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.



Sieve paint if you see bits of debris in it, or if a skin has formed. A just-opened new can does not need to be sieved.

1. Use a knife to cut around the top skin. Remove the skin by carefully pulling it to one side of the can.

2. Stretch muslin or old nylon hose across the bucket and pour the paint through. Store the paint in an airtight jar.


For large areas use a wide brush or roller. Tackle intricate areas with an artist’s brush. A range of in-between brush sizes is available.

1. Use only new brushes for priming as they may shed bristles. To remove debris, flick the brush against your hand.

2. Dip a third of the bristle length into the paint. Dab the bristles against the bucket side to remove any excess paint.