FAQs on Paintbrushes

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Q How do I select the right size paint-brush?

Brushes are available in different shapes and sizes for large and small projects. Straight-edge brushes are used for surface coverage, and angled edges are used for cutting into corners and trim work. The size of the brush should fit the job, but you should also keep in mind the size that you are comfortable using. Larger brushes hold more paint but can also become heavier than smaller ones once paint is loaded on to the brush. If you’re painting a small area such as edging or window trim, a smaller, 2” or 2-1/2” brush will work best. If you need to cover large areas, a bigger brush will be much faster.

Q What is the proper way to clean my paintbrush?

Cleaning water-based paints from your brush:

Warm water and mild soap is the best cleaning solution for water-base paints. Prepare soapy water and pour about two inches into a clean plastic container. Dip the brush into the mixture, working the soapy water through the filament. Follow with a clear water rinse in a second clean plastic container. Pour the second rinse water into the first container. Repeat the rinse process in container two as needed. This method is best to keep the paint/water from going down the drain and into the groundwater. After the brush is clean, leave the water to evaporate. The paint solids will peel off of the plastic container and can be disposed correctly.

Cleaning oil-based paints, varnishes, lacquers and shellacs from your brush:

Closely follow the finish manufacturer’s instructions to select the proper cleaning solvent (mineral spirits or paint thinner for paint and varnish, denatured alcohol for shellac, etc.). Pour the solvent into a container and dip the brush into the solvent. Work the thinner through the brush bristles, dipping up and down in the container several times. Spin the brush into a waste area to remove excess thinner and then repeat the process with a clean container and clean thinner until the thinner runs clear. Pour all the thinners together. After the thinner has been left alone for approximately 24 hours and the solids have sunk to the bottom of the container, the thinner can be poured out and used again. Let the solids dry out and then properly dispose of the container.

You can also use a brush comb to prevent excessive paint buildup and to remove stubborn paint. The comb straightens wet bristles so they dry correctly, extending the life of your paintbrush.

Q Are there different brushes for oil-based paint versus latex paint?

For latex products, a 100% nylon brush or a brush with a combination of nylon and polyester is the best choice. For oil-based products, a Chinex bristle or an oxhair brush will give you superior results.

Q What should I look for in a quality brush?

When selecting a quality paintbrush, customers should look for a reputable brand, high-quality bristles or filaments, high-quality construction, an ergonomically comfortable handle, and a product that is easy to clean. A quality brush will provide higher-quality results and have a much longer life, making it an investment in the finished appearance of your projects. A great paint-brush will hold more paint and give you more control, while providing a smoother finish with fewer brushstrokes. Ultimately, a good brush will save you time. APC


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