After purchasing my first home, I decided it was time to put my painting skills or lack there of to the test. I contacted my best friend who managed a branch of a paint supply store to tell him the colors and have him mix the paint for me. He was a solid friend and gave me a recommendation for the type of paint to use and even offered to help with the painting as long as I provided the required beverages. However, he neglected to tell me the importance of choosing the correct paint brush.
I purchased my paint and picked out the cheapest brush I could find in the store. As I began painting, I quickly realized the consequences of my poor selection. The brush I selected was a large wall brush and as a result, the task of cutting in at the ceiling was nearly impossible.
I didn’t realize that paint brushes come in many different sizes, styles, and qualities that must be considered. Personal preferences, especially in seasoned professionals, play a roll in brush selection, but for the rest of us, here are some general guidelines for choosing the perfect paint brush.
Paint Brush Sizes
- 1″-2″: Use for small trim, touch ups, detail work, etc.
- 2 1/2″-3″: Use for doors, large trim, corners, cabinets, floors, etc.
- 4″-5″: Use for large areas like walls, ceilings, exterior painting, etc.
Paint Brush Styles
- Thin angle brushes have slanted bristles and a thin profile make it the perfect choice to achieve straight lines for corners and edges.
- Angle brushes also have slanted bristles, but are able to hold more paint because they are thicker. As a result, they are a great selection for cutting in ceilings and trim. Angle brushes make cut-ins easier for novice painters.
- Square trim brushes are flat and primarily used for larger areas including exterior siding. Many painters prefer this straight edge over an angle brush for painting trim and corners.
- Wall brushes are thick, flat brushes and used primarily for larger surface areas.
Paint Brush Bristle Types
- Nylon/Polyester brushes are designed to hold their shape when using latex paints. Due to this blend, these brushes are durable and easy to clean.
- 100% Nylon brushes retain their shape and stiffness longer due to the strength of the nylon. This bristle is ideal for latex paints and is a superior cut-in tool.
- Black China brushes are made with hair that is strong, thick, and course making them the ideal choice to use with oil based paints and epoxies
- White China brushes are made with hair that is soft and thin making it the ideal choice for stains, varnishes, polyurethanes, and clear coats.
Special Note: Natural animal hair brushes should never be used with water based paint. The water will cause bristles to expand and become unusasble.
Choosing the perfect paint brush makes a project easier and faster while ensuring a quality finish. With a little research and preparation, your paint project can be a success. For more detailed information, visit the Sherwin Williams Brush & Roller Guide
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