Prep Materials Buying Guide

Good prep work is essential for a quality paint job. Use this buying guide to help you find the best prep materials and tools for your next painting project.

Types of Prep Materials

Types of Prep Materials

A variety of prep materials can be used to prepare a surface for priming and painting. Some materials are designed to remove old paint or wallpaper, while others are meant to repair and smooth out the painting surface. Still other materials can help you protect surrounding areas from paint spills. Which materials and tools you'll need will depend on the details of your project. These are several of the most common prep materials available.

Wall Scrapers/Joint Knives

These tools can be used to scrape off old peeling paint or wallpaper, or to repair holes in plaster walls. They are generally 3-12 inches long and can have stiff or flexible handles.

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Kraft Tool Co.
$15.19

This joint knife's flexible carbon steel blade is ground and mirror polished for a professional finish. The 2in wide blade allows ...for applying putty or joint compound, smoothing down drywall repairs, or your taping needs. A steel rivet secures the... read more

Kraft Tool Co.
$14.79

This joint knife's flexible carbon steel blade is ground and mirror polished for a professional finish. The 1-1/2in wide blade all...ows for applying putty or joint compound, smoothing down drywall repairs, or your taping needs. A steel rivet secures the... read more

Kraft Tool Co.
$15.59

This taping knife's flexible carbon steel blade is ground and mirror polished for a professional finish. The 4in wide blade allows... for applying putty or joint compound, smoothing down drywall repairs, or your taping needs. A steel rivet secures the... read more

Kraft Tool Co.
$17.49

This taping knife's flexible carbon steel blade is ground and mirror polished for a professional finish. The 6in wide blade allows... for applying putty or joint compound, smoothing down drywall repairs, or your taping needs. A steel rivet secures the... read more

Putty/Putty Knives

Putty can be used to fill holes and cracks in wood. Use a putty knife to apply the putty or to scrape off old paint or putty from furniture.

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Color Putty
$19.39

Easy to use, Stain, if necessary, Seal or varnish, Fill nail holes and imperfections with matching Color Putty, You may intermix C...olor Putty for desired shade, One finish coat of seal or varnish, except Epoxy, For interior use only, Teakwood, 3.68 oz.... read more

Color Putty
$20.29

Easy to use, Stain, if necessary, Seal or varnish, Fill nail holes and imperfections with matching Color Putty, You may intermix C...olor Putty for desired shade, One finish coat of seal or varnish, except Epoxy, For interior use only, Nutmeg, 3.68 oz.... read more

Sandpaper

This handy tool can smooth out a surface to help it blend in with surrounding areas, or it can be used to help paint adhere to a glossy surface.

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Testors
$5.68

CHOCKING HAZARD - CONTAINS SMALL PARTS - NOT FOR CHILDREN UNDER 3

3M
$107.46 $80.26

3M Imperial Wetordry Sandpaper 2000 Grit, 3-2/3 in. x 9 in. (9,29 cm x 22,8 cm), Open Stock. Wet or Dry abrasives are specially de...signed for wet or dry sanding. Use 3M Imperical Wetordry Sandpaper for a premiere finish on lacquers, primers, sealers,... read more

Ryobi
$12.49

Replacement Part for CFS1501, CFS1502, CFS1503 or CFS1503K Sanders. Replacement Part Number CFS1501-33

Black+Decker
$17.90 $9.41

For surface finishing of wood, fiberglass, plastic and painted surfaces. 6 sheets per package.

Rags/Sponges/Cloths

Rags, sponges, or microfiber cloths can help you clean surfaces before applying paint. Use a liquid detergent to remove pen and crayon marks and water stains from walls.

Wire Brush/Power Washer

These tools can help you clean your home's exterior. A power washer can speed up the cleaning process and make it easier to reach the upper level without ladders or scaffolding. Use a wire brush to scrape paint that's flaking.

Painter's Tape

Before painting, apply this tape around windows, trim work, or other areas you don't want to paint.

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BEHR Premium Plus Ultra
$27.97

This BEHR Premium Plus Ultra 1-Gallon Flat Ceiling Paint combines paint and primer in a single container for easy application. It ...blocks stains and resists mildew growth to keep a clean, newly painted look. Cleaning up after painting is simple. Color:... read more

BEHR Premium Plus
$28.97

For a paint that’s tough enough to tackle any room in your home without sacrificing beauty, choose BEHR Premium Plus Zero VOC Semi...-Gloss Enamel Interior Paint. This sleek sheen resists mildew and wear, so it’s great for bathrooms and kitchens. The... read more

BEHR Premium Plus Ultra
$28.98

To bring classic beauty to all of your home’s interior walls, choose BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Interior Matte. This traditional matt...e paint will create a low-reflective appearance that’s perfect for all of your home's rooms. It’s also great for hiding... read more

BEHR Premium Plus
$118.00

For a classic, scrubbable finish in low-traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms, choose BEHR Premium Plus Zero VOC Flat Inter...ior Paint. This traditional flat sheen creates an all-purpose finish that covers and touches up easily. The non-reflective... read more

Drop Cloths/Tarps

Use drop cloths and tarps to protect floors, furniture, or other areas from paint spills or drips. Drop cloths are constructed from various materials; some are best for indoor use, while others can be used outside as well. Tarps usually feature grommets along the edges so they can be tied down if necessary.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Before shopping for the prep materials you'll need for your project, examine your painting surface carefully. The tools you need depend on the type of surface you are painting and what kind of repair is needed. Will you be painting an interior wall or your home's siding? Do you need to simply clean the area, or do you also need to fill holes and cracks in the wall's surface? Do you need a wall scraper that can get into corners, or will a general, all-purpose scraper do the job? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you are selecting your tools.

Painting Surface

The prep tools you choose will depend largely on the type of surface you'll be painting. For example, paint scrapers are available in several different designs. Straight scrapers are good for removing softened paint and wallpaper from most wall surfaces; curved wall scrapers are also available for corners and hard-to-reach areas, such as along baseboards. You may want to opt for a scraper with a telescoping handle if you'll need to reach areas near the ceiling. Consider using a glass or tile scraper to remove paint from windows. Similarly, painter's tape is available for various surfaces, so be sure to choose the best tape for your specific job.

Quality

Drop cloths are essential for protecting surfaces and furniture near your painting area, but the cost and quality can vary depending on whether the drop cloths are designed to be reusable or disposable. Consider whether you're likely to paint again soon—if so, it may be worth paying a little more for a reusable drop cloth. If you'll be buying a reusable canvas cloth, look for one with a butyl backing; this rubberized coating helps ensure paint spills won't bleed through the cloth and provides slip resistance.

Safety

If you think you may have lead paint in your house, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Lead paint, common in the 1950s, was outlawed in 1978 and is an extreme health hazard. For more information about the issue, visit epa.gov/lead.

Home Improvement on sale

Valspar
$45.47 $33.16

Formulated to penetrate and bond to properly prepared concrete to enhance adhesion of floor paints. Dries to the touch in 1 hour, ...recoat in 4 hours. Allow 60 days minimum for new concrete to cure before painting. Clean and etch new or bare concrete... read more

Valspar
$13.74 $12.34

Exterior house paint and primer in one. Semi-gloss. Great coverage, durability and scrubability. Fade resistance. Surfaces: New wo...od, previously painted surfaces, hardboard siding, masonry, concrete, stucco, block, aluminum, vinyl siding. No.... read more

Kilz
$243.46 $203.78

Note: Due to subtle variations in color appearance that are inherent in viewing paint colors online, and because paint cannot be r...eturned once it is mixed, it is recommended that you purchase either a Peel & Stick or 8 oz. sample to test the color out... read more

Kilz
$55.70 $46.62

Note: Due to subtle variations in color appearance that are inherent in viewing paint colors online, and because paint cannot be r...eturned once it is mixed, it is recommended that you purchase either a Peel & Stick or 8 oz. sample to test the color out... read more

Kilz
$253.39 $212.09

Note: Due to subtle variations in color appearance that are inherent in viewing paint colors online, and because paint cannot be r...eturned once it is mixed, it is recommended that you purchase either a Peel & Stick or 8 oz. sample to test the color out... read more

Kilz
$264.02 $220.99

Note: Due to subtle variations in color appearance that are inherent in viewing paint colors online, and because paint cannot be r...eturned once it is mixed, it is recommended that you purchase either a Peel & Stick or 8 oz. sample to test the color out... read more

Kilz
$256.68 $214.84

Note: Due to subtle variations in color appearance that are inherent in viewing paint colors online, and because paint cannot be r...eturned once it is mixed, it is recommended that you purchase either a Peel & Stick or 8 oz. sample to test the color out... read more

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