The right tool for the job – that’s one thing nearly everyone agrees is essential for guaranteeing quality results, saving lots of time and usually saving money too. That’s no less true of paintbrushes and rollers.
Homeowners will often pay attention to the tiniest details when they’re agonizing over color choices. Weeks may go by while family members or business partners come to a final consensus on product, as they decide what paint finish they really want, even as they do that painstaking prep work for painting.
Then they get to work. It’s funny, though, how often the same detail-driven person will pry open the lid, break out the stir stick and realize that they forgot about the crunchy paintbrushes they left in water last fall in the basement. They’re happy to find a few value-pack foam brushes from some long-forgotten source in a drawer – and this is where the expertise of a professional painter makes so much difference.
With a confusing array of brushes, rollers and sprayers, it’s easy to see how the right know-how about actually using the paint comes into play. That’s one reason to decide not to DIY and to choose a painting professional. If you are painting yourself, here’s a quick primer, pun intended, from our professionals:
Basically, there are two kinds: natural fiber or synthetic. Usually, the product you’re using and the task at hand will dictate which of the brushes you need. A natural-fiber bristle is good for enamel; if you’re applying an oil-based paint, either one may work. But if you’re using a water-based latex product, your best choice is a synthetic bristle made of nylon or polyester because these can handle the water best.
That’s all there is to it? Well, no. There are varnish brushes and stucco brushes, angled trim brushes and straight trim brushes, larger 4-inch brushes and slim 1-inch trim brushes, Black China and White China natural-fiber brushes. At one manufacturer, brushes are still made by hand as they were 85 years ago!
If you’re hoping there won’t be a quiz, we understand – choosing the right paintbrush depends on a lot of factors. Besides the kind of paint or stain, you’ll need to know what kind of surface you’re painting on and the size of the spaces to match the brush sizes. You’ll also need to know about edges or trim work.
Finally, you’ll want to seriously consider brush quality. You may not know what a ferrule is (it’s that narrow metal band that goes around the paintbrush) but you can easily see if the brush is well-made by checking the ferrule, the handle and other features. Above all, don’t overlook the bristle quality. As a rule of thumb, solid bristles are better than hollow ones, and tapered bristles help to create a nice finish.
Rollers don’t have either the colorful history or exotic names that some paintbrushes do, but they do come in natural and synthetic fibers and the same rules apply. The length of the nap is key to selecting a roller cover, with thinner nap is better for common surfaces like wood or wallboard, and thicker nap for painting over stucco surfaces, or even brick and concrete. As with brushes, it may cost a little more for the right tool – that means the roller frame too – but the right tools are cost-effective in the long run.
Paint sprayers may make the most sense, but do the research first. The different types of sprayers – airless, air, and HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) – are fast and, for many people, easy to use. But they come with their own considerations of spray pattern and rate, masking requirements and safety practices. Begin with the same questions you would ask before choosing a paintbrush, and you’ll be on the right track to learning more about sprayers. Or give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain more about how all these paint application options work, and the best practices we can offer as professionals.