Used for ceilings and walls when subjected to mild conditions or use.


Used for walls and trim when a very low sheen is desired but washability is desired or needed.


Used in harsher environments such as kitchens and baths, or trim and doors.


Used in harsh environments when a higher gloss is desired. Excellent for trim, doors, and some exterior surfaces.

Hi Gloss

Excellent for extreme abrasion and chemical resistance.


These are designed to prepare a surface for topcoats, especially enamels.

Stains and Varnish

Designed for doors, trim, cabinets, furniture, floors, etc. Varnish or clear coats are used to protect stains and as a natural clear. Varnish is available in gloss, semi, satin and dull.

Exterior Flat

Acrylic Flats are used to protect wood, aluminum, vinyl and composition siding, which is the body of the building.


Doors, trim, and accessories typically are finished with a sheen or gloss. All types of surfaces with a proper primer may be coated with this finish.

Semi-Transparent Stains

These oil-rich finishes permit the wood to show through the finish for a natural look. They have a short life and require recoating in 2-3 years, to maintain its appearance.

Solid Stains

Solid Stains are mostly water-reducible acrylics that produce a rustic appearance and permit the profile of rough-cut surfaces to show through.



The most frequent brush used is the sash or trim brush. They range in size from 1" to 3". They are used in conjunction with rollers. Natural Bristle is used for oil or solvent type paint. Synthetic Bristle is used with water-reducible paint. Nylon, Polyester, and Chinex are some of the synthetics.


This tool consists of three components - the roller frame, cover and tray. The cover has the most direct results in the appearance of the paint. Smooth surfaces achieve the best results with a ¼" or 3/8" nap. A light textured surface requires a ½" or ¾" nap to reach into crevices and not bridge across the top of the texture. Extra-rough surfaces such as concrete block need 1" and 1 ¼" nap cover.

Like brushes, covers are available in both natural and synthetic fibers. Synthetics are used for 99% of the jobs. Specialty rollers are available to finish doors, shelves and furniture.

Flat Pads

These are used to trim around windows, doors and ceiling lines. Another use for exteriors is shingles or rough-cut surfaces.

Putty Knives/Scrapers

These are necessary for the preparation part of your job. Sizes range for 1" to 6" in width. A rule of thumb for putty knives is stiff blade for scraping or glazing window glass, with flexible for spackling or drywall mudding. A draw type scraper is more aggressive than a putty knife to remove peeled paint.

Sandpaper/Steel Wool

Both abrasives are used for preparation. Nylon pads are the preferred abrasives over steel wool. It is cleaner and can be washed out.


Lack of preparation can cause a good paint to perform poorly. Surfaces that are dirty or greasy, chalky, mildewed, rusty, and peeled or cracked need to be prepared before painting.

Since each job is unique, we suggest you contact the nearest O'Leary location and discuss your particular job with one of our experts.

Before you sand and scrape a surface, it may be necessary to wash the surface to remove oils or other contaminants.


To complete your tool requirements, you can refer to the following items:

  • Spackle
  • Caulk
  • Joint Compound
  • Drop Cloths
  • Thinner for Solvent Paint
  • Masking Tape
  • Paint Paddles
  • Can Opener
  • Sponges or Rags
  • Trim Guards
  • Cleaners
  • Empty Containers