
- 25. Brushes
- 26. Brush Cleaner
- 27. Brush Cover
- 28. Roller
- 29. Paint Pole
- 30. Paint Sprayer
- 31. Work Light
- Must-Have Painting Tools List