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Selecting and Caring for Your Paint Brushes

Have you ever wondered how professional painters get such great results? Certainly a big reason for that flawless finish you see are years of training and experience at work, but there is more at play than hard-earned skills. Professional painters understand that their work is only as good as the tools they use and properly care for their paint brushes. You might not be able to instantly acquire the skills of a craftsman with years of experience, but knowing how to pick the right tool for the job and how to care for it will get you one step closer to the painting results you want.

Using the Right Paint Brush for the Job

Do you have a single, trusty old paintbrush you pull out whenever you open up a can of paint? One of the first things every professional painter learns is how to pick the right brush for the the type of surface they’re painting. Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of paintbrushes and when you should use them:

  • Angle Sash – The bristles of this brush are angled to help you create a smooth, clean edge. This type of brush is best suited to cutting in along ceilings or painting trim
  • Thin Angle Sash – Exactly the same as the regular angle sash but smaller to help you fit in narrow areas that are too tight for a larger angled brush.
  • Flat Sash – The perfect brush for painting flat surfaces.
  • Trim Brush – A flat brush that is perfect for painting larger areas, especially exteriors.
  • Wall Brush – Similar to the trim brush only larger and capable of holding a larger amount of paint for efficient, even coverage of large, flat surfaces.

Now that you know understand how to select the appropriate size and shape brush for the job, you’ll also want to be certain that its bristle material is right for the type of paint you’re working with. As a general rule of thumb, natural-bristle brushes are needed anytime you work with oil-based paint, varnish, shellac, or polyurethane. Polyester or nylon/polyester blend brushes are both good choices when painting with latex paints.

Caring For Your Paint Brushes

Equally as important as choosing the right brush for the job is caring for it after the work is finished. Water-based paint should be washed off thoroughly. Clean the bristles under water until it runs completely clear. A brush comb is a very helpful tool to ensure that no paint remains in the base of the bristles.

Oil-based paints need to be rinsed in paint thinner. A glass jar with a lid and a mouth wide enough to dip and swirl your paint brush is a safe way to store paint thinner. Just remember that paint thinner should never be dumped down the drain! Allow the paint solids to settle to the bottom of the jar, then pour off the rest of the paint thinner into a clean container. Once the solids dry dispose of them according to your county or local trash company’s waste guidelines.

Armed with the right tool for your next painting project we’re confident you’ll be happy with the results. If you’re looking for more ways to brush up on your painting skills, check out this helpful guide to painting without brush strokes.

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