Painting 101: All About Brushes

Learn how to choose the right tools for your inside or outside painting job.


There's a wide variety of paintbrushes on the market. Learn the basics for knowing which are best for your next paint job.

There's a wide variety of paintbrushes on the market. Learn the basics for knowing which are best for your next paint job.

The brush you choose depends largely on two things, the paint and the project:

  • If your project requires oil-based paint, natural bristles like ox or hog hair are perfect because they hold paint better than synthetic bristles.
  • If you're using latex paint, then nylon and polyester brushes are much better because they don’t absorb water like natural fibers.

Brush Quality:

  • Expect to pay more for high-quality brushes. They have more filaments, which create a smoother, more uniform surface. Plus, they last a lot longer.
  • Good all-purpose brushes are flagged. The bristles vary in length, graduating to a peak in the middle, which provides a smooth, even, more precise layer of paint.
  • Choose a brush that feels good in your hand. Considering the amount of time you'll be using it, go for absolute comfort.
  • Pick the right brush for the job as most have a specific purpose. Angled brushes are great for getting into corners and flat brushes are nice for flat surfaces.
  • Finally, a little care goes a long way. Wash paintbrushes immediately after each use and don't rinse the soap out completely – it'll store a lot nicer.

Choosing the Right Roller Cover:

  • In general, for smooth surfaces like wallboard and wood, use a roller with a 3/8-inch or less nap.
  • For surfaces with heavy texture, larger naps can reduce the number of coats – and the amount of time spent painting.


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