You need more than just a brush to achieve professional results when you paint. However you will probably find much of the equipment you need already around your home.

Tools and Equipment

The following bits and pieces will be handing in helping you to prepare….

  • Soft dust brush and pan – For brushing debris off prepared surfaces.
  • Vacuum cleaner – For cleaning up before you start and for general cleaning. Better than a broom because it doesn’t stir up dust.
  • Drop sheet –  A big sheet of plastic or sheeting to cover and protect the floor and furniture from spills and splatter. Cut and lay them out flat and join with masking tape.
  • Masking tape – For masking off areas you don’t want to get paint on. Use a big roll of at least 20mm wide. Careful masking saves a lot of time.
  • Rubber gloves – Or disposable plastic types. Protect your hands from solvents and keep your hands clean.
  • Overalls or old clothes – It’s almost impossible to paint without getting some splatter or spill on yourself. A plastic shower cap protects your hair if you’re painting ceilings.
  • Clean-up cloth – Have a few handy. Don’t use tissue or paper towel because they leave paper fluff behind.
  • Small plastic bucket – For holding cleaning solution and other liquids.
  • Sand paper – For smoothing where you have removed loose paint. Get medium, fine and extra fine grades. Garnet paper costs more but lasts longer. An orbital electric sander saves time on larger areas – don’t use a rotary sander.
  • Brushes and/or roller – It’s best to buy these at the time you buy your paint because your supplier can give you the best advice on the right types to use.
  • Ladder –  A must if you’re doing walls and ceilings, although if you’re using a roller you can get an extension pole for the roller handle.
  • Wire brush – Handy for removing loose paint. Use the handled type or one which fits your electric drill.
  • Caulking gun – Holds cartridges for caulking or filling holes and cracks. Makes application easy, accurate and clean.
  • Putty knife or spatula – For smoothing, filling into joints or cracks.
  • Paint scraper – For removing loose or stripped paint.
  • Wear an approved dust mask when cutting, planing or sanding timber.
  • Always keep tools and materials away from children.
  • Safety glasses and ear protection should be worn at all times.

Painted Surfaces in Good Condition

If there’s no flaking or peeling, wash down well with liquid sugar soap or powdered sugar soap. It removes dirt, mould, grease and smoke stains from all painted surfaces, concrete, tiles and laminated plastics. Also superb for cleaning baths, basins and floors.

Painted surfaces in poor condition

You will need to strip the old paint off the surface before painting. Scrape away flakes and bubbles of old paint, then smooth edges with sandpaper. A wire brush can be used initially and then smoothed off with fine sandpaper.

Badly deteriorated surfaces will need a chemical liquid paint stripper. This can be easily brushed on. Spray on strippers are faster and are easier for removing paint from hard to get at places such as corners and grooves. Both have the same powerful action that will strip two to three coats of old paint in 10 to 15 minutes. No neutralising is needed. Do not use paint strippers on plastic.

Sand metal surfaces lightly after stripping. If any rust is showing, wire brush well then treat with rust fixative. If the metal surface is new and rust free, wash down well with turps before using oil based primer.


To test the condition of an existing paint surface, press a finger length of strong adhesive tape firmly onto it then rip the tape away quickly. If the paint lifts you’ll need to strip the whole surface and re-prepare it or treat it with a surface binder.


This is the last step before painting. Cracks, holes and dents need to be filled to get an even surface. If there is any dampness on the surface, you must find the source and eliminate it before filling and painting.

Interior Cracks and Holes

Where no structural movement is expected, use interior filler on surfaces such as plaster or plasterboard. This can be sanded smooth and is ready for painting in 2 to 3 hours. For small jobs use quick set interior filler. This is ready mixed, easy to sand and ready for painting in only 30 minutes. Areas treated with filler should be undercoated to ensure an even appearance of the topcoat or finishing coat.

Interior Gaps

Where structural movement is likely to take place, such as around window frames, architraves or cornices, use a flexible filler which can be tooled off to a smooth finish with a spatula or slightly damp cloth. It can’t be sanded, so be sure you get a smooth finish before it skins and sets – about 15 minutes.

Interior timber fillers

Holes, dents or chips in natural timber can be filled with plastic wood or water-based timber filler. This is a fast setting filler which can be sanded smooth then treated in all respects as real wood by staining, varnishing or painting. Don’t use it in joints.

Exterior cracks and holes

On masonry, brick, stone, fibro and cement use an exterior filler. This resin reinforced filler gives excellent adhesion and weather resistance. It sets in about 1 hour, can be sanded smooth and should be undercoated to ensure an even appearance of the topcoat or finishing coat. For a sandy texture consistent with rendered surfaces use a cement filler. This can be sanded and painted within about 3 hours.

Exterior Gaps

Where structural movement could be expected, such as between bricks, concrete, timber, fibro or even painted surfaces use a flexible filler. Flexible fillers will contract and expand with the gap without cracking. Smooth with a spatula or slightly damp cloth. Flexible fillers can’t be sanded, so be sure you get a smooth surface before it skins and sets – about 15 minutes. Once it has skinned it can be painted within 2 hours. Fillers are usually available in cartridge refills or tubes.

Exterior Timber Cracks

Timber fillers are available for filling holes, dents or chips (but not joints) in weatherboards and timber frames. They have a high adhesion and just the right flexibility for timber. It can be sanded when dry in about 6 hours and should be undercoated to ensure an even appearance of the top or finishing coat.

General Painting Tips

Now you’re ready to paint – if your surfaces are correctly prepared and you have read the product instructions carefully, you really can’t go wrong. Here are just some final tips and reminders to help make your job easier.

  • Take your time – A slap-dash effort will get you a slap-dash result. It is better to take a little extra time to get a perfect finish.
  • Stir well – Unless you’re using a gel type paint, it’s absolutely vital that you stir the paint well before you use it. Use a wooden spoon or paddle. When you can’t pick up any more thick bits from the bottom of the can, then it’s well stirred. Stir occasionally while you’re painting.
  • Plan your painting – Always start from the top, doing ceiling first, then walls, doors, window frames and architraves. For outside jobs do fascia and guttering first.
  • Cleaning brushes – Water based paints can be washed out in clear water and oil based paint in turpentine. However, a brush restorer will help preserve your brushes so they can be used again and again. Don’t leave brushes standing on their bristles, but hang them up with bristles facing down.
  • Ventilate the room- Good ventilation is essential when you’re working with paints and stripper. Keep windows and doors open.
  • Metal priming – Use an etch primer on copper. For galvanised iron, use metal primer.
  • Remove rather than paint around – You’ll get a much neater finish if you remove handles, locks and so on instead of painting around them. Keep all the bits in a plastic bag.

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