What’s in My Work Bag? Professional Painting Essentials.
Updated: Feb 25
You know the feeling when you leave the house, check your pockets and realize something isn’t right? You’re missing something, probably your phone, wallet or keys.
As a professional painter, the same feeling happens when something is missing from my work bag.
Check out the end of this blog for a free checklist with pricing for all of my tools.
The Best Painting Tools and Equipment
I bring my work bag (technically a tote) to every project we work on, including interiors, exteriors and cabinets.
My work bag has nearly everything I need to clean, prepare, and apply paints and stains to almost any substrate.
This blog will show you everything in my work bag– tools that I bring to every job.
I have divided it into four categories; application, preparation, PPE (personal protective equipment), and others.
Personal Protective Equipment for Painting
Before beginning any work, it’s essential to know that we’re adequately protected by using the proper personal protective equipment or PPE.
Almost anything we’re going to paint or stain gets sanded before applying the product. Unfortunately, sanding is one of many ways we create dust that can cause adverse health effects after repeated exposure.
“Over time, breathing the dust from drywall joint compounds may cause persistent throat and airway irritation, coughing, phlegm production, and breathing difficulties similar to asthma.” - NIOSH - Control of Drywall Sanding Dust Exposures
We carry particulate and organic vapour cartridges to protect us from dust from sanding and high VOC paint/stain products.
In addition to respiratory PPE, we carry hearing and eye protection- which are pretty self-explanatory.
These smaller items are stored in reusable silicone bags like earplugs, disposable gloves, and sprayhood.
Tools for Preparation
The first and most crucial step in painting is always prep.
Without proper preparation, the coating (primer, paint, or stain) won’t correctly bond to the surface leading to failure of the coating.
Every surface should be clean, sound, dry and dull (I’ll be writing another blog explaining these conditions in more depth at a later date.).
We keep clean microfibre rags, sanding sponges, and scrapers on us at all times for this reason.
Using Eco-TSP or soapy water, microfibre rags help remove grease, mould, mildew, and other continence from the substrate (surface) to be painted.
The next most important thing is sanding. Dull surfaces allow the paint to adhere correctly.
Scrapers remove loose, flaking material that isn’t sound.
We have plenty of items used to remove hardware that isn’t worth mentioning at length. These include screwdrivers of various lengths, Allen keys and more.
Tools for Application
Unsurprisingly, the most common tool we use to apply paint is a brush.
That’s why I keep 4-5 different brushes in my bag at all times.
Without going into too much detail, I keep two 3-inch angled brushes; a softer 2.5-inch angled brush for trim and a softer 1-inch or inch and a half brush for hard-to-reach areas.
I’ll be writing another blog post in the future to go over some of our favourite paintbrushes in more detail.
Excluding brushes, we usually don’t put anything else used for application in our work bag. However, various interior and exterior painting projects require vastly different tools for applying paint/stain.
Caulking has also been included in this category as it seems most fitting. Typically it's not part of the preparation but instead finishing touches. For example, baseboards with gaps and cracks never look finished even when painted beautifully.
I absolutely cannot live without a can of fast-drying oil primer. Anytime something is bleeding through the paint, causing us grief, the oil primer solves the problem in a flash.
How Much Do Painting Tools Cost?
The total cost of everything in my work bag is nearly $700.00 ($697.74 to be exact.)
Here is a full breakdown of every tool in my work bag with pricing.
Most people interested in painting their own home or business could get away with much less.
I carry multiple brushes, putty knives, sanding sponges, and more for redundancy.
A more simple kit could run for $200.00-$300.00. So the bare minimum would be under $100.00.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog on essential painting tools and equipment.