Tools of the trade.

Producing a durable job with a good finish in a reasonable time is made easier with appropriate tools. Some of my favourites are listed in this section.

Paint brushes.

There is lots written about the best paint brushes, my experiance has been that there are good brushes for certain tasks but no one brush that is best for all. The brushes i list are what i typically use and i consider them all good for their respective tasks but with a huge range of brushes out there i’ve stopped looking once i’ve found a very good brush, my search hasn’t been exhaustive.

Brushes for oil based paints.

Natural bristle brushes hold a lot of paint and work nicely with oil based paint if you are painting many linear meters. I like natural bristle brushes by Hamilton.  Some synthetic brushes also work very well in oil based paint and provide greater accuracy.  I almost exclusively use Purdy Pro Extra brushes for oil based paint sacrificing speed for finesse.



Emulsion brushes.

For cutting in where a line has to be very clean the Purdy Clear Cut Glide is excelent on two accounts, precission and smoothness of finish. For general cutting in and wall edges where you arent cutting in to a different colour the 3″ version of the Corona Toledo is an abolute beast;  huge paint holding capacity and a nice smooth finish.  More recently i have found the Arroworthy Finultra which is a cross between these brushes, it is very acurate and holds a lot of paint, it isn’t quite as smooth but the ease with which lines can be neatly and rapidly cut in make it a popular brush.


Hybrid paints.

Hybrid paints such as Sadolin Superdec or Jotun Demidekk are the most durable paints currently available for exterior work. Somehow they use water as the solvent while having a paint resin that is part alkyd (traditional oil) part acrylic (tough water based paints). They don’t flow as well as oil based paints and are difficult to clean from some brushes. I find that the Proform Blaze (a PBT/PET bristle blend) works very smoothly with these paints and cleans out very easily.


Acrylic eggshell.

On flat surfaces you cant beet the pure PBT bristle Proform Picasso.  Using a bit of floetrol, and a touch of water is also a good idea in hot and dry conditions.


Quick Drying Satin

These paints works very nicely with the new expression range by Hamilton.



Roller sleeves.

For ceilings, which are usually painted in a flatt matt finish, the main consideration is avoiding  a patchy finish. In a regular room a 12″ medium pile roller will be sufficient. On large ceilings either a  15″ medium pile roller could be used my current favourite is the Fossa Whitestar as it holds a lot of paint and lays it off very smoothly.


For walls using low sheen vinyl matt  in a standard size room a medium pile microfiber sleeve would be my go to option. Minimal  stipple and reasonable rate of coverage without  too many areas that the roller can’t get to. I would tend to use a  woven polyester for covering deep colours as they put on a thicker layer of paint than microfiber roller sleeves.


For satin, silk or softsheen finishes more common in smaller spaces like kitchens and bathrooms getting a smooth finish is the top priority and a short pile roller, probably a 9″ one will be used. Hamilton do a very well regarded roller that is suitable but the Fossa Microfiber is hard to beat.

In hallways i tend to paint the areas above doors at the same time as cutting in, and the large diameter 4″ rollers popular in the USA are great for this. Standard mini rollers typically used in the UK are too slow by far.

The last type of roller i use a lot of is the standard mini roller, which is great for getting a really smooth finish on doors and window sills. The Two Fussy Blokes brand has been making rapid inroads in the uk decorating market the reason being exceptional finish combined with pretty good paint holding capacity.


Sanding equipment and Abrasives.

It is said that preperation is the key to good paintwork. The most important element of preperation is often sanding away of old paint, either minor defects, or whole coats. Even if the paint is in perfect condition it will benefit from ‘keying’ to ensure the new paint gets a good hold and isn’t easily chipped or scraped off.

Dust is a hazard and an inconvenience, which is why ‘dustless’ or more acurately dust-LESS sanding had become a major selling point for painters and decorators.

I use a Makita medium class dust extractor when using my random oribital or delta sanders. Most people who use dust extractors will use low or L class extractors but using a version with a self cleaning filter and a higher particle removal rating means i`m happier about my health, and about the amount of dust being released into clients homes.

I commonly use a Mirka Deros 150mm random orbital sander for walls, and a Festool RO90  90mm random oribital/delta sander for trim, windows, and outside work.

Although i would certainly reccomend both of these tools, they  are expensive equipment and represent one of the value is using a professonal rather than attempting a DIY job.

Personal protective equipment.

My main discovery about protective equipment is just how much better and cheaper half face masks are compared to disposable ones. Get a 3M half face mask, replace the filters when nessicary and have a much more comfortable time. They also have the same safety rating as dissposable masks, but the fit achieved is virtually allways better, and i`m sure the real world performance reflects this.

Primers and specialist paints.

Fillers, caulks and sealants.

I`ve tried a lot of fillers, and in the end, there are quite a few classes that a definetly needed even if  products by different brands are often very similar.

For pin holes in skirting etc., a lightweight filler than dosent require sanding and dosent shrink, is a must. I tend to use Toupret Redlite but there are many similar products.

For paint chips on trim imported a 6 pack of MH ready patch. It’s great. I don’t know of anything similar in the uk.

For deep holes a product that dosent air-dry is required. I use TX 110. This is also a good fine surface filler  and general purpose filler for small dents in plasterboard. It drys fast, and sands very easily but with a much finer finish that Easifill or similar large area products.

I also use a ready mixed fine surface filler for very minor dents when i don’t have any TX110 mixed up. This is great for it’s intended use but it sinks terribly if you try and fill anything with any depth.

Having tried a huge variety of caulks i’ve settled on one of the first: Painters Mate.

For caulk, i generally use Geocell Painters Mate.  I also use a modified silicone for bathrooms, kitchens and exteriors, this is a waterproof sealant that can still be painted if required.  I have an IPT sealant/adhesive for when i need something more heavy duty for interior work.