What’s the Big Difference Between Brushes? Aren’t They Basically All the Same?
Get to Know Your Bristles!
As with any DIY project, you can throw caution to the wind and end up with a did-it-yourself disaster. Or you can do a little homework and buy the best tools for the job.
Even if you hire a commercial paint contractor to complete your next house painting project, you may simply wonder what the heck is up with all of those different paint brushes. They may look the same to you but their uses are quite specific.
The size of the brush plays a big roll in the job it performs. A 1” to 2” angled brush is best used for painting narrow spaces, trim, window sashes, and other small surfaces. Brushes anywhere from 2-1/2” to 4” are likely to see the most action. These are used for cutting in of walls and ceilings and applying paint to exterior trim. Larger still are 4” to 6” brushes and are used when applying deck stain or for going behind an airless paint sprayer to catch drips and to create a smoother finish.
Pairing the correct bristle with the right type of paint really is important and will affect your end result. Latex or acrylic paints should be applied with synthetic brushes such as polyester, nylon or a blend. Today’s paints are thicker and require a stiffer brush, plus they hold more paint, and provide easy clean-up. The stiffer the brush the better it will also perform on a rougher surface such as exterior trim.
Natural animal hair brushes are designed for oil-based paints. White or Black China bristle brushes are highly recommended for providing the best quality finish. They are quite expensive however as with all things, you get what you pay for. Cheap brushes, both synthetic and natural bristle, will loose bristles, show brush strokes, and simply fall apart faster.
The key to any good brush is to clean it thoroughly after each use. Synthetic brushes should be cleaned in soap and water until it runs clear. Remove excess water and store for drying. To clean oil-based paints, pour mineral spirits into a container and dip the brush repeatedly. Repeat this process several times until it runs clean. Remove excess solvent. Comb bristles to remove dried paint and to reshape the brush. Once all of your brushes are dry, return them to their protective jackets to help retain their shape and preserve the life of the brush.
As you can see, a brush is not just a brush. Consider carefully what you are painting and purchase the proper brush for the job. If you carefor your tools properly, and believe me, professional house painters consider brushes their tools, they can last for many years and many beautifully painted rooms to come.