hanging home paint brushes on wall

How to Pick The Right Paint Brush | House Painting Tools

Let’s set the scene. You are in the paint store, you have your gallon of paint ready to go, and you walk into the paint brush aisle and notice the crazy amount of paint brushes in different sizes and from multiple brands. Which paint brush should you pick? Which brush will be more efficient for the task at hand?

Walking into the paintbrush aisle can be very overwhelming due to all the options there. This blog covers the bristle material, the size of the brush, the shape of the bristle, and how to clean your brush so it has a long shelf life. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of your paintbrush options when it comes to interior and exterior painting.

Paint Brush Bristle Material

blue bristles

The first thing to consider when choosing a paint brush is the paint type you will be using. If you will be using oil-based paint, the best option is to use a natural bristle brush, also known as China bristle. Natural bristle brushes are made specifically for oil-based paint. Natural brushes work great also with stains and clear coats.  

Your other bristle option is the synthetic type. Synthetic bristles are either made from Nylon, Polyester or a blend of the two. These brushes are perfect for both oil and water-based acrylic paints and they are the best brush for DIY projects. 

Paint Brush Bristle Shape

Now let us talk about the shape of brush bristles. You have straight cuts and angled brushes. Angle brushes are great for cutting in around walls, trim, windows, and doors. They give you more control and precision. Great for interior painting or cutting-in around angles, window frames, or molding. 

On the other hand, flat-cut brushes are perfect for large surface area painting. They carry a lot of paint and are great for exterior painting of clapboards or sidings.

Brush Bristle Size

Paint brushes come in multiple sizes, from 1 inch to 4 inches. When it comes to paintbrush sizes, you must consider the scope of the painting project. 

1-1 ½ inch: brushes are perfect for interior trim, tight corners, or detail work. They are also excellent for painting window sashes.
2-2 ½ inches: They are great for window frames, furniture, railings, shutters.
3-4inches: These brushes are flat straight edge brushes. We use these for exterior siding, decks, fences.

How to Clean & Care for your Paint Brush

So you pick your paintbrush, use it and the job comes out perfect. Now, how do you clean your brush so you can use it again in the future? Brush care is important because it provides you with a good shelf life and saves you money. After using your brush, clean them immediately.

How to Clean Latex Paint Out of Brushes

When you are working with water-based paint, soapy, lukewarm water will get the paint out. Using a brush comb will help you get between all the bristles to get all the paint out. Wash and dub the brush as you clean it. After it’s clean, shake out the excess water. Finally, put the brush back in its protective packaging to help them retain its shape. Make sure to save your sleeves!

How to Clean Oil Paint Out of Brushes

For oil-based paint, you must use either mineral spirits or turpentine. Pour some of the solvents into a paint bucket, then submerge just the bristles. Stir the brush in the solvent till the paint comes out. Once you get most of the paint out, wash the brush in lukewarm water and soap to remove the leftover paint and solvent. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area. Shake out the excess water and place the brush back into its protective package.