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Paint Brushes

A good brush with allow you to apply a thicker and smoother coat of paint, which leads to a better paint job. If you try to save money by using a cheap brush, you risk getting an uneven or streaked coating. Plus, if properly cared for, a quality brush can last longer and both get better and save money over time.

Types of Brushes

Brushes are made with natural or synthetic bristles. Natural bristle brushes last longer (the best natural bristles are called "Natural China," which are really hog hair), but that alone is not the reason to choose them over synthetic brushes. Check the recommendations on the paint or stain you are applying, because in general, latex paints require synthetic or nylon/polyester bristles whereas oil paints require natural-bristle brushes.

Selecting a Brush

When selecting a brush, look for these features:

  • split or "flagged" ends that are flexible at their tips
  • a sturdy, comfortable handle with a sturdy metal ferrule (the band that holds the bristles to the handle)
  • tapered bristles with slightly longer bristles in the center
  • brush dimensions such that the bristles are at least half-again as long as they are wide (for example, the bristles on a 2"-wide brush should be at least 3" in length).

The larger the brush, the more paint it will hold, so pick the right size brush for the job you are doing. For example, use a 4" brush with tightly packed bristles in a 3/4" to 1" thickness for painting siding, ceilings walls, and floors. Use smaller brushes for window frames, trim, and woodwork..

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