Painting and Home Improvement: Choosing the Right Tools

In the home, few improvements are as easy or as inexpensive as painting. Choosing the right color can dramatically change not just the look of the room, but also the feel, without breaking the bank. Choosing the right tools is almost as important as choosing the right color.

Quality over Quantity

As is the case with many other areas of life, when investing in tools, quality is almost always more important than quantity. Investing in a well made tool not only means it will likely last you many years to come, but it also generally means it is covered by a longer warranty.

When it comes to painting, few tools are as important as the brushes and rollers that will apply the paint to the walls. If correctly cleaned, a paint brush can be reused countless times, so rather than buying a cheap paint brush with the intention of throwing it out, it is better to invest in a quality brush that is better suited for even application of the paint.

It is also important to consider your comfort when choosing tools, as painting uses a great deal of repetitive motions that can cause problems even in those without arthritis. So, choosing tools with easy to grasp handles is very important.

Plastics and stainless steel tools are also a good choice for painting, as they will be able to withstand moisture and oil based paints, without rusting or otherwise being affected. It can be a good idea to go with brightly colored tools as well, as this can make them easier to see, so they will not end up in the trash or lost. Having color coded brushes can also make it easier to

Cleaning Your Tools

Cleaning tools properly and promptly is very important when painting, as if you wait too long or don't use the right cleaning chemicals, the tools can easily become damaged.

Sometimes, simply using water will be enough, as water-based paints are designed to be washed away. However, often, you will need to use chemical solvents to fully wash away the paint or clean a surface before painting it.

There are quite a few different types of solvents used to clean tools and prepare surfaces for painting. Some of these chemicals, such as ammonia, are not terribly harmful, both in regards to the people using them and to the environment. However other cleaners, most notably the petroleum based paint strippers used to deal with oil based paints, can be harmful if they make contact with the skin and require special disposal procedures.

It is often better to try to use the non-harmful chemicals first and only us the more caustic ones as necessary. However, keep in mind that even some of the more natural cleaners, like Trisodium phosphate(TSP), can be dangerous if they come in contact with skin, so make sure to read all safety precautions and use heavy duty gloves when necessary.

Tip: adding fabric softener is an easy and environmentally friendly way to make cleaning water-based paints easier.

Protecting Your Home From Paint and Splatter

Since most people that paint their home already have flooring down, it is necessary to protect the flooring and other surfaces, like counter tops, from paint splatters. Most often, using a tarp is rather expensive, so most homeowners use disposable plastic sheeting, which comes in large rolls.

Secure the plastic to the walls using special masking tape, with the blue painting tape being the most common. However, for oil based or lacquer paints, blue masking tape should not be used, instead relying on purple or green tape respectively.

Tip: Special disposable drop cloths are available with a plastic side and a paper side. They cost a little more, but the paper helps to better absorb spilled paint and the plastic protects it from seeping through.

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