The Curbly House: Painting Like a Pro

The Curbly House: Painting Like a Pro
It's just like the children's book says: "Everybody Paints".
Wait...is that what it says? Whatever ... it's true.

Painting is the one DIY project almost everybody has tried. And most people would feel comfortable trying it again. But it's not until you start a truly big painting project that you appreciate the value of having the right tools and high quality supplies, and that's just what I learned when we started painting The Curbly House. Don't believe me? Read on to see why starting off with the right tools from the getgo saved us countless headaches throughout our project.

So...like you, I've painted before. Plenty. And when I did, the process started like this: go to the big box store, buy the cheapest paint, the cheapest brushes, and the cheapest rollers. 

But after years of painting with brushes that shed bristles like an overweight husky in July, I decided there had to be a better way. So, I teamed up with Purdy, makers of professional painting tools for almost a hundred years, to try out some of their products and see if using top notch brushes and tools made any difference.

Purdy Professional Painting Tools

In tomorrow's video journal I'll be sharing the details of our heroic painting marathon, and letting you see some of the finished results. For today, please believe me that that spent days and weeks painting the entire interior of the Curbly House. Which is a lot.



Purdy's running a sweepstakes where you can win daily prizes (like brushes!) or a grand prize dinner in Los Angeles with HGTV star Lisa LaPorta. It's called You Can Save The Walls and all you have to do to enter is ask a painting question.

 Ok, now back to our story ...


So, I sought out some advice from the experts at Purdy, and they sent me a few tools to help out. First off, I tried their 6-in-1 Painter's Tool.  You can buy the ultra-cheapo versions of these at the hardware store for a couple bucks, but pay just a little more ($10 on Amazon) and you get something that feels hefty and well made, holds a sharp edge, and will last for a painting projects to come.

I used mine to scrape old paint off the upstairs bedroom doors and trim. It obliterated entire layers ... which in a 100-year-old house, is a lot of paint.

Scraping paint

Scraped door

Next up: The 18" Colossus Roller Covers with adjustable frame. The first thing I used this for was back-rolling ceilings while we were spraying on primer (back-rolling is used to push the paint into the surface when spraying on a coat, and to give it some texture). Later on I used it for rolling on a finish coat as well.

Backrolling using the Colossus roller

This roller cover was miles ahead of anything I had ever used before. It holds) (forgive the expression): a crap-load of paint. I balked a bit at getting the big 18-inch roller (usually the little 9-inchers suffice), but boy, was I glad I did. When you're trying to quickly backroll an entire level of a house, the larger roller size really pays off...it just flies across surfaces. I know it doesn't make sense, but it felt more than twice as fast as using a 9-inch roller.

Ayla rolling!

(For kids, though, the 9-inch rollers are a little easier to handle).

The Colossus Covers were on the end of my new favorite-painting-tool-ever-of-all-time-the-end: the Purdy QuickFit extension pole. I've used painting extension poles before, and they've all inevitably snapped under pressure. Or the telescoping mechanism has gotten stuck.

But, not this guy. It's super lightweight but still super strong. I worked this thing really hard, using it it for ceilings, walls, primer and finish coats. The quick-release lever lets change the pole's length and lock it tight, so I could switch all the time, which was really handy.

Finally, I had a chance use Purdy's 2.5" XL Elite brush. It's built for high-solid, low-VOC paints like the Sherwin-Williams Emerald we were using (actually Emerald is ZERO VOC, but who's counting?).

created at: 08/29/2012

Now, coming from my history of using those three-dollar-plastic-handle brushes, anything would've been an improvement. But the XL Elite made cutting in (and cutting in, and cutting in some more ... not done yet, still some cutting in left to do) a snap. It doesn't drip, leaves a clean, solid paint stripe and felt stiff enough to give me great control on corners and curves. 

SIDENOTE: if you really want to geek out on how to tell a good brush from the rest, check out this PDF

With any DIY discipline, the more you do it, the more you understand the importance of using good quality tools and taking care of them. Any house-painter will tell you painting is no exception. Paint brushes and supplies are not disposable, and you shouldn't need to get more each time you begin a project. Investing in quality tools to begin with means that you really can get away with painting a room for the price of a $30 can of paint or two.  I've babied my Purdy brushes, and hope they'll last for years (a good brush should be able to go 20 years with proper care!).



Thanks to Purdy and Sherwin-Williams for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine alone.

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Brandy on Jun 12, 2014:

What is the best way to clean and take care of the brushes and rollers/supplies? I have Purdy supplies and want to keep them in good condition. I get so frustrated when I can't get all the paint out.

alicia on Aug 31, 2012:

Thanks for the tips, guys. Obviuosly, there are lots of great brush (and other painting tool) makers out there. In the end it comes down to using what feels good for you. Feel free to share your favorites (Purdy and otherwise) in the comments!

Also, I know Bruno sort of promised my weekly video journal would post today, but he just hasn't  been able to get it done in time, so it's going to post it Monday (up all night with a baby, etc.). Thanks for understanding!

MJ on Aug 31, 2012:

I love the Purdy Products, they really are the best.  Though with doing a significant number of painting and renovating projects ourselves, I found a fantastic cut-in brush from Wooster, because our local place didn't carry these in the Purdy brand:


But now that I know Purdy has them, I'm sold.  These brushes are fantastic for getting into the tight spaces, shelves, cabinetry and so on.  The short handle jobs really are a nice feel in the hand.  Happy painting!

DIY Maven on Aug 31, 2012:

I've been using Purdy products for the last 7 years or so. The brushes are the best and their White Dove rollers are unparalleled. No lint...ever. The only kind I use. 

Marshall on Aug 30, 2012:

Proform brushes from Home Depot, Ace out here in the West Coast are as good as Purdy for a fraction of the cost.

how2home on Aug 30, 2012:

Great tips! You have a great little helper there :) 

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