Want to paint your house? Make sure you have the right brush
13 July 2017
Any painter knows good groundwork and the right equipment are the secret to successful paint jobs. After filling, sanding and cleaning, pause before flipping open a fresh can of paint and loading up a brush or roller. What you use to apply that gorgeous new colour makes the difference between a first-rate finish and one that screams bad DIY.
Take these tips for brushing up on your painting know-how.
Start squeaky clean
Using brushes with stiff, shaggy-dog bristles clogged with remnants of a previous colour, rather than buying a new tool for the job, is a false economy. Clean them up before you start, or invest in new brushes.
Resurrect synthetic brushes caked with water-based paint by soaking in very hot water with a little detergent. Rinse well, reshape by hand, wrap bristles in kitchen paper and hang to dry. Follow clean-up directions for brushes previously used with oil-based paints. Brush combs for removing paint residue and realigning bristles are sold at paint stores.
Photo by Paint & Brush – Search nightstands
Size up the job
Are you tackling a bedroom wall, a narrow trim, an entire room, or just touching up a shabby cabinet? Let the area to be painted guide you to the best brush width.
- Narrow frames and mouldings: 25-38 millimetres
- Doors, railings, cabinets, gutters, eaves: 50-63 millimetres
- Floorboards, skirtings, fascias: 75 millimetres
- Large, flat areas such as walls: 100+ millimetres, usually called “wall” brushes.
Tip: If you’re new to painting or have small hands, an 88-100 millimetre brush on a large wall may tire your wrist and arm. Go for a brush around 75 millimetres.
Pick a bristle
DIYers often ask whether natural or synthetic bristles work best:
Natural bristle brushes, mostly hog, ox or badger, are typically more expensive than synthetic ones and are used for oil-based paints, varnishes and shellacs. Don’t use for water-based (latex) paints, as they absorb water from the paint, softening and changing shape. This also affects the composition of the paint and may cause “tramlines”.