Having the right
painter's tool kit
saves time, makes the most of your paint, and improves results. Having the
right size, shape, and type of tools for your project makes a big
The Difference Between Paint Brushes and Paint Rollers
In any big painting job, you will likely need both
and paint brushes.
are designed to cover large flat areas like walls, ceilings, or outdoor
decks. They can quickly cover a big surface with fresh paint or primer.
Paint brushes are used
to cut into corners and neatly cover edges and trim. Paint brushes are
also the tool you need if your space is narrow, small, or too tight for a
Types of Paint Brushes
are available in a variety of sizes, with bristles made of either
like nylon or polyester. It's best to choose your brush type based of the
type of paint you are using.
Natural hair paint brushes
create a smooth finish and are recommended when using
oil based paints, applying
varnish. Natural hair paint brushes are absorbent, and not a good choice for
water-based paint; the natural hair will soak up the paint which can
make it hard to work with and ruin the shape of the brush.
Choosing Straight or Angled Paint Brushes
with straight edges are designed to cover a large flat surface.
are for cutting into corners and edges, around window sills, molding,
Understanding Paint Brush Stiffness
bristles are available in a variety of materials and the different bristle
types vary in feel, stiffness, and flexibility. You want to choose the
right firmness and flexibility for your project:
Soft: Extra flexibility offers better control, perfect for fine-finish
painting and interiors for smoother application. Works best with
clear coats, stains, and lightweight
paints or primers.
Firm: Bristles are somewhat stiff with good flexibility, designed for
all-purpose painting projects, offering even coverage. Works best with
medium-weight paints such as
Extra-Firm: Extra stiffness works well in heat and humidity and is perfect for
rough, outdoor surfaces like brick or concrete. Choose extra-firm
bristles when using thicker paints and primers,
low VOCs, or other fast-drying coatings.
Using Paint Rollers
Having the right
will make your job easier and faster. A good paint roller will leave a
smooth, even finish and cleanup should be simple.
brushes, paint roller covers can be made from natural or synthetic fibers.
Synthetic covers can be made with a single type of fiber or a blend.
They work best with most latex paints. The quality of synthetic roller
covers varies from professional grade to economy, and are commonly made
of polyester, microfiber, or foam.
Natural fiber covers, such as lambskin wool, or mohair are more absorbent and work best
with oil-based paints. They leave a smoother finish, which professionals
appreciate; however they are typically more expensive than synthetic
Understanding the Nap/Fiber Length for Paint Rollers
The thickness and length of the paint roller's fibers, or nap, affects the
performance and final texture of your painted surface. Generally, you want
to use a shorter nap for smooth surfaces and longer nap for rough ones.
Paint roller naps are available in 1⁄4,
3⁄4, and 1 inch lengths. For interior jobs
like walls and ceilings, choose a medium length nap of
3⁄8 to 1⁄2 inch.
These should leave smooth coat with minimal roller marks. A roller with
longer fibers, such as 1 inch, will leave spatter marks as it rolls; this
works best for surfaces that resist paint like concrete or brick.
Proper Care and Storage of Brushes & Rollers
It is important to clean
as soon as possible after use. Most professional painters work with
fast-drying paints which can make cleanup challenging. The
paint can quickly bind to bristles,
making it difficult to remove. You may want to keep an extra set of
paint brushes on hand
to change out every few hours. Clean the used
immediately so paint does not harden, and switch to new ones to continue
paint rollers, it can sometimes be easier and more cost-effective to simply throw them
out after one use. If you want to reuse your rollers, clean them
thoroughly; remove roller covers from the frame immediately, before paint
has a chance to dry.
Do not soak paint brushes and rollers in solvent or waterfor an extended
period; this can damage the tools.
Be sure to scrape all excess paint from your brushes and rollers before
from your paint tools, follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the
proper cleaning solvent—such as
mineral spirits, paint thinner or other solvent.
Pour solvent into a small container or
pail, (not a sink) and dip your brushes repeatedly until clean. Properly
dispose of solvents according to directions.
To clean up
latex paints, use warm water and mild soap. Prepare soapy water in a clean container
and dip the paint brushes or rollers, then rinse with clear water. Use a
to pull paint from the bristles while rinsing. Add a generous amount of
scrubbing hand soap, like
Gojo's Orange Hand Cleaner
with pumice to completely clean the brush. Rinse until the water runs
To dry, hang brushes with bristles pointing down so water drips away from
the brush and ferrule. Once dry, store brushes so bristles stay in their
correct shape. Flex the bristles to soften them, and keep them from
curling. Proper cleaning and care will help your
last through many paint jobs.