Paint and Brushes - Things to Know

The room is ready - walls are patched and sealed, the furniture is moved and covered and you're dressed for action. Part of ensuring your painting project will turn out perfectly is checking to see if the tools you are planning to use are properly suited for the job. For instance, paint brushes and rollers should be suited to the surface you are covering and the type of paint you are using.

Also check out our other articles on painting supplies like paint brushes and paint rollers.

Au Naturel or Synthetic - Which is Best?

Paint brushes with natural bristles are meant to be used for oil-based paints. Natural bristles soak up water and tend to go limp when you use them in water-based paints or latex. Synthetic bristle brushes are designed to be used in either water-based or latex paints, but can be used for anything, including oil. Brushes that are densely packed with a chisel edge are great for straight edge, cutting-in or tipping. Split ends or ‘flags' as they are called, hold more paint and tend to spread paint more evenly and smoothly.

Foam - Quick, Easy and Efficient

A very inexpensive way to go is with foam brushes. They come in a great variety of widths and they're super for small jobs or touch-ups. Likewise, foam rollers don't splatter paint and work very well on smooth surfaces. They don't hold up on rough surfaces, so you will want to use textured rollers for that type of wall. Smooth pad painters, a relatively new idea, make paint application clean and easy - and clean-up is easy as well. Be careful not to get too much paint on the pad though, as it will drip and then you'll have to take the pad apart, clean and dry it then reassemble it before you can carry on.

Roll-On the Paint

Paint rollers come with plastic cores and paper cores. You will find that a plastic core will stand up longer and wear much better than cardboard. Select the nap (density of covering on the roller) which will be best for your wall surface. A flat, smooth roller for flat, smooth walls and a thicker, plush roller for heavily textured walls are logical choices. Again, the foam roller creates a very sleek finish on smooth walls.

Shall We Do Water Colors or Oil Paint?

Water-based or latex paints are now made to be environmentally-friendly. They dry very quickly - often within an hour - and clean up quickly and easily with water. This paint can be applied with synthetic bristle brushes, rollers or pads. Note that latex paints often develop a ‘skin' over them when they are left opened, so it's always a good idea to pour off what you need into a smaller container and properly seal the paint can to avoid this.

Many professional painters prefer to work with oil-based paints which are particularly good for cabinets, furniture and trim. Today you can purchase oil-based paints that are non-toxic and also environmentally-friendly. Oil-based paint does not dry as quickly as water-based or latex, so it's a better choice if you're working in a hot climate. Use rollers, pads or natural bristle brushes to apply oil-based paints and clean up with paint thinner or another type of solvent.