May 4, 2021

How to Choose the Perfect Paint Brush for Home Painting

With so many options available, it can be tough to choose the perfect paint brush for your project. We want to help. Today, we’re highlighting some of the things experts consider when choosing the perfect paint brush.

Bad craftspeople blame their tools. If you don’t have the right paint brush, however, you’re not giving yourself a chance.

The right paint brush is crucial for artwork, interior painting, and even exterior painting.

With so many options available, it can be tough to choose the perfect paint brush for your project. We want to help. Today, we’re highlighting some of the things experts consider when choosing the perfect paint brush.

Choose the Right Bristle Type

You can buy synthetic bristles or natural bristles. Each has its own pros and cons.

By matching bristle type to paint type, you can get a smoother finish and an easier application.

Synthetic bristles are ideal for paint or varnish that can be cleaned up with water.

Natural bristles are ideal for oil-based varnishes or paint.

If you use a natural bristle for water-based finishes, for example, then the bristles absorb too much moisture, softening them. Synthetic bristles can work with oil-based varnishes and paint, although they won’t provide a smooth finish.

Types of Synthetic Brushes: Nylon, nylon and polyester blends, and Chinex bristles.

Types of Natural Brushes: Black China, Ox-hair Blend, and White China.  

Pick the Right Brush Size

A small brush gives you better control over the area, while a large brush makes your life easier.

Brush size varies from project to project. However, here are some basic rules about brush sizes, according to Family Handyman:

• A 1 ½ inch brush is ideal for most woodwork jobs

• If you’re painting trim wider than 3 inches, then consider a wider brush (say, 2 ½ inches)

• When painting walls, you’ll mostly use a roller, with a smaller brush used for cutting in; consider buying a 3 or 4-inch wide brush, although most DIYers can make a 2 ½ inch brush work

Overall, most projects do not require brushes larger than 3 inches. Unless you’re painting wide siding, fencing, paneling, or other side and flat surfaces, you should not need a large and wide brush.  

Choose the Right Brush Shape

You’ve decided on the bristle and size of your brush. Now, it’s time to consider the shape of the brush.

When comparing paint brushes, you’ll notice some are cut at an angle while others have square ends. There are advantages to both types of brushes:

• An angled tip is easier to control, and it tends to be more accurate; angled tips are ideal for painting trim or cutting in before applying a paint roller to your walls

• Square-tipped brushes are ideal for any flat, wide surfaces – like fencing or paneling

• Chisel trim brushes have slanted bristles and produce a good, straight line, making them ideal for trimming in corners and edges

If you are starting your paint brush collection, then get two or more types. They’re useful in different situations.

Consider Brush Style

There’s a whole world of brush styles you may have never heard about.

As Sherwin Williams explains, each brush style has its own unique advantages:

Thin Angle Sash: Thin angled sashes have slanted bristles and a thin design, making them ideal for creating straight lines while trimming in corners and edges.

Angle Sash: These brushes have slanted bristles and hold more paint than a thin angle sash brush. They’re better for cutting in at the ceiling or painting trim.

Flat Sash: Flat sash bristles are straight, making them perfect for applying paint over flat areas.

Trim: Trim brushes are flat and designed for painting large, flat surfaces, including exterior siding.

Wall: Wall brushes hold a large amount of paint and are ideal for larger surface areas.

Clean Brushes After Use

Spending a few minutes cleaning your brushes after each use can make them last. As Apartment Therapy explains, you clean water-based paint and oil-based paint in different ways:

For water-based paints, clean your brush with warm water and dish soap. Work the combination through the bristles with your hand until the water runs clear. Shake the brush after washing to align the bristles, then hang the brush to dry.

For oil-based paints, swirl the brush in a cup of paint or lacquer thinner for 30 seconds, then wipe the brush over the side of the cup. Repeat the step several times until no more paint comes from the brush. Do a final rinse with soap and water, then shake the brush and let it dry. Store the brush in the sleeve it came in.

Invest in a Higher-Quality Brush

Higher-quality brushes quickly pay for themselves. You might buy a cheap brush today, only to need to buy a second brush halfway through your project.

Yes, it’s tempting to buy a cheap brush and throw it out when you’re done. But spending $10 to $20 on a single good brush today makes more sense.

Good brushes last. If you’re a homeowner, then you’ll need to paint something at some point in the future. Buying a good brush today helps you start your brush collection.

Consider investing in a better brush today. Your future self will thank you.

Order a Painting Kit from Paint and Sip LIVE!

Each Paint and Sip LIVE class comes with an optional all-in-one painting kit shipped to any address in the United States.

Try our brush to see if you like it, then test different brushes to pick the perfect option for your home painting project.