There are two general types of paint brushes – natural hair bristles and synthetic bristles such as nylon or polyester.
When applying any type of latex base coatings, use synthetic bristles. Synthetic brushes will hold their shape and proper stiffness. Top Quality polyester brushes may be more expensive but are well worth the cost. Properly cleaned and stored, they can be successfully re-used over and over again.
To clean your synthetic brushes after using latex paint, wash with soap and warm water, rinse well and allow to dry thoroughly before storing.
For alkyd or oil-based paints you can use either natural bristles or synthetic bristle brushes. Good quality natural bristle brushes will give you the best results when painting with enamels or any oil or alkyd topcoat.
After use with oil-based paints, you will have to use paint thinners or Turpentine to clean your brush. There are also commercial paintbrush cleaners available.
When selecting any paintbrush, try this simple test before purchasing it. Pull-on the bristles, if more than 2 or 3 bristles can be pulled out of the brush, it is probably not made from good construction. Remember a good brush will make your job easier.
No matter what type of painting you are doing you will want to match the size and shape of the brush to the job.
For large exterior surfaces, use a 4″ wide flat brush with a 3/4″ to 1″ thickness.
For Interior walls and ceilings, use a brush between 3″ and 4″ wide.
To cut in at corners on either interior or exterior walls, use a 2″ wide brush with tapered edges.
Exterior and interior woodwork and moldings are most easily painted using brushes between 1″ and 2.5″ wide.
1″ and 2.5″ wide-angle sash brushes will make painting interior and exterior window frames much easier.
For Painting large surfaces quickly and easily, you can’t beat a roller – but don’t buy just any roller. It is important to match the roller to the job at hand.
Rollers are generally purchased as part of a set – the other part being a sloping metal or plastic tray to hold the paint. The roller cover, which is replaceable, may be of any variety of materials, suited for different purposes.
Lambs wool covers are fine for use with oil based paints, but they should not be used with latex water based paints. Water causes the wool to mat, and tufts can pull off the roller, making it less than useless. Mohair covers can be used with any type of paint, and give a smooth finish to walls and ceilings. Synthetic fibres – nylon, rayon, polyester, dacron, orlon – are also used for roller covers, and will work with all types of paint. Where a stipple finish is desired, slit foam rollers will do the job.
Roller cover nap length range from 1/16 inch to 1 1/2 inches, and this too must be considered when matching the roller to the job. Generally speaking, the smoother the surface to be covered, the shorter the nap required. Short nap covers are best for applying paint to plaster, wallboard and smooth ceilings. For rougher surfaces such a textured paneling, a medium nap is preferred. Long nap covers are used for cinder block, stucco, brick and similar surfaces. Foam slit rollers are what I recommend for textured ceilings.
The type of paint used is also a factor in nap selection. Short nap covers should always be used with semi-gloss or gloss paints – they will produce the smooth, shiny finish desired with these paints. Longer naps can be used with flat, eggshell, satin finishes since these will not show the fine lint specks that may be left on the surface by the roller.
For the large area of wall and ceiling, choose a roller either 7 or 9 inches wide. Many rollers have handles that can be fitted with extensions, making it possible to paint ceilings without a ladder. This is also a back saver when painting or refinishing a floor.
Smaller size rollers are also available. A 3 inch model is about right for cutting in at the ceiling and window frames, and for doing woodwork and trim. Corner rollers are designed to paint both sides of an inside and outside corner at the same time, you can paint round spindles as well.
As with anything else, you get what you pay for and the results are likely to show it. The best roller and quality covers are not that much more expensive than the bottom-of-the-line version, and will probably spare you a lot of aggravation.
It’s Just That Easy!