How to Choose the Right Paint Brush

A brush is a brush, right? Not quite. If you know how to choose the right paintbrush, you can save time painting. Choosing a paintbrush requires a good understanding of what each brush does and what your project requires.

Paintbrushes come in various shapes and sizes, each with a different purpose in mind. To choose right brush you need to consider the paint you'll be using, the cost, and the finish you want.

  • Paint Choice: If you’re using latex paint you'll need synthetic bristles, but if you’re using oil-based paint or a varnish, spend the extra money to get a good quality natural bristle brush. The better the quality of natural bristles the smoother and glossier the finish you'll achieve.

  • Handles: Handles are made of a wide variety of wood or plastic materials. They also come in many different sizes and shapes. With all those choices, the only one that really matters is how it feels. Get a handle that feels comfortable in your hand.

  • Size: Smaller brushes, called trim or sash brushes, are intended for use in small, tight spaces, and if the bristles are tapered, they are able to get into corners and grooves much more easily than a flat-bottomed brush of the same size.

    Likewise, wider brushes (called paint or wall brushes) are designed for painting large flat surfaces. As you increase the width of the brush, you compromise control and precision.

The following paintbrushes are helpful to keep around.

  • 1-inch angled sash brush: Choose one with a stubby handle to paint edges and trim.

  • 2-inch angled sash brush: This brush is used for cutting in corners and edges, and painting narrow window sashes and sills.

  • 3-inch flat bristle sash brush: We recommend the regular handle; use it for wide trim and sashes.

  • Small chip brush: Use this brush to get paint into tight corners and spaces.

  • 5-inch wall brush: Use this one for floors, walls, and ceilings.

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