4 tools or materials you may be storing incorrectly

by Brian Sodoma

You’re a pro. You’ve been doing this for a while, and you may even be sought after when it comes to best practices on the job. But when it comes to storing tools, materials or supplies, you may have some old habits that need to die. Here are four tools or materials that even pros sometimes store improperly.


In the minds of many pros, as long as a power sander isn’t dropped from the roof, it should be fine, right? Not so fast. There are some things to consider when storing a sander that can help keep it functioning optimally for a long time, according to Rick Bush, Festool’s director of product marketing.

“Always store the sander with some abrasive on the pad,” he says. “It prevents debris from sticking to the pad. This will help maintain a flat and true sanding surface on the sander by avoiding dust accumulation that prevents the paper from making full contact with the pad.”

Bush adds, if debris is left on the pad and then fresh abrasive is applied to it, the debris may protrude, which can cause scratches, deep grooves, ‘pigtails’ or swirl marks.

Sanders should also be stored in a case to avoid accidental overspray covering them or from being damaged if bumped off a table or truck tailgate. “Also, by storing it in the case, you always know where the sander is when it’s not in use, making it easier to find when you need it,” Bush says.


 It may sound like old advice, but if you’re wondering why your paint is drying prematurely or getting chunky after you’ve opened and closed the can a couple times, it may be your screwdriver’s fault.

Any pro is a master of making do with what’s on hand, but when it comes to opening and closing paint cans, take the time to locate a paint key—never a screwdriver—because they can bend the lid or rim, says Brian Osterried, PPG Paint’s product marketing manager. And when closing the can, use a rubber mallet instead of a hammer “to avoid distorting the can,” he added.

Once properly closed, make sure cans are stored in temperature-controlled environments, he cautioned, and on shelves instead of the floor to avoid rust, a contaminant that isn’t friendly to colors in cans that are repeatedly opened and closed.


Even pros make the common mistake of storing brushes wet and not in their keepers, says Marcelo Orchon, senior manager for Purdy. Even worse is letting the brush soak in water or solvent overnight.

“[This] will damage the handle, as the wood will absorb the water or chemical,” Orchon noted.

Immediately after each use, clean your brushes with a cleaner made specifically for brushes, using a brush comb instead of a wire brush. Then use a spinner and allow for dry time before storing, the expert said.

A similar tip holds true for rollers. If cleaned well between jobs, they can be used multiple times. Use a cleaner designed specifically for rollers (some cleaners are formulated for both brushes and rollers). Then use the spinner to dry them and “store rollers in a clean, dry place,” Orchon added.


Heat, moisture, light and oxygen can impact a tape’s ability to adhere, explains Kacie Baon, category manager for ShurTech Brands LLC, maker of FrogTape brand painter’s tape.

She recommends storing tape out of direct sunlight, heat and moisture. For premium tapes, like FrogTape, the product comes in a resealable plastic container. Use it, she adds, as it protects “the integrity of the edge both physically and chemically.”

The container also keeps moisture out, which “would permanently activate [FrogTape’s] PaintBlock technology that prevents paint bleed,” Baon noted.

 For other articles on painting tools, equipment and business strategy for painting professionals, visit


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