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colourful paint and paint brushes

Everything you need to know about paint brushes

When it’s time to paint your interior walls, you want to make sure you’re not just getting the right paint but also the right paint brush.

What is the best paint brush for walls?

Paint brushes come in a range of sizes, usually up to six inches.  For smaller, tighter areas you need a smaller brush, 1-1.5″, for baseboards 2-2.5″ and then a larger brush for larger areas, 3-6″.  To get that perfect finish on your walls, you need to invest in a few different ones.  Most people like to get one larger and at least two smaller brushes.

  • Square Cut.  This brush is made for large, flat surfaces and is 3-6″.
  • Angle Sash.  This is the brush to use for those hard to reach places as it gives you more flexibility with the angles.
  • Round Sash.  This is ideal for cutting in and also awkward to reach areas.

Brushes are made of either natural materials such as animal hair or synthetic materials like nylon and/or polyester.  Natural is best when using oil-based paints and top coats and synthetic is a must for using water-based paints as the bristles do not absorb water.

Use a brush with stiffer bristles when cutting in, as it will hold heavy paint and primer better and a softer brush for a smoother finish on doors and other woodwork.

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Are expensive paint brushes worth it?

It is worth investing in good quality brushes as you don’t want to spend days painting then be disappointed with the results.  Cheap brushes can leave bristles in the paint and are unlikely to give an even coat on the walls which means the job may take longer and still not give you the ideal finish.

A good quality brush will have a lot of flags (split ends, but it’s a good thing in this instance as they hold the paint well), that you will be able to see when you spread out the bristles.  It should not shed bristles when you tap it against something so this is a good way to test for quality in a store.  If you spend a bit more on paint brushes and look after them well, they will last for a lot longer.

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How to look after your paint brushes

If you buy good quality paint brushes and look after them properly, they can last for years and years.  Never store them bristle down and hang them to dry whenever possible.  Try and keep paint away from the metal part of the handle (the ferrule) as it will be easier to clean and help prolong the life of your paint brush.  If you need to continue a paint job over a few days, you can store the brushes in clingfilm overnight.

Cleaning synthetic brushes

These are easier to clean than natural brushes.  Wipe as much of the paint off the brush onto the rim of the paint tin as you can, then give the brush a wipe on some old newspaper.  Give it a thorough clean in soapy water until all the paint is off the bristles, use a brush comb if you have one. Then rinse a few times with clean water. Spin the brush to remove any excess water and allow to dry thoroughly.

It is best to wrap synthetic brushes in heavy paper and tie loosely with some string to store them, as they will keep their shape better.

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Cleaning natural brushes

This will take a bit more time, but is worth the effort as it will prolong the life of your paint brush. Dip the brush into paint thinner and work it through the bristles (check the manufacturer’s instructions for the best cleaning solvent to use.) Always use protective gloves for this and do it outside or in a well ventilated areas so fumes can be released.  Spin the paint brush then repeat again with fresh paint thinner.  Once it is clean, wipe it on a rag and reshape the bristles then allow to dry thoroughly.

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Painting is a big job to take on; from choosing brushes and paint, to the time it takes to actually paint and the clean up afterwards, so you can always get the experts in to do it for you and get that perfect finish. Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!


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George Ryland

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