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Painting Equipment List: 50 Must-Have Tools for Professional Painters

March 11, 2022 12 min. read

Having the right painting equipment can save you hours on paint jobs and keep your business efficient. Your clients expect a quick and high-quality job—and that starts with having the right tools.

We’ve compiled a painting equipment list for every kind of job to help make your interior painting, exterior painting, and prep work easier from start to finish.

Professional painting tools list

Carrying professional painting tools and knowing how to use them is what sets you apart from a DIY painter. From preparation to painting, here’s every house painting tool you need:

  1. Tape measure: You need measuring tape to calculate the exact area you’re painting before starting the project. With accurate measurements, you’ll buy the right amount of paint and stay within budget.
  2. Filler: Wall filler repairs holes and cracks in your walls. Some fillers come in a tube with a nozzle for easy application, but you can also apply it with a putty knife.
  3. Putty knife: A putty knife widens cracks and digs out trenches so you can make enough space for a filler. It can also easily scrape off excess filler to even out your repaired surface.
  4. Painter’s tape: Painters tape covers areas that you don’t want to paint, like baseboards and trim. This kind of tape won’t damage your walls when you remove it.
  5. Hand masker: A hand masker holds your painter’s tape and helps you apply the tape more easily and in straighter lines.
  6. Painter’s multi-tool: This is like a Swiss Army knife for painters, and the best painting tool for prep work. Most multi-tools come with a paint can opener, flat screw bit, nail puller, nut wrenches, scrapers, chisels, and crack openers.
  7. Stir stick: It’s not just for mixing colors. Oils in the paint can separate from the paint while they’re in the can. Mix it all together to make sure your paint comes out in an even tone.
  8. Brushes: Make sure you choose the right bristle type for your paint finish. Synthetic hair brushes are a good bet for any type of paint. Apply oil-based paints with natural hair bristles (also known as China bristles) to get a smoother finish.
  9. Roller frame: This is what holds your paint roller—it’s also known as a roller cage. Larger rollers are better for walls, ceilings, and other big surfaces. Use a 4-inch roller for cabinets and doors.
  10. Roller cover: The roller cover is the fuzzy cylinder that picks up and applies your paint. Roller covers come in a few nap sizes (thicknesses) which should vary depending on what texture you’re painting. Thicker naps pick up more paint—so the rougher your surface, the thicker your nap should be.
  11. Primer: Primer is a base coating you put on walls to prepare them for painting. It covers stains and imperfections, gives you a uniform surface to paint on, and helps bring out the true paint color.
  12. Paint sprayer: A sprayer helps you cover wider surfaces with less effort than a roller or a brush. These are great for painting over bumps or cracks in a wall—areas that rollers would struggle with.

House painting equipment list

Professional painting tools come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s the equipment you need to do quality work for house painting:

  1. Ladder: A basic stepladder will help you paint hard-to-reach places, whether you’re painting a two-storey exterior or a tall foyer inside a house.
  2. Angle brushes: These brushes create clean lines, which makes them essential for painting inside window frames and cutting doors and windows.
  3. Foam brush: This is a one-time-use brush that’s great for small touch-ups. Foam brushes come in packages of several brushes, so don’t worry about rinsing them—you can throw them out when you’re done.
  4. Rollers: 4-inch and 9-inch rollers are good enough for most house painting jobs. For exterior house painting, attach an extension pole to your roller to reach high surfaces.
  5. Paint tray: This is where you pour paint and dip your rollers. Plastic roller trays are more affordable and easier to clean—some are easier to peel paint off of when the paint dries. Or you could buy a more durable metal paint tray and use disposable plastic liners.
  6. Paint sprayer: A sprayer is more ideal for exterior painting and large painting projects, as it can get messy in home interiors.
  7. Paint scraper: A scraper is a metallic, handheld tool that removes old wallpaper and paint from walls. Since they’re durable and flexible, they’re also great for applying and spreading spackle.
  8. Drop cloth: A drop cloth is a fabric sheet that protects floors from paint drips and spills. Residential painting contractors usually use canvas drop cloths since they’re durable and washable. Use plastic sheeting to protect furniture that you can’t remove from the room.

READ MORE: How to estimate a painting job: 5 steps to making a profit

Commercial painting supplies list

Painting commercial spaces can be tough and time consuming—so it’s important you invest in equipment that makes the job easier. Pick up these painting supplies so you can provide great commercial painting services:

  1. Ladders and scaffolding: For a commercial painting project with hard-to-reach surfaces, use a ladder that’s easy to move or install scaffolding (depending on how high you need to paint). Check the load-bearing capacity of your scaffolding and make sure it sits on a solid and level foundation.
  2. Pressure washer: Pressure washers remove dust, dirt, chipping paint, grease, and oil from walls. Washing commercial building exteriors properly helps your paint adhere to the walls.
  3. Drop cloths: If you’re painting large spaces like open-concept offices, you’ll need large canvas drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect the floor from paint drips. This is especially important if you’re using sprayers to paint your walls.
  4. Paint sprayers: Commercial paint sprayers dispense paint as an aerosol spray, without needing a brush or roller. These help you paint larger surfaces in less time. Compressed air sprayers are the simplest to use, but you can get a more professional-looking finish with an airless sprayer.
  5. Wide rollers: For bigger walls, use a wide, 18-inch roller to cover double the area in the same amount of time as a standard 9-inch roller. Make sure your roller covers are the same size as your roller cages.
  6. Large bucket: It’s wise to use a 5-gallon bucket to combine multiple paint cans of the same color. This keeps all your paint in one convenient place—but make sure you mix them properly before painting to keep your coating a consistent color.
  7. Extension pole: Extension poles attach to your paint rollers so you can reach higher surfaces, in and outside your client’s building.
  8. Caulk and compound: Choose silicone or polyurethane caulking to seal holes and cracks in commercial buildings. These are built to last longer and make more durable repairs. Drywall compound is great for larger holes but takes longer to dry.
  9. Sandpaper: After repairs, sand the wall’s rough patches with a fine-grit sandpaper—around 180–240-grit. You might need to sand the entire drywall surface if you’re painting right after a new construction.
  10. Industrial primer: Look for a heavy-duty industrial primer for commercial painting jobs. Latex primer keeps drywall looking smooth and even. For other surfaces, oil-based primers usually work fine.

Interior painting tools for walls

There are countless painting tools you can use for interior walls. We’ve narrowed it down to this must-have interior painting equipment list:

  1. Microfiber cloth and cleaning solution: To wash off stains, grime, and dirt without damaging the walls, pick the right cloth and cleaners based on your surface material. A water and detergent mixture is usually safe for a standard interior wall.
  2. Screwdriver: Keep a screwdriver around to remove light switch plates and outlet covers. It’s best to use a flathead screwdriver, since wall plates tend to use flathead screws and Phillips screws.
  3. Painter’s tape: Apply painter’s tape around trim, baseboards, and anything you don’t want to get your primary paint coat on. To make sure you get clean and even paint lines, use a putty knife to press the tape’s edges to the trim.
  4. Drop cloths: Use drop cloths to cover and protect floors and furniture before painting. You can also use old sheets instead of canvas or plastic drop cloths.
  5. Small paint brush: Pick up a 2-and-a-half inch sash brush—the best way to start an interior wall is to paint along the edges with a small brush once your trim and ceiling edges are taped.
  6. Roller: A 4-inch paint roller usually works well enough for basic interior painting jobs. Grab your roller cage and covers once you’ve brush-painted the edges of your walls.

READ MORE: 16 best apps for painting contractors

Exterior house painting tools for walls

Exterior painting requires its own set of tools to clean walls, protect houses from weather damage, and ensure worker safety. You’ll need these tools to paint exterior walls:

  1. Ladder: Always bring a ladder to exterior painting jobs so you can paint higher areas safely.
  2. Pressure washer: Pressure washers are for heavy-duty cleaning—they remove things like dirt, stains, and grime buildup, from exterior siding. Use a cleaner with trisodium phosphate (TSP) to get a quality clean.
  3. Scraper or wire brush: Depending on the exterior siding material, scrapers or wire brushes will help you scrape away loose paint that your pressure washer doesn’t wash off.
  4. Exterior silicone caulk and gun: This type of caulk is temperature-resistant and built to handle all weather conditions. Apply exterior silicone caulk to gaps and cracks along exterior window and door trims.
  5. Drop cloth: Lay down a drop cloth wherever you can to protect decks, lawns, sidewalks, driveway, flowerbeds, and bushes.
  6. Plastic sheeting: Plastic sheets are best for covering outdoor lighting fixtures, doors, and windows.
  7. Exterior primer or sealer: Use primer to help your paint adhere better to exterior surfaces in all weather conditions. Primer works great for concrete, vinyl, and wood siding. Use a sealer or a masonry primer for brick, concrete, stone, and stucco.
  8. Exterior paint: Always use paint labeled “exterior paint.” Acrylic and latex paint are safe bets for vinyl and fiber-cement siding. Use oil-based or acrylic paints for wood, and masonry paint for brick, stone, and similar surfaces.
  9. Paint sprayer: Use a paint sprayer to apply your exterior paint in less time than rollers or brushes. A paint sprayer can help you paint over rough surfaces easily and evenly.
  10. Roller and extension pole: Choose a roller with a thicker nap size (1 to 1 ½ inches) for rougher surfaces, and save trips to the ladder by using a roller pole to reach higher places.
  11. Brushes: Flat brushes are best for exterior siding. Use angle brushes to cut doors and windows, and a small brush to paint casing, trim, woodwork, and any smaller details.

Fence painting tools list

Fences might seem simpler to paint than home exteriors, but they come with their own challenges—wood chipping, decay, and different repair techniques that require special tools.

Bring this painting equipment with you for your next fence painting job:

  1. Paint scraper: Scrapers remove old paint that’s chipping or flaking on wood fences. You can also use them to smooth out imperfections like knots, but be careful not to scrape too hard and damage the wood.
  2. Paint remover and cloth: Paint remover dissolves old paint and lets you wipe away parts that can’t be scraped off. Use a soft cloth, like a microfiber cloth, to gently clean the surface.
  3. Wood filler: Applying wood filler is the best way to repair dents and divots in wood fences. First, mix your filler in its container with a putty knife, since wood filler can separate after sitting for too long.
  4. Putty knife: A putty knife will help you mix your wood filler and apply it to cracks, dents, and holes in your fence.
  5. Fence cleaner: Apply a fence cleaning solution with a brush or a rag, or use a spray cleaner. Then, spray down the fence with a pressure washer or hose and let it dry completely before painting.
  6. Fence primer: Prime your fence before painting, just like you would for a wall. Choose an alkyd-based primer for red species of wood, and acrylic latex or oil-based primer for all other types.
  7. Fence stain: You can use stain colors to completely change the look of a fence, and even make one type of wood look like another. While oil-based stains last longer, water-based stains protect wood better from harsh weather and decay.
  8. Fence paint: If you’re painting instead of staining, choose paint based on the finish that your client wants (e.g., glossy, semi-gloss, flat, or eggshell).
  9. Brush: Use a small angle brush to paint the spaces between pickets and other tight areas. You can paint the rest of the fence with a larger brush if you’re not already using a roller or sprayer.
  10. Roller: You can paint over your pickets with a roller for a faster job, but make sure you use a brush afterwards to go over smaller areas that need precision.
  11. Sprayer: Sprayers are efficient for fence painting, but it can be hard to get an even coat. Make sure you cover the area surrounding your fence—and use a drop cloth to cover flowerbeds and bushes.

READ MORE: Hiring painting subcontractors: a complete guide

Tools for prep work

Choosing the right prep tools for painting will set you up for success when the first roller hits the wall. Here’s the most essential equipment for repairs, cleaning, and surface preparation.

  1. Filler: Use filler to repair holes and cracks in your walls before painting. Choose a filler that’s made for the surface material or type of repairs you’re doing.
  2. Patching knife: A patching knife or putty knife helps you even out the areas you’ve filled.
  3. Caulking: Use caulking to fill in cracks between window trim and walls, or your baseboards and walls.
  4. Caulking gun: If you’re applying a large amount of sealant, use a caulking gun to go faster and get more even results.
  5. Sandpaper: Sandpaper (or a sanding block) smooths out rough patches on your walls after you make repairs. You can choose the grit of your sandpaper (how coarse it is) based on the material you’re sanding. Typically, a fine-grit sandpaper between 180–240-grit is great for sanding between paint coats.
  6. Wall cleaner and cloths: Clean walls properly to remove dust, grease, and dirt. Use a mixture of soap and warm water to clean walls so that your paint sticks properly and gets distributed evenly.
  7. Vacuum cleaner: Use a wet dry shop vacuum with a narrow attachment that can clean dust off of baseboards, casing, and trim.
  8. Tape: Prep walls for painting by taping off every baseboard, window casing, trim, and doors with painter’s tape.
  9. Drywall tape knife: Instead of taping off the floor underneath baseboards, you can place a drywall tape knife under your brush to guard paint from the floor while painting baseboards. You can also use it to get clean lines when you tear off your painter’s tape.
  10. Brush and roller cleaner (with a bucket): Use a mix of warm water and soap to clean your brushes and rollers. A drywall knife or putty knife can scrape off excess paint from your rollers before you wash them.

Get the right equipment for every paint job

Preparing for a painting job can feel overwhelming—especially when it’s a service you’re not used to. But if you keep a full toolkit of painting equipment, you’ll handle the toughest painting jobs with less effort.

Come back to this painting equipment list whenever you need a reminder for what to buy, pack, and use for every job.

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