Budget brushes

Trying to save money by purchasing an inexpensive paint brush will cost you more in time and frustration than it's worth. Also, the finish of your work paint work may look poor and unprofessional.

Cheap paint brushes can still be used for application of glues and some paint projects that do not require a fine finish.

The bristles on an inexpensive brush will likely be synthetic (nylon) and if you spread them they will be un-tapered with a blunt end. This type of brush tip will not hold sufficient paint and the result could be a streaky paint job. Foam brushes also produce poor results for serious paint jobs – they are OK for small touch ups and spreading glues.

On inexpensive brushes, the ferrule (metal strap that grips the bristles) will not be tight or neat. This ferrule does not hold the bristles securely and some bristles inevitably end-up spoiling your paint job.

Quality brushes

Good quality brushes are highly recommended for interior painting. The type of bristle and brush style will depend on what type of paint is being applied and what it is you are painting. The make your painting job easier and looks more professional.

Wall, trim, and sash-trim are the three main types of bristle design. Wall brushes are usually flat bottomed and wide, roughly three to six inches. Trim brushes are flat bottomed but are thinner and narrower – usually one to two. Sash-trim brushes are cut on an angle and are normally two inches or less in width. For cutting-in or trim work the Sash-Trim brush is your best choice.

Quality brush bristles may be made of natural animal hair, synthetic, or a mix of the two. Natural bristles should be used only with oil based paint. Do not use with water based paint. You can also use synthetic bristles with oil based paint.

Quality brush bristles will be made-up of several different lengths, should taper near the end and have fuzzy looking tips like hair with split ends. This allows the tip to hold sufficient paint and should result in a smoother finish.

The ferrule in a quality brush is usually made of a non-corrosive metal, will be a tight fit and securely holds the bristles to the brush handle.

Breaking-in new paint brushes

To 'break-in' a new brush, here are a few tips:

  • slap the brush against your hand or leg a few times, then against something hard like the edge of a table, to loosen the bristles
  • spin the brush handle quickly rubbing your hands back and forth to spin-out any loose bristles
  • dip the paint brush (about a 1/3 of the bristle length) in paint and paint an "X" a few times (on newspapers or something suitable), to break in the bristles
  • remove any bristles that are bent or sticking-out
  • natural bristle brushes should be conditioned by soaking the brush in linseed oil for a few hours prior to use.

At The Paint Shed, we offer a wide range of quality paint brushes at low trade prices.

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Tips and advice from the paint experts