How Do I Choose a Paintbrush or Roller

How Do I Choose a Paintbrush?

Choosing a paintbrush all depends on what you are using it for. Always buy quality brushes. When you skimp, the brush tends to fall apart, and you will end up having to pull loose bristles out of your paint job, leaving you with a less-than-perfect look. For water-based paints, you can choose all-purpose brushes. For oil-based paint, choose brushes made with animal hair, such as ox or hog. Most brushes will be marked for their best application. Look at the packages before you buy.
Its best to keep a range of clean brushes on hand, including 2 ½-, 3-, and 4-inch flat brushes as well as tapered sash brushes. Here is a detailed list of paintbrushes and their uses:

Walls For walls (cutting around the sections you will roll), choose a 3-inch to 5-inch paintbrush with straight edges. These can be called wall brushes or professional paint brushes, and are designed to carry lots of paint and distribute it widely.

Wood For most woodworking projects chooses a two-inch paintbrush with straight edges. These are typically called trim brushes.

Corners and windows when you need to get into tight places, such as corners and windowsills, it is best to choose an angled or tapered paintbrush. Also called sash brushes, these are from 1 to 2 inches wide.

How Do I Choose a Roller?

Invest money in a good, high-quality paint roller base. You can use it for years to come, and even the best ones are fairly inexpensive.
The standard roller is nine inches wide and has a sturdy metal frame. Pick up the roller for a test drive in the hard ware store, and buy the one that fits your hand most comfortably makes sure that the bottom of the roller handle is threaded so that you can attach an extension pole for hard to-reach places.

Roller covers are disposable and come in various different thicknesses, or ‘naps.” For most interior jobs, you need only a 1/4- or 3/8-inch nap. If you have a rough surface (such as stucco or brick), it is best to use a thicker nap (or more). Choose a quality roller frame that won’t let the cover slip off. Just like a paintbrush, make sure you buy a cover made of quality nap. If you don’t, you will end up having to pull tiny fibers out of your paint job.

Before using a roller cover, be sure to rinse it off (with water if using water-based paint or with paint remover if using oil-based) to remove any loose particles or lint. Can you reuse paint rollers? Depending on the quality and the surface, you may be able to use the rollers a few times. But just take a look: you will be able to tell when you can no longer use the roller because it won’t roll as well and will begin leaving nap behind on the wall.

For water-based paint, an all-purpose roller cover will work just fine. For oil-based paints, however, you will want to use a more expensive roller cover, such as lamb’s wool. If you are painting to a high-gloss finish, try to find a mohair roller cover. It is more expensive but will leave you with a smooth, professional finish.

Choose Exterior Paint Color

There are so many things to consider when repainting the exterior of your home. After you choose a painter and decide on the type of paint you want to use, you then have the task of deciding on a color. For some people this comes easily, for others, decorating or changing the exterior of their home is daunting.

Here are some tips for choosing exterior paint colors:

Stay true to the traditional color scheme for your type of home. For example, a New England Salt Box looks great in blue-gray tones. Victorian homes can have a variety of colors, look at the bottom layer of paint for a clue to your home’s original paint scheme. If your home is in a wooded area, you might want to choose earth tones.

Many paint stores now offer computer imaging so you can get an idea of the look of the colors you are considering. This way you can avoid a surprise after buying hundreds of dollars worth of paint.
If, for example, you like a bright yellow or blue color, consider selecting a color in a slightly muted tone. A large area of bright color can have a larger impact than you may want.

Look at homes in your neighborhood or in decorating magazines. This is a great way to find paint colors. If you like the color of a house in your neighborhood, ask the homeowner if he or she would share the color name and brand of paint they have used. If you find a color scheme you like in a magazine, it is fairly easy to have the colors matched at your local paint store.

Use pre-selected color schemes from your local paint store. Many paint manufacturers will group complimentary color pallets. These are suggestions for trim, accents and the body of the house.

COLOR Frequently asked questions

How do colors effect room size?

Generally, warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows close in a space. Blues, greens, and violets tend to make a room look larger. Dark colors have a diminishing effect. Whites are always a good choice for making a room look larger.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors….?

This depends on the look you want to achieve. If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail darker allowing the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls…?

Use the same color to hide trim work, use a lighter or darker color to bring out the trim work and add highlights.

Will the paint I choose look lighter or darker on the wall?

Larger surfaces make the paint appear darker. As a general rule, always choose colors that are a shade or two lighter than what you want. Do keep in mind that colors can also appear lighter or darker depending on surrounding colors and lighting.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?

Take color chips home to determine the color of your room. A nice technique is to hold the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will effect your color choices.

What color should I paint my ceiling?

White or off-white colors will create the illusion of having a higher ceiling and more open space. Whereas medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling. Customarily, white or off-white tend to be used.

Will the paint actually match the color chip?

As a general rule, paint on a color chip will appear slightly lighter than when applied in a room. Always take into account the sheen of the paint, the lighting in the room, and other colors that are in the room.

How to choose the right paint

There are so many choices in paint. You want to do it yourself; however, you don’t want to look like a complete idiot when the sales clerk asks, “may I help you?” We can all understand the terminology; it simply takes a bit of “gray matter” effort. Check out the list below pick out what you need for your particular job and look good to the paint guy.

Enamel paint:

This paint has a high content of resin, making it have a nice gloss and is rub resistant consequently this would work well in area that is well used and needs to be washed every so often. Enamel can also be in latex form as well as alkyd.


Water based, can be cleaned up with water, and also thinned with water. It has less of the offensive “paint odor” than paints that are of an oil base and will dry in a reasonably short time. It works well on areas with high alkali content such as new concrete.


This paint is formulated to provide resistance to damage from abuse and abrasion. Alkyd is oil based solvent thinned paint. It has traditionally been used for heavy traffic areas, or doors, kitchen bathrooms, and cabinets. The surface created by alkyd paint is smooth and will help to refurbish any rough wood surface. It has a very strong odor. Paintbrushes will need to be cleaned with solvent.

Latex flat enamel:

Water based and easy to clean up, this paint has the benefit of latex. It more like enamel paint, in that it can be washed, and is more durable than normal latex. The finish is flat (not shiny).


Similar to bake on enamel however it is placed on surface with two coatings used in kitchens and bathrooms where there is a likelihood of high moisture. Can be scrubbed with ease when needed.

Acoustic tile paint:

The many small holes in acoustic tile are there for a good reason, and that is to help absorb sound. Using regular paint would fill the holes and defeat the purpose intended, which is, making them soundproof. This paint is specifically formulated for this specific purpose.

Floor and deck paint:

To be used outside on decks, it is a heavy-duty paint and will resist the attack of changing weather and many “footsteps.” It may be purchased in a glossy formula or a flat surface paint. The shiny mix can be cleaned with ease, and the flat finish is more resistant to chips and cracks.

Do not buy cheap paintbrushes the extra cost of a good tool will save a big headache later. Find natural bristles for oil base paints and nylon bristles for water based paints. Check out new products on the market and read the labels.

Choose the Right Color

Having trouble picking the perfect paint color for your home decorating project? Not sure what type of paint you should use? Don’t feel bad — even the pros need help from time to time.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?

The first step is determining your color scheme by examining your existing furniture, window treatments, and other accessories (or shop for these items first). Choose your favorite colors in these items and visit your paint dealer to get coordinating color chips. Look at the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will affect your color choices. As a last resort, you might want to buy a quart of your chosen color and test it on one of your walls.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors. Which one goes where?
If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail with the darker color. This allows the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls, or a different shade?
The answer to this question depends on what you are trying to achieve with your room. Use the same color on the trim if you are trying to disguise ordinary or unattractive trim work, or if you are trying to create a uniform, monochromatic look. Use a lighter or darker color to accentuate trim work or to add subtle hints or bold flashes of color to your room.

Will the paint I chose look lighter or darker on the wall?
Over a larger surface area, most colors appear darker. It’s a good idea to choose colors a shade or two lighter than what you want. Clean, bright colors can appear either lighter or darker depending on the surrounding colors and lighting in the room.

I’ve just finished painting my room and the color is bolder than I expected. How can I soften the look?
Try applying a lighter or more muted color over the original color using a design technique such as rag rolling, sponging, or color washing.

How do colors affect a room’s size?
Generally, strong, warm colors like reds, oranges and yellows tend to close a space. These colors are known as advancing colors because they jump out and meet the eye. Conversely, receding colors like blue, green and violet tend to make a room look larger because they “stand back” visually. However, the darkest values of the receding colors, like navy blue or hunter green, also tend to have a diminishing effect on a room’s size. Small rooms are best made to appear larger by painting them white or a light neutral color.

What color should I paint my ceiling?
It is customary to paint ceilings white or off-white. This creates the illusion of higher ceilings and a more open space. Medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling, which can create a cozy look if the ceiling is higher than usual. With normal height ceilings, medium and dark colors could close in the area too much creating a cave-like appearance.

What’s the difference between different types of paint finishes and which finish works best where?

Flat finishes have no shine, making them ideal for hiding minor surface imperfections. While traditional flat finishes are not usually stain-resistant, *C.I.L* is designed to provide maximum stain resistance while maintaining a beautiful flat finish.

Eggshell or velvet finishes work in just about any room. They are easier to clean than flat finishes and offer a soft glow that warms up any room.

Satin or semi-gloss finishes are easy to clean and are good for highlighting architectural details. They work well in kitchens, baths, and on doors and trim.

Gloss finishes are shiny and scrubable, so they are perfect for doors, trim and specialty uses.

What is the difference between oil-based and water-based paint, and what are the advantages of each?
Alkyd, or oil-based paint penetrates wood better than latex (water-based) paint and won’t stick when you keep your doors and windows shut for the winter. For the bulk of most jobs, latex (water-based) paint is the better choice. It dries faster, doesn’t yellow and can be cleaned up with soap and water when you break for the day.

How do I determine the amount of paint I’ll need for a particular job?

The first step is to add the width of all walls in the room together. Multiply this sum by the height of one wall from floor to ceiling. Take this total number and subtract the total area of your doors, windows, archways, etc. to get the exact area of wall space you will paint. A flat surface usually requires one gallon for every 400 square feet. Take into account the number of coats you will need to do the job right. Blue and yellow are hard colors to cover up with just one coat.