DISCLAIMER: I suggest several products by name in this post. These brands do not pay me, but I wish they would. Pass the word.
I don’t know how many miles I’ve pushed a paint roller, but it’s enough to know what makes a good paint job. In my years painting houses inside and out, I learned that some tools and materials are worth spending some extra cash; others should be got at bargain basement prices. Here’s the breakdown.
Painting stuff to buy cheap
Unless you’re a professional, you’ll probably only use these things, what, six times a decade? And you’ll probably lose them in between projects, so just buy the cheap plastic ones.
I’ve tried all kinds and I’m here to tell you that there is no difference between paint jobs applied with cheap roller covers and expensive ones, so go cheap. The important thing to consider with roller covers is the length of the nap (shorter for smooth surfaces, longer for rough), not the cost.
Oh, and don’t try to wash and reuse them. Just get new ones for each job.
They’re all shaped the same, whether heavy plastic or pie-pan metal. Again, unless you are a pro and will use these things all the time, just grab a cheapy.
One tip on pans though. They sell those screens that fit over the front of the pan. Get those. They smooth paint evenly over the whole roller and prevent blopping (for lack of a better term).
Surprised? You’ve heard that the paint makes the paint job and that your living room will only look it’s best with a $40 can, right?
Two things are wrong with that. First, the paint actually does not make the paint job (see below) and second, your average interior paint job takes very little punishment, so it is just color. And yellow is yellow for cheap paint and pricey.
Walmart’s ColorPlace works for me.
Painting stuff to buy quality
Trim brushes mostly. You have a trim brush, right? If not, let me introduce you to these beauties. The bristles are cut at a slight angle that lets you make nice steady lines on and against trim boards. They are a must have—pros swear by them—especially for interior jobs where there are lots of inside corners and detail. Get a good one. It will cost you $15-$20 but the result is worth it. And, if you rinse these well after each use they will last for years.
They come in several sizes from about 2 inches up to 4. My favorite is 2 1/2 inches.
I suggest the Purdy brand.
Remember I said the paint was not the paint job? That’s because the primer is. Think about it – the primer is what actually clings to the wall. The top coat (color) just, well, sits on top. In short, bad primer, bad (and short-lived) paint job. It is much more likely to flake and peel. And never, ever, paint a surface for the first time–interior or exterior–without priming it first. Ever.
No, one-coat primer/paint combos do not work. Listen to me on this one.
My clear primer choice: Glidden Gripper
Am I contradicting myself? No. For exterior surfaces, especially in harsh climates, you need all the help you can get. Interior paint is not subject to the elements. It lives its life in climate-controlled ease. Exterior paint is out there taking it on the chin every day. So, for outside jobs, spend good money on the paint. It will buy you a few years on the life of the job.
My two faves:
Paint Smart, Not Hard
Let’s be honest. Almost no one enjoys house painting. So, spending money strategically will keep costs down and the lifespan of your paint job up.