Painting Tools

Painter in Lake Stevens


It is rare to come across a paint job that cannot be done quickly and efficiently with brushes and rollers, the meat and potatoes of painting tools. Brushes work well because they have narrow sides for narrow edges, broad sides for broad surfaces, and bristles that are flexible enough to fit into tight spots. A good-quality 3 inch tapered brush can handle almost any painting project. However, total house repaints involve many complexities and you should consider hiring the professional services of Sound Quality Painting.

When used on large flat areas, roller naps mimic brush bristles. Brush and roller technique comes naturally. People know almost instinctively which way to turn a brush or when a brush needs to be reloaded. It is easy to feel when a roller is skipping or pulling. If you buy the right brush and rollers and use them properly, they are all you need to apply the paint.

Choosing Brushes

The following brushes are useful for specific jobs.

Flat Brush.  A 3 or 4 inch wide brush with a tapered edge is the most common and most useful type of brush. It can cover large areas and produce sharp cut lines.

Sash Brush.  This brush has angled bristles that are ideal for making crisp lines on trim, molding, and window muntins. (lattices)

Stain Brush.  The bristle area on this brush is shorter and wider than a paint brush. This stubby design is meant to counteract the tendency stain has to drip into the brush ferrule (the metal band that holds the bristles in place).

Foam Brush.  This tool consists of a foam pad on a stick. Its primary usefulness is that it is cheap and disposable. Some good foam brush jobs are applying stain or painting window trim (the tapered edge is the perfect size). Do not use foam brushes for applying paint remover because the foam will melt.

Rough-Surface Painter.  This is a combination brush and paint-pad, and it’s useful for painting rough surfaces such as exterior wood shingles. It looks like a scrub brush.

Selecting Bristles.

There are two types of bristles from which to choose.

Nylon Bristles.  These are best used for latex paint but they can also be used for oil-based paint.

Natural Bristle (also called China bristle).  These brushes are preferred for use with oil-based paints and varnishes. They cost 40 to 50 percent more than synthetic bristle brushes. Do not use natural bristle brushes for latex paint. The water in the paint ruins the brush.

Testing a Brush.

Before buying a brush, test it. Tug gently on the bristles. If more than a few pull out, do not buy the brush. Next, bounce and wiggle the bristles in your palm. A good brush has bristles that feel soft and springy, and that bounce back into shape quickly when you let go.

Make sure the bristles are thick and plentiful. Fold back the bristles with your hand, and look at where they connect to the handle. If you see a lot of handle between a few plugs of bristles you have an inferior brush. A good brush that is 1 or 2 inches wide has bristles that are about 3 inches long. A good brush that is 3 or 4 inches wide has bristles about 4 inches long.

Check the metal ferrule that holds the bristles to the handle. It must be substantial (not thin and flimsy) and firmly attached to the handle. Make sure it does not rock when the bristles are wiggled back and forth.

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