Fixing to get ready

Stacey Freed

InPaint_MarApr2017_FINAL 21_correx_Page_20_Image_0001The old adage, ‘Proper planning prevents poor performance’ should be every painter’s mantra when it comes to getting ready for a job. In the past few years, manufacturers have developed a number of new products to help pro painters accomplish necessary prep more accurately and efficiently. Better outcomes lead to satisfied customers and an improved bottom line.


Hand-Masker Film Blade, 3M

The hand-masker tool combines tape and film (or paper) for one easy masking step. The rigid plastic guide bar keeps the blade steady, so no more cutting film and ending up with snowflake edges. That means no more wasting extra tape and film to cover empty spots.

Available at Sherwin-Williams and other pro paint stores

Hand-Masker Plastic, 3M

While brown paper is still heavily used, it allows some solvents to bleed through, absorbs moisture when it dries and then shrinks, is hard to mold around fixtures, can tear easily, and doesn’t let light through well. Mask off a couple of windows and you’ve sealed your customers in a cave. 3M designed masking plastic to address these issues.

Since it’s plastic, it’s waterproof. No paint bleeds through, and it’s treated so dripped paint won’t flake off and cause a mess. With a little stretch to it, it’s easy to wrap around things like light fixtures, and your customers won’t be in the dark. With twice as much on a roll as brown paper, it will help speed up changeovers.

Worried about waste? The plastic itself is recyclable unless it’s covered in latex or lacquer paints, but it does compact into smaller waste, which could mean fewer waste buckets needed.

Available at pro paint stores

Masking Liquid H2O, Associated Paint, Inc.

Doors with lots of small windowpanes can be a pain. Instead of having to tape off and mask windows, just spray, brush or roll on Masking Liquid H2O over the entire door, only protecting the areas you want to remain clean. Once you’re done painting, outline and cut the hardened masking material and peel it away.

The product goes on white and dries clear, is low VOC, and can be used for interior or exterior jobs. It can also be used to seal bare wood and other porous surfaces.

Available online at


ShurSTICK Paint Masking Tape, Shurtape

Paint is always getting reformulated and with more companies going green, there are lots of low-and zero-VOC paints on the market. But painters are finding that the new formulations aren’t always chemically compatible with standard tapes.

Enter Paint Masking Tape, designed to work with any paint on the market, including low- or zero-VOC paints, and any other hard-to-stick-to surface. It can remain up for three days and still removes cleanly.

Available at Sherwin-Williams stores via special order.

Scotch Masking Tape for Humid Conditions, 3M

In 2015, 3M answered the call for tape that would stick to low-VOC, zero-VOC, and scrubbable paints. But the tape didn’t solve the problems with adhesion brought on by high levels of humidity. Enter Scotch Masking Tape for Humid Conditions with Humi Bond Adhesive, a tape that sticks to all kinds of paints and works well in humid environments. It removes cleanly after 5 days on interior surfaces and 3 days on exterior surfaces. Plus, it’s low- and zero- VOC-paint compatible.

Available at pro paint stores and other locations that sell 3M tape products.

Double-Sided Poly-Hanging Tape, Shurtape

Who wants to tape off an area then tape it yet again to hang poly sheeting? Shurtape’s new double- sided poly-hanging tape is a one-step process. This dual-adhesive tape has a premium painter’s tape adhesive that adheres to the wall; the other side has adhesive that sticks to your poly-sheeting or drop cloth. Plus, you can pull it all down at once without peeling off the paint.

Available at Sherwin-Williams stores via special order.


Econo Runner, Protective Products, Int’l, Inc.

While effective, drop cloths can be a bit of hassle and sometimes a tripping hazard for both your crew and your customer.

Econo Runner from Protective Products eliminates the tripping hazard while providing the necessary protection for hard-surface floors.

Made of a woven fabric with a little cushioning to it, Econo Runner has a poly film top surface and a proprietary coating on its underside that keeps it in place on any hard surface—marble, tile or wood. And you can sweep and mop it, so it’s reusable.

Available at

Paint Guards, Protective Products, Int’l, Inc.

While it’s easy enough to remove switch plates and outlet covers, once they’re off, you still have to paint around them. Paint Guards are friction-fit, bendable, hard-plastic covers that can be placed over almost all commercial and residential electric outlets or toggle switches—and they’re reusable.

Available at


Orbital Finish Sanders: DTS 400 & RTS 400, Festool

The road to a smooth finish just got, well, smoother. Festool has two new lightweight sanders (each only 2.4 pounds) that have a comfortable, soft grip and can be used in either the right or left hand. They’re ideal for overhead work, and the upgraded version comes with a reusable, long-lasting nonwoven polyester dust- and chip-collection bag.

NOTE: The collection bag is not recommended for RRP work, which requires a dust extractor. Both sanders are available online at

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