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Brushes, Rollers and Tools

What is the advantage of a natural-bristle brush?

Bristle has naturally split ends called flags, which help hold the paint in the brush so that it is released throughout the stroke instead of all at once.

Should I use a natural bristle brush with a latex paint?

No. Just remember that humid weather can make someone's hair turn frizzy. Water-based paints do the same thing to natural-bristle brushes, so you will want to use a synthetic brush with latex paint.

What type of brush works best with oil-based paint?

Natural bristles are best for most oil-based finishes including varnishes and stains. Their soft tips leave fewer brush marks.

Should I buy a paint brush with angled bristles or cut square?

An angle-tipped brush allows you to put the tips of the bristles on the work at the natural angle that the brush is held. In addition, an angle-tipped brush puts slightly more bristle area on the work than a square-tipped brush of the same width.

Can I use the same brush for both latex and oil-based paint?

Yes, but you must make sure you clean them extremely well. It's best if you just buy two sets of brushes-one for latex and one for oil-based paints.

What type of brush is best for rough surfaces?

A synthetic brush is your best choice, because the rough surface can quickly damage the flags on a natural-bristle brush.

How wide of a brush should I use?

The best answer is whatever you feel comfortable with. A bigger brush holds more paint and applies it more quickly, but it is also harder to control.

Caring for Brushes & Rollers
A good brush is a great investment. Much easier to use, they give a better finish. Wrap some masking tape around the ferrule of the brush and the first 1/2 inch or so of the bristles. This keeps paint out of the base of the brush making it last longer and easy to clean. After you've cleaned your brushes, shape them with your hands and hang to dry so they will dry in shape and be like new for next time.

Most quality rollers are designed for one painting project and to be used with one type of paint.
While rollers can be successfully cleaned, they won't provide the same service the second time around. Colors bleed through, the nap becomes matted and less absorbent and tends to slough off.
If your project covers more than one painting day, don't wash the roller. Instead wrap it in tightly in foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. The next day simply remove the wrapper and continue painting. When the project is done, remove from frame and discard in plastic wrapper.

How do I choose the right roller cover?

Roller covers vary in pile or nap length, and it's essential to choose the right pile length for the surface texture you're painting. A general guideline is:

  Smooth (3/16" or 1/4" nap): for walls, floors, and fine finishing.

  Medium (3/8" or 1/2" nap): for sand-textured walls.

  Rough (3/4" or 1" nap): for light stucco walls and masonry floors.

  Extra Rough (1 1/4" nap): for brick, block, masonry and stucco.


Should I use a different type of roller cover for oil-based paint and latex paint?

Yes, just as you would with a paint brush. Natural fiber roller covers made with mohair or a blend of polyester and lamb's wool are usually recommended for oil-based paints, varnishes and stains. Synthetic fiber roller covers, on the other hand, are most often recommended for applying latex paints.

What are the quality features in a good roller?

Good roller frames have a compression-type cage, which is also convenient, because their covers can be removed quickly and easily. Also, look for a handle that has a threaded end so you can use an extension pole for painting floors and ceilings.