Choosing a Paintbrush

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 26, 2015)

Several years ago I decided to paint our living room walls. I found the color of quality latex paint I wanted on sale at my hardware store, but the synthetic paintbrushes that my salesman recommended were more expensive than the natural-bristled paintbrushes on sale. I rationalized that the natural-bristled paintbrushes had to be better than the synthetic, especially since they were on sale. Three hours into painting the living room, I had to stop for the night, washed my brushes in soapy water, and left them on paper towels to dry. Continuing to paint the next morning, I noticed that the brushes were not applying paint as smoothly as they were the day before. After visiting the hardware store again and speaking with a paint expert, I learned that the best brush to use with latex paint is a synthetic brush, since natural bristles absorb water from paint and become softer the more you use them. Choosing a paintbrush should never be based solely on cost. Consider the following when choosing paintbrushes:
  • A good quality brush will have a hardwood handle.
  • Choose brushes that have bristles that vary in length, with flagged ends. Flagged ends allow the brush to hold more paint, spread paint more evenly, and allow for a smoother surface.
  • Buy the best quality brushes that you can afford since they will do a better job than cheap brushes.
  • If you are using oil-based paints, use a paintbrush with natural bristles, such as ox hair or hog's hair.
  • Choose a paintbrush with synthetic bristles if you are using latex paints.

Consider the surface area that you are working with when choosing a paintbrush. If you are painting trim or molding, you need a small brush than the type you need for a wall. Experts agree that you will only need three types of paintbrushes for completing home painting projects. For walls, use a four-inch wall brush. For sash and trim work, use a one-and-a-half-inch sash brush and a two-inch trim brush. Angled brushes are good for trims and moldings, while flat brushes are best for painting up to the edge of corners.

If your painting project involves a large room, or several rooms, remember that you will hold a paintbrush in your hand for a long period of time, and choose a handle with which you are comfortable. While you're perusing paintbrushes at the hardware store, hold the paintbrush in your hand and imagine yourself using it for a long time. A large handle on a four-inch brush will most likely be better than a skinny handle, such as on a trim brush.

Remember to clean your paintbrushes when your project is complete. If you maintain your brushes properly, they will last for years over many home painting projects.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Dealing with Car Sickness

Most times car sickness is mild and ends shortly after the car trip is over. Knowing what triggers your car sickness can help ...

Discover More

Visiting a Spa

A visit to a spa can be like taking a mini-vacation. Having several hours to yourself to relax and rejuvenate at the hands of ...

Discover More

Finding Quality Lingerie

While it's sometimes a great idea to shop at thrift and second-hand stores for clothing, it's best to buy lingerie brand new. ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Repainting Latex on Oil Paint

For the most part it is a good idea to remove any remnants of oil paint before you begin painting latex paint in the same ...

Discover More

Mixing Paint

Have you ever noticed how expensive a painting project can be? There are several different methods you can use to save some ...

Discover More

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Whether you are looking at taking the opportunity to change the whole look of your kitchen, or you are simply painting your ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five minus 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)