Paint and Decorating

Paint & Decorating Terms

Extension Ladder

  • A non-self supporting type of ladder with two similar sections that are linked with internal guides on the bottom of base section and external guides on the top.
  • Sections are pulled apart to increase length.
  • Used for working in high areas and primarily for exterior applications.
  • Available in heights ranging from 16’ to 40’.
  • Smaller extension ladders are extended manually and secured with gravity spring lock brackets
  • that rest on the selected rung.
  • Larger extension ladders are extended by means of a rope and pulley running down the side of the ladder and secured with a cleat.
  • Generally available in all aluminum and fiberglass with aluminum rungs.
  • Rungs can be round or flat and are usually serrated for enhanced slip resistance.
  • Ladder shoes pivot to allow full contact with ground. Shoes can also be turned up to penetrate soft ground for extra stability.
  • Quality classifications include consumer (household), commercial (mechanic) and industrial grades.


  • Used For scraping debris off of floors, sidewalks or hard surfaces.
  • Good for removing ice.
  • Has a flat, steel blade.

Interior Paint

  • Is available in latex and oil-based formulations in different gloss levels such as flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss and high-gloss.
  • Interior latex paint is easily applied and can be thinned with water. Brushes and rollers can also be cleaned with water.
  • Latex paint is the most common and easiest type of paint to use.
  • Oil-based interior paint consists of a pigment that exists within a substance made of resins and thinners. When thinners evaporate, the resins form a hard coating—and the pigment provides the color.
  • The contents of oil-based paints make them harder to apply, although this same characteristic can also give them a heavier coverage on the first coat.
  • Oil-based paints have certain disadvantages, particularly the odor and the longer drying time (8 to 24 hours). Solvents, thinners or turpentine are also necessary for cleanup, and oil-based paints cannot be applied to moist surfaces.


Exterior Paint

  • Like interior paint, exterior paint is available in both latex and oil-based formulations—both of which are designed to withstand wear and exposure to severe weather conditions.
  • The advantage of exterior latex paint is that it films on exterior wood allowing moisture to evaporate through the film, which helps reduce blistering.
  • The disadvantages of exterior latex paint, especially of some lower-quality products, are poorer adhesion to badly weathered or chalking surfaces and, in some cases, less effective hiding qualities.
  • The best qualities of oil-based paints are their effective penetration of the surface and excellent adhesion. Oil-based paints have advantages over latex paints in that they adhere better to chalky surfaces and they provide better results for anyone repainting a surface that already has several layers of oil-based paint.
  • Trim paints are chosen to contrast with house color. They dry quickly to a hard finish; they are primarily for use on window frames, shutters and railings. Trim paints are not recommended for large surfaces.
  • Flat finishes, which mark easily, should not be used on doors, door frames or other areas that are exposed to wear. Satin or gloss paints are recommended for these areas.
  • Major problems associated with house paints are generally due to:
    • failure to follow manufacturer’s directions
    • excessive moisture
    • painting wet surfaces
    • painting during inclement weather
    • failure to use proper primer coat
    • failure to clean the surface completely.
  • Any of these conditions can cause blistering, peeling, early fading or similar problems.

Masonry Waterproofing Paint

  • Coating used for masonry surfaces including stucco, concrete, brick, cement, etc.
  • Most masonry paints are acrylic latex-based. Oil-based paint is not recommended for masonry because of the residual alkalinity in the masonry.
  • Most latex-based masonry paints require a special pre-treatment or bonding primer to tie down old chalk and dust before application.
  • Rough surfaces should first receive a coat of block-filler. Acrylic elastomeric coatings bridge cracks and pinholes to provide the best waterproofing.
  • Powdered cement paints, which have a shorter exterior life than latex coatings, must be mixed with water. They can be applied only over a porous masonry surface such as brick, stucco or concrete, or over surfaces that have been previously coated with this same kind of paint. For proper adhesion, the old surface must be wetted down thoroughly and the paint applied to the damp surface.
  • Masonry paint can be waterproof as well as decorative. For best color retention, coat with a good acrylic latex paint 30 days after application of waterproof masonry paint.

Enamel Paint

  • Is a type of oil-based or water-based paint with superior adhesion qualities.
  • Used in both exterior and interior applications.
  • Provides a resilient durable finish that can last for years.


Epoxy Paint

  • Is primarily for bare or previously finished wood and concrete floors. It penetrates rapidly and can be applied with a brush or mop.
  • Adheres to most surfaces and is especially good for doors, cabinets, trim and furniture—any interior wood surface where a clear-gloss, easy-to-clean finish is desired.
  • Resists detergent, oil and alkali, but may lose gloss and chalk under exposure to sun and weather.
  • Epoxy finishes are formulated in one- or two-part systems.
  • Two-part epoxies come in kits containing equal size cans and contents are mixed; they are more chemical- and abrasion- resistant than one-component epoxies.


Aluminum Paint

  • Is a paint with aluminum blended with a resin base.
  • For interior and exterior use on heated surfaces, such as ovens, barbecue grills, mufflers and other surfaces that are exposed to high heat.
  • It works equally well on almost any surface and may be brushed or sprayed. Colors become more intense with age.
  • Aluminum paint can be used on all interior and exterior metal or wood surfaces, or applied to metal flashing, gutters, downspouts, tools, tool sheds, patio furniture, pipes, mailboxes, fences, etc.
  • Do not apply aluminum paint during freezing temperatures; paint should dry at least overnight before recoating.


Paint Conditioner

  • Can be added to either oil-based or latex paints for a variety of reasons—to keep edges wet longer, to prevent lapping, to allow the paint to cover better or to lessen drag on the paint applicator.
  • Conditioners also lessen paint clogging in spraying systems.
  • Some additives are designed to give latex some of the better qualities of oil-based paints.



  • Japan DrierAlso known as Japan drier.
  • Increases the gloss and hardness of oil-based paint.
  • Also decreases dry time by as much as 30 percent.
  • Generally mix 8 oz. per gallon of paint.
  • Not for use water-based paints.

Paint Odor Additive

  • Reduces paint odors from both latex and oil-based paints.
  • Can also be used on lacquers, varnishes, epoxies, stain blockers and primers.


Paint Mildewcide

  • Paint additive that reduces mold and mildew.
  • Good for interior and exterior use.
  • For latex and solvent-based paint.
  • Also can be used with water-based adhesives.
  • Some paint manufacturers suggest that additives may not live up to their claims and can even have adverse effects, such as increasing mildew growth. They can also void paint warranties, so check manufacturer policies and literature.



  • Ensures better and longer-lasting results when applied before any type of paint.
  • Primers and stain-killing primer-sealers are designed to seal porous surfaces, block out stains, promote adhesion of the topcoat and hide unwanted colors.
  • Improves adhesion, prevents stains on the surface from bleeding through the finish paint and seals porous surfaces.
  • Priming the surface also saves paint and prevents paint resins from soaking unevenly into the substrate.
  • Water-based primer-sealers bind moderately chalky surfaces and offer good adhesion to glossy surfaces and metals. They are almost odorless and clean up with soap and water.
  • Oil-based primer-sealers can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces. They work well for nicotine stains and cedar bleed. They give off a low odor and clean up with mineral spirits (paint thinner).
  • Acrylic block fillers should be used to prime concrete block.
  • Stain-killing primer-sealers are oil-based, water-based or shellac-based. They prime virtually anything that needs painting, including metal, masonry, wood, drywall and previously painted surfaces. They are typically white-pigmented and can be tinted to match the color of the topcoat to reduce the amount of finish paint needed for the job.
  • Shellac-based primer-sealers are ideal for interior woodwork and spot-priming knots on exterior wood. They are best for sealing off troublesome stains from water leaks, mildew and fire damage. They also seal off odors from smoke and pets. Clean up requires alcohol or a 1:3 solution of household ammonia in water.

Spray Paint

  • Is an aerosol-based product used for a variety of applications.
  • Spray paint is classified by the type of finish and length of wear.
  • Generic terms such as “enamel” and “lacquer” are used, but they also encompass a variety of film-forming resins with differing characteristics. Read labels and manufacturers’ literature for a description of actual features.
  • Latex-based spray paint is safe to use indoors or outdoors, resists scratches and cleans up easily with soap and water. It can be applied to wood, metal, wicker, clay, plaster and plastic materials.
  • There are three kinds of aerosol propellants: hydrocarbons (liquid propellants), carbon dioxide (a compressed gas) and dimethyl ether.
  • Hydrocarbons are effective as propellants because they turn to vapor as the product is used and then fill the void left by the decrease in product.
  • Carbon dioxide does not maintain a constant pressure, so it is best recommended where a coarse, wet spray is needed and where the distance to be sprayed is short.
  • Aerosols are effective and safe—as long as the product is used in well-ventilated areas. For most aerosols, instructions on the can make usage easy, but paint is different because the kinds and qualities vary greatly.

Trim Brush

  • Also called a sash brush, it is generally available in 1” to 3” widths.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).
  • Used to paint trim and smaller, detailed work.
  • End of bristles or filaments (or edge) can be square (flat) or cut at an angle (angular) for cutting in delicate trim work. Tips can be “flagged,” or have split ends.
  • With square trim brushes, the end of the brush is trimmed flat or horizontal. With chisel trim, the end of the brush is cut to a dome-like shape, which increases taper and cutting-in properties.

Paint Brush

  • Also called a flattening brush.
  • Generally comes in 3” to 5” widths.
  • Used for painting larger surfaces, such as ceilings, floors, chimneys, etc.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).

Varnish & Enamel Brush

  • Commonly used by professional painters for applying a wide variety of paints and stains.
  • Known for holding and delivering more paint than other types of brushes.
  • Some have satin-edge finishes on bristles for enhanced performance.
  • Recommended for both interior and exterior painting.
  • Available in natural bristles (generally used for applying oil-based coatings) and synthetic filaments (for water-based paints).

Stain Brush

  • A wider brush generally available in 4” to 6” widths.
  • Many types feature natural white China bristles for working with oil-based stains, sealers and wood toners.
  • Also available in synthetic filaments.

Radiator Brush

  • Also called hockey stick due to shape.
  • Used to paint hard-to-reach areas.
  • Sash positioned at 45-degree angle to long handle.

Foam Brush

  • Foam brushes have handles like regular brushes, but a foam pad replaces the bristles.
  • Considered disposable because they are inexpensive, but most are durable enough to be cleaned and reused.
  • Ideal for clear finishes, however, most brands are not recommended for use with lacquer or shellac, which have chemical formulas that destroy the foam.

Paint Roller

  • A tool consisting of a handle with an extension socket on the end to allow the user to add an extension pole and a frame that holds the roller cover.
  • Great for speed of application.
  • Standard wall rollers are 7″ to 12″ wide.
  • Some rollers have shields incorporated into the structure of the tool to combat spatter and drizzle.
  • Smaller rollers, called trim rollers or mini rollers work well on woodwork and other small areas that cannot be painted with standard rollers. They are available in many different sizes and shapes, depending on the area for which they are designed.
  • An advanced roller is the paint stick, which pumps paint straight from the handle or the can to the wall, where it can be rolled on with the attached roller. The advantage is that the user does not have to deal with drips or messy trays.

Roller Cover

  • Available in natural or synthetic fibers.
  • The density of the fiber determines the roller’s ability to hold paint and spread it evenly. Inexpensive rollers that become matted or fail to spread the paint will produce a mottled finish, regardless of the quality of paint used. They may also leave lint on the painted surface.
  • Mohair covers are especially good for applying enamel, while lambs wool covers are excellent for alkyd paints, but not latex.
  • Synthetic fibers make good all-purpose covers. In fact, about 95 percent of all roller covers are synthetic.
  • Smooth roller covers (with a 3/16″ or 1/4″ nap) are used for painting walls, floors and fine finishing.
  • Medium rollers covers (with a 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap) are used for for sand-textured walls.
  • Rough rollers covers (with a 3/4″ or 1″ nap) are used for light stucco walls and masonry floors.
  • Extra rough covers (with a 1-1/4″ nap) are used to paint brick, block, masonry and stucco.
  • Texture roller covers are designed specifically for the applying texture paints. Some are foam with patterns etched into the surface. Others have deep, looped material. Texture roller covers have large diameters to accommodate the heavier consistency of texture paints.

Extension Pole

  • Makes roller painting both faster and easier for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Generally range from 1′ to 16′ in length.
  • Some poles are adjustable, or telescoping, to handle a multitude of painting situations.
  • They also enable the user to stand on the floor instead of a ladder when painting high walls or ceilings.
  • Generally made of fiberglass or aluminum
  • Some include quick-release adaptors for easy tool changes.
  • Usually extends in 6” increments.

Paint Pad

  • Lies flat on the surface, allowing the user to avoid spattering.
  • Most pads are made of mohair or foam and can apply either latex or oil-based paints.
  • Some models have guide wheels or trim tabs that guarantee a straight line at the point of intersection.
  • Paint pads are also an excellent way to apply waterproof coating to a deck or fence. Attached to a long handle, they eliminate bending and stooping and can be washed and re-used.

Corner Pad

  • A corner pad is a paint pad shaped in a 90 degree angle to allow for easy painting of corners.

Airless Paint Sprayer

  • Used when painting large areas with the same color or painting intricate surfaces such as furniture or grillwork where other tools will not reach all surfaces.
  • Airless sprayers eject paint at high pressure. An electric airless paint system consists of a paint container, high-pressure pump, motor, handle and housing and pressure regulator. Extension nozzles, longer suction tubes, extra nozzles and viscosity measuring cups are optional accessories.
  • Choice of spraying tip depends on paint consistency, but generally the thinner the paint, the smaller the tip needed. Paint consistency also governs pump pressure. Thinner materials such as stains, lacquers, enamels and sealers require less pressure than heavier materials such as house and wall paint.
  • Paints that have been formulated for brush or roller application may be too thick for spraying. They should be tested first and thinned if necessary.

Wood Stain

  • Is available in oil-based, water-based and gel formulations.
  • The two major types of wood stains are semi-transparent and solid-color (opaque), where the essential difference between the two is that semi-transparent stains impart color, but the texture and the natural grain of the wood continues to show through; while on solid-color stains, the texture still shows through, but not the grain itself.
  • Interior stains, used for furniture and woodwork, come in either pigmented or dye categories. Both can have oil, synthetic or water bases. Pigmented stains color the wood with the same type of pigments used in paint. They range in color from almost clear to semi-transparent. They are easy to apply—usually brushed on or wiped on with a rag, then wiped off enough to control the depth of the stain. They leave no brush or lap marks if applied properly.
  • Exterior stain is used primarily on wood siding and shingles, decks, outdoor structures and furniture. It is also available in latex and oil-based formulas. Oil-based stains penetrate the wood, and they erode with weathering. Latex stains do not typically fade as rapidly.
  • Stains may or may not protect the wood; check manufacturers’ labels. An oil or polyurethane finish can be mixed with the stain, so the do-it-yourselfer can complete the staining and finishing job in one step.
  • Wood stain pens will hide minor scratches, nicks and chips on furniture and wood.


  • Is a blend of oils and resins that coat the surface of wood to give it a transparent, protective coating, allowing the beauty of the wood to show through.
  • It can leave a gloss, semi-gloss or satin finish, depending on its formulation.
  • Varnishes fall into three groups, divided by their base: alkyd, latex or phenolic.
  • Phenolic varnishes of modified phenolic oils deliver the best durability, especially in exterior uses. They absorb ultraviolet light and neutralize oxidation. However, they also tend to yellow faster than other varnishes.
  • Alkyd varnishes offer flexibility and hardness in both interior and exterior uses, but in exterior use they oxidize more quickly. However, they do not yellow as much as phenolics.
  • Latex varnishes offer the advantages of oil-based coatings and the cleanup convenience of a water based coating. The acrylic coatings take from 30 to 90 minutes to dry and do not yellow the wood. Some acrylic-based varnishes are even durable enough for use on floors; check manufacturers’ recommendations.
  • Varnishes are also typically mixed with a tung oil or linseed oil.


  • Comes in water-based and oil-based formulations.
  • Recommended for interior use on floors and many times wood furniture because of its excellent protection.
  • Polyurethane stains are better used for interior applications for water-resistance and hard use, but do produce a rather plastic appearance. For a more natural-looking gloss, use an Alkyd for furniture and indoor architectural trim and doors.
  • It is generally not recommended for outdoor use because it will yellow and crack when exposed to ultraviolet light—unless ultraviolet light absorbers are added.


  • Provides a fast, hard-drying, durable finish for furniture, woodwork, hardwood floors and other wood-finishing applications.
  • It also functions as a sealer and stain-killer on drywall, cured plaster and new wood. Shellac is widely compatible with other coatings, and it can be applied over old shellac, varnish or lacquer finishes that are adhering well.
  • Most shellac is sold in a 3-lb. cut, the consistency recommended for most uses. The 3-lb. cut can be thinned to a 1-lb. cut for applications such as wood sealer before staining by thinning one quart of shellac with three pints of alcohol.
  • For applications where water spotting may be a problem, shellacked surfaces can be protected with paste wax or varnish.
  • Shellac may be applied with a brush, foam brush or from a can. When brushing, flow on the shellac from a full brush—with minimum brushing—and do not re-brush areas, since the alcohol-based solvent of shellac dries quickly.
  • Cleans up with ammonia and warm water.

Wood Preservatives Waterproofers

  • Water repellents minimize water damage on pressure-treated and untreated wood. Some also contain a mildewcide to control mold and mildew. Use water repellent formulated for immediate application to pressure-treated wood to avoid premature cracking, splitting, splintering and warping. Periodic re-applications help prevent water damage as wood ages.
  • Wood preservatives by themselves provide no protection against moisture or water. Water repellency must be formulated into the product. Mildewcides are also frequently formulated into preservatives.
  • Water-borne, water-repellent preservatives for wood offer lower environmental hazards and convenient water cleanup. They provide an alternative to conventional solvent-based, water-repellent preservatives while retaining effectiveness, rapid drying qualities and excellent paintability.
  • Wood toners are water repellents that add color to highlight wood grain. Although toners are not to be used as if they are stains, adding color to a water repellent gives wood the benefit of ultraviolet light protection.
  • Most toners on the market are designed for use on pressure-treated wood. Some repellents contain ingredients that cause water to bead.
  • Specialty waterproofers include a multi-surface formula that can be used on brick and concrete, an aerosol version that works well for small exterior projects, a fence protector, a leather and fabric protector and a sport waterproofer specially designed for use on outdoor fabric and sporting equipment.
  • Preservatives should be reapplied periodically.


  • Is available in clear or colored formulations and has a fast-drying finish.
  • Work fast with lacquers. Also you may try a 50/50 mixture of lacquer and lacquer thinner (each preferably made by the same manufacturer) to slow drying time.
  • Lacquers should be applied only to new wood or over previously lacquered surfaces. They cannot be used over old paint or varnish; the solvents will lift old finishes.
  • Lacquers are available in clear or colors. They are usually difficult to apply by brush. However, some manufacturers do offer specially formulated versions that apply more easily with a brush.
  • Lacquer thinners are required to clean tools.

Wood Hardener

  • Formulated to strengthen and reinforce decayed or rotting wood.
  • Is a liquid consolidating agent that seeps deep into soft, deteriorated wood fibers, then hardens it to restore strength and some structural integrity.
  • Depending on the strength required, the formula can be water-based, solvent-based or two-part epoxy.

Grain Filler

  • Fills the open grain and pores on hardwoods like oak, ash and mahogany.
  • Designed to achieve a flat surface on work surface before top coating with a clear finish.

Wood Conditioner Sealer

  • Is used on softwoods to help tame wild grain patterns and to even up stain absorbency.
  • The sealer penetrates the wood, which allows a more even color appearance and grain pattern.

Heavy Duty Scraper

  • Is used to scrape old wallpaper off walls and peeling paint from work surfaces.
  • Blade is removable for replacement and is secured with screws.
  • Angled head offers enhanced leverage.
  • Many now come with ergonomic rubber grip handles for enhanced comfort.

Paint and Varnish Scraper

  • Also called a wood scraper.
  • Removes old finishes and smooths the surface with its sharp cutting blade.
  • Often used with paint strippers and other chemical removers
  • Can either have a fixed blade like a putty knife (generally called a wall scraper) or a replaceable blade.
  • Sizes range from the 1″ blade—primarily used for small, hard-to-reach areas—to a 5″ blade.
  • Replaceable blades are usually made from tempered, high-carbon steel. Some have carbide or even diamond-honed blades for greater cutting ability and durability.
  • Contour scrapers can accommodate a variety of blades for removing materials on rounded surfaces and in grooves.

Putty Knife

  • Putty knives range in size from 1″ to 3″. Generally, the greatest demand is for 1-1/4″ and 1-1/2″. Models with wider blades are joint taping knives.
  • Blades range from stiff to flexible for different tasks.
  • The finest quality putty knife blades are made from mirror-finished, high-carbon steel and are hardened, tempered and individually ground.
  • Used for applying putty and spackling as well as scraping paint, chipping out old putty, scraping off accumulated grease and scraping old finishes off furniture.

Painter’s Tool

  • Also called 5-in-1, 6-in-1 or 8-in-1 Tool or a Glazier’s Tool.
  • Can be used for a variety of tasks, as a scraper, spreader, crack cleaner, roller squeegee and even a can opener.
  • Half-round cutout helps remove paint from rollers during cleaning.
  • Blade is fixed to handle.
  • Many models have ergonomic handles for enhanced comfort.

Spackling Compound

  • Is used for patching cracked plaster, filling nail holes, repairing wallboard and smoothing surface imperfections on unprimed wood.
  • Lightweight vinyl spackling is the easiest to use—it resists shrinking, cracking and sagging and requires little sanding.
  • One type of spackling changes color when optimum drying time is achieved. It goes on pink and turns white when dry to signal time for sanding and painting.
  • While some are formulated specifically for either interior or exterior applications, many can be used in either situation.
  • Available in 8 oz., pint, quart and gallon buckets as well as 6 oz. tubes.

Patching Plaster

  • Is a fast-setting powder ready to use by adding water.
  • It dries hard to uniform, white color.
  • It repairs and covers large holes and deep cracks in plaster walls and ceilings.
  • Patching plaster may be drilled, sanded and painted and can be textured to match existing surface.

Plaster of Paris

  • Is a quick-setting white powder used to repair wallboard, plaster walls and ceilings, set bathroom wall fixtures—towel racks, soap dishes, etc.—and for art projects.
  • It usually hardens within 30 minutes.
  • No more water than necessary should be added; when water evaporates, the plaster shrinks.

Painter’s Putty

  • Available in either dry or pliable form.
  • Repairs cracks, dents, breaks and holes in furniture, wood and concrete floors, woodwork, metal and other interior surfaces.
  • In dry form (known as water putty because water must be added), it dries to the shade of new wood but can be tinted with dry color. It sets rapidly, cannot be reworked, dries hard and can be sanded, tooled and finished like wood.
  • Pliable Putty (also known as wood putty because it is made from hardwood) is rubbed on wood surfaces before painting to close pores in certain woods such as oak, mahogany, walnut, chestnut, elm, butternut, hickory, ash, rosewood and satinwood. It is not synonymous with patching materials, which fill holes or cracks in finished or unfinished surfaces.
  • Most wood putties come in paste form and must be thinned; the container label tells which thinner to use. Putty is brushed on, rubbed, sanded and sealed before finishing.
  • Wood putties are available in water-based form, allowing greater safety, rapid drying and less shrinkage. All wood putty patches must be sanded flush with the old surface. Patches can be stained, painted or varnished.

Brush and Roller Cleaner

  • Restores hard brushes and washes away oil and latex paints as well as varnish.
  • Reduces cleaning effort and helps applicators last longer.
  • Most formulations will not harm either natural or nylon bristle brushes, but they can harm synthetic bristles. Synthetic brushes should be cleaned in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Safer to use and less odor than paint thinner.
  • Can also be used to remove paint from hands.

Mineral Spirits

  • Also known as paint thinner.
  • A petroleum distillate solvent frequently used in the manufacturing and thinning of oil-based paints.
  • Odorless mineral spirits have been refined to remove some odorous components.
  • Excellent paint thinner and for cleaning brushes or rollers after painting.

Lacquer Thinner

  • Is available in many grades and degrees of solvency and in several speeds of evaporation.
  • An excellent cleaner for brushes and spray guns where lacquer has been used.
  • Since it leaves no residue, lacquer thinner does not require cleaned brushes to be washed with soap and water.
  • Highly flammable solvent that should be used with extreme caution.

Paint and Varnish Remover

  • Are formulated to dissolve or soften old finishes for easy removal on metal, masonry, wood and fiberglass surfaces.
  • Available in gel, semi-paste, aerosol and spray-on formulas.
  • Some formulations contain methylene chloride as the primary solvent, but due to health concerns, “safe” non-meth strippers are available that are non toxic and non flammable.
  • While non-meth strippers are safer to use, they take longer to act and are more expensive than their meth counterparts. However, they stay active longer, which means they can remove more paint layers in a single application.
  • Some strippers change color to signal completion of the process, and some removers are formulated so that no after wash or neutralizing is required.

Wallpaper Removers

  • A liquid spray-on solution that uses enzymes to break down the paste and destroy its adhesive strength.
  • Also available in a water-based gel formulations that can be applied with a brush or roller.

Ladder Mitts

  • Are attached to the top rails of extension ladders to prevent marring of the surface the ladder is leaning on.
  • Generally made of tear-resistant and weather resistant urethane foam.

Ladder Tool Holder

  • Tool holder that drapes on both sides of the top of step ladders.
  • Contain separate pockets to hold different hand tools and fasteners.
  • One pocket generally snaps off to enable it to be used with extension ladders.

Paint Pail Shelf

  • Attaches to step ladders to provide a tray for paint cans.
  • Generally constructed of molded plastic shelf with aluminum arms.
  • Some models automatically close when step ladder is folded for storage.
  • Usually contains a built-in rag rack.

Ladder Paint Tray

  • Similar to paint tray for step ladders but designed for extension ladders.
  • Can fit on aluminum or fiberglass extension ladders with round or flat rungs.

Ladder Levelers

  • Can be mounted to one or both legs of a ladder to allow it to remain level on uneven surfaces.
  • Consists of two swivel shoes that adjust between 3-1/2” and 8-1/2” (depending on the model) so that one leg can stand on the ground and one can stand on an elevated surface, such as a step.

Ladder Stabilizer

  • Attaches near the top of extension ladders to help stabilize the ladder and make it safer to use.
  • Most models provide a wider or more stable base and protective rubber end cap to protect the work surface.
  • Can be used on both aluminum and fiberglass extension ladders and even articulated ladders to hold ladder 10” away from the wall.
  • Some models include spring loaded locking latch for quick installation and removal.
  • Commonly used to span second story windows to center ladder when working on windows. Some models span double windows.
  • Some models also designed for use on corners.

Paint Can Bucket Hanger

  • Provides a convenient place for paint or tools.
  • Can secure one gallon paint can to ladder for ease of painting.
  • Some models include swivel hooks that snap to the can to keep it level.
  • Other models specifically designed to attach to the frame of extension and step ladders.

Ladder Jacks

  • Convert a pair of extension ladders into a working platform.
  • Ladder jacks can accommodate 12”, 14” and 20” wide planks, depending on the model, and can be attached to either 2 or 3 rungs.
  • Clamp secures platform to ladder jacks and ties supporting ladders together to help secure entire ladder jack system.
  • Can be mounted to either side of an extension ladder.

Natural Sea Sponge

  • Used with sponging technique to apply paint and glaze to the surface to give a mottled look.
  • Process begins with application of a coat of paint in a solid color. Once this coat is dry, the damp sponge is then used to add glaze in another color.
  • One line of sponges comes with a plastic handle that can be removed as well as a smaller trim sponge for corners.
  • Can also be used with a negative method, which involves applying a base coat, then a glaze coat. A sponge is then used to remove some of the glaze before it has a chance to dry, partially exposing the color of the base coat.

Rag Rolling Applicator

  • Used with rag rolling technique to achieve effects similar to crushed velvet, parchment, chamois leather, watered silk or brocade.
  • As with sponging, ragging begins with application of a coat of paint in a solid color and allowing it to dry. A crumpled cloth is then used to add glaze in another color.
  • To rag-roll, a cloth is rolled into a sausage shape of varying tightness, then lightly dipped into the glaze and rolled gently across the base coat.
  • Ragging and rag-rolling results vary according to the cloth material used. Linen, lace and burlap are common choices, but almost any material will do if it is clean and free of lint.
  • Can also be used with a negative method, which involves applying a base coat, then a glaze coat. A rag is then rolled over the glaze to remove some of it before it has a chance to dry, partially exposing the color of the base coat.

Graining Feather

  • Used in marbling technique, in which a base layer of white or color is dabbed on with a damp sponge, and then a second glaze of a different color is applied the same way, causing the two colors to “marble.”
  • The feather provides the “veined” look.
  • Marbling is often done with fireplace mantles.

Stippling Brush

  • Brush used to create stippling effect which is a faux technique that gives an aged look to new surfaces.
  • Stippling involves using the brush to paint criss-cross patterns using glaze over a base coat. The brush bristles are then used to dab on glaze to achieve the desired look.

Graining Comb

  • Tool used to achieve striated effect, which involves covering a wall with regular paint, applying a glaze and then running the comb through the glaze to remove glaze.
  • Combing tends to darken the color of the wall and it can be done in any direction.
  • Cross-hatching is when the wall is combed once straight down and once horizontally.

Glazing Paint

  • Interior latex paint that is ready to use, with no mixing of additional glazes required.
  • For use on walls, ceilings, furniture and crafts.
  • Available in a variety of effects, including metallic, distressed wood, lime wash, sand texture, etc.

Tintable Glaze

  • Mixed with latex paint to create a translucent color that provides a multi-dimensional look.
  • Dries to the touch in between 10 and 30 minutes.

Crackle Paste

  • Also called aging glaze.
  • Used to create rustic, antique designs that resemble the look of cracked oil varnish.
  • Can be applied over any painted surface, including furniture, woodwork, trim, lamps and decorative accessories.
  • Sometimes comes in a three-part system, with base coat, top coat and either light or dark enhancer.

Venetian Plaster

  • Used to achieve a polished marble-like effect.
  • Gives the look and feel of natural stone.
  • Can be tinted and applied to any flat, smooth surface.
  • Surface must be primed or have a matte finish.

Clear Coat

  • Clear acrylic protective finish for painted walls.
  • Particularly recommended for crackled walls and walls where sand tones have been applied.
  • Gives an ultra flat finish.

Sculpture Paint

  • Thick paste material for creating raised designs.
  • Commonly used with stencils.
  • Porous nature accepts additional glaze well and can be blended with glaze to created tinted designs.
  • Can be used on walls, furniture, cabinets and crafts.

Coloring Tint

  • Tint used to change color of glazes when faux finishing.
  • Available in a variety of colors.
  • Generally comes in 12 oz or 1 oz. bottles and tubes.

Roller Tray

  • A container that holds paint when using a paint roller.
  • Most trays have ribbed bottoms to remove excess paint from a roller cover after filling it.
  • Ladder-lock legs permit them to snap onto a stepladder.
  • A good quality tray can last indefinitely if cleaned after each use.
  • Plastic tray liners are also available.
  • Some trays features a lid that closes and seals paint, roller or brush inside the tray. This eliminates the need to clean the painting equipment after each use. It also saves paint.

Paint Bucket

  • Rectangular plastic bucket used for painting.
  • Common sizes range from 1 to 5 gallons.
  • Can be equipped with accessories such as a bucket grid or screen to help clean paint from brushes and rollers when in use.
  • Generally has a handle for easy carrying.
  • Some buckets feature a lid that closes and seals paint, roller or brush inside the tray.

Bucket Grid

  • Placed in bucket to remove excess paint from applicators before applying to surface.
  • Generally used with smaller rollers.
  • Similar to a wire screen or grid in construction.
  • Has a flexible hanger that fastens over bucket rim.

Paint Shield

  • Also known as a trim guard.
  • Used to mask off areas not to be painted.
  • Used primarily in corners where wall meets ceiling or where twowalls meet that are not painted the same color.

Paint Mixer

  • Propeller device used to mix paint.
  • Attaches to drills with either a ½” or 3/8” shaft, depending on model.
  • Also great for mixing sealers and other coatings.

Masking Tape

  • Also called painter’s tape, it is a general-purpose, pressure-sensitive tape used to mask off areas not intended to be painted.
  • Commonly colored blue for painting applications.
  • All-purpose tapes are increasingly being replaced by tapes designed for specific tasks, such as specific tapes designed for baseboards and trim, glass, hard-to-stick surfaces, lacquer surfaces, brick and tile and delicate surfaces.

Masking Machine

  • Offers automatic tape alignment for applying masking tape to film or paper.
  • Useful when masking off large areas.
  • Contains blade for easy tearing of tape end.
  • Many different types and styles available.

Paintbrush Comb

  • Used to clean paint and other coatings out of paintbrushes.
  • Simply run comb through paint brush filaments while running under warm water or while soaking in solvent-based cleaners for oil-based paints.

Tack Cloth

  • A varnish-impregnated, open-mesh cloth that picks up and holds loose dirt, lint, sand and other foreign particles adhering to wood, metal, plaster and other surfaces.
  • Used to clean surfaces immediately before applying each coat and between sanding.

Drop Cloth

  • Can be made of a variety of materials, but is usually made of plastic.
  • Heavy-duty, professional-quality canvas drop cloths range in weight from 4 oz. to 12 oz.
  • Also used to protect furniture, fixtures and floors when painting.
  • Available in a variety of sizes for hallways or larger, open areas.


  • Comes in five general types, including garnet, emery, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide and alumina zirconia. Of these, the first two are natural minerals or abrasives; the others are synthetic materials that are tougher and longer wearing than the natural abrasives.
  • All U.S.-manufactured sandpapers conform to the same numerical system for grading coarseness. The smaller the number, the coarser the grit.
  • Coarseness generally runs from 12 (extra coarse) to 1500 (ultra-fine). Grit finer than 600 is usually measured on the European FEPA scale, and identified with a “P” immediately before the number.
  • The back of each sandpaper sheet contains important labeling information, including product and lot number, abrasive type, grit size, whether it is open or closed coat and backing. The backing weight is rated by letter. “A” is the thinnest weight, while “C” and “D” are the best options for hand sanding of wood. “X” is effective for heavy-duty sanding.
  • Manufactured on a variety of backings, including paper, cloth and fiber.
  • Garnet is a reddish-brown natural abrasive. By special heat treatment, a tougher, sturdier grain is produced. Garnet is used almost exclusively in the woodworking field; it is not suitable for use on metal.
  • Emery is a black natural abrasive that can polish metal surfaces. Emery is typically used in conjunction with an oil lubricant.
  • Aluminum oxide is the most common general abrasive. It is a synthetic brown that is hard and long-wearing. It is used on wood, metal or painted surfaces and is well suited to finishing high-tensile materials such as steels and bronzes, as well as some hardwoods.
  • Silicon carbide is hard and sharp—effective in sanding low-tensile materials such as cast iron, aluminum, copper or plastic. It is also useful between coats of finish.
  • Alumina zirconia is harder than silicon carbide and tougher than aluminum oxide. It should be used for grinding and shaping metal and wood—not for polishing.
  • Sandpaper comes in two styles: open coat (OC) and closed coat. “Coat” refers to how densely the grain is adhered to the surface. “Closed coat” means 100 percent of the surface is covered with grain. Open-coat sandpaper has greater spacing between the grains, which prevents it from clogging up as quickly with sanding residue. Closed-coat sandpaper, however, fills more rapidly with the substance being sanded and must be discarded sooner.
  • Many styles available in sheets as well as sizes for various sanding power tools.

Sanding Sponge

  • A sponge coated with or made of an abrasive agent.
  • Lasts longer than sandpaper and can take the form of the item being sanded.
  • Great for sanding drywall joint compound or spackling.
  • Available in a variety of sizes and shapes for specific sanding applications.
  • Generally is coated on each side as well as edges.
  • Can be used in wet and dry sanding applications.
  • Simply wash clean for reuse.

Sanding Screen

  • Special sanding device used for sanding drywall and plaster.
  • This abrasive screen cloth is durable and more resistant to fill from drywall compound and plaster.
  • Generally comes is 4”x11” sheets in 220 grit.

Wallpaper Primer

  • Helps to ensure an ideal surface before hanging wallpaper to resist peeling.
  • Prevents damage to drywall by binding and sealing surface.
  • Also blocks dark colors and patters from showing through paper.
  • Has superior bonding properties so there is no need for deglossing previously painted surfaces.
  • Generally comes in a water-based acrylic formulation.