This article is brought to you courtesy of the Paint Quality Institute.
Choosing Quality Tools
High quality brushes generally have longer bristles and a divider inside to provide a larger paint reservoir for more efficient application of paint, compared with lower quality economy brushes. The ends of the bristles are flagged or split at the tips and the brush is tapered with longer bristles at the center and shorter bristles to the outside. This means the paint will go on smoother and more evenly. Look for a bare wood handle rather than plastic or painted wood; you’ll get a better grip, And a rust-resistant metal ferrule that is nailed on instead of cramped to the handle means that you’ll shed fewer bristles.
Brushes are available with polyester, nylon or natural bristles. Synthetic bristles are preferred with latex paints, since natural bristles tend to absorb the water in latex products and lose their shape. Some synthetic brushes are recommended for oil-based products as well as for water-based coatings. Natural bristle brushes are recommended for oil-based coatings and coatings made with alcohol, paint thinner or lacquer thinner. Brushes should be pre-primed before use. For latex painting, prime the brush with water. For oil-based coatings, prime the brush with paint thinner. All excess should be removed before dipping the brush into the paint.
Angular sash brushes are excellent for precise work such as cutting in adjoining surfaces. Different sized brushes have different functions. Use 1″ to 2″ brushes for trim; 2″ to 2 1/2″ for doors, 3″ for larger areas such as floors and wall sections, and 3″ to 4″ brushes for broad wall areas.
Quality rollers tend to be thicker and fluffier for greater paint capacity and less dripping and spattering. They also apply the paint thicker and smoother. A higher quality roller will not crack, holds its shape better, does not shed fibers, and is reusable.
For the smoothest application of oil-based coatings use quality lamb’s wool and natural mohair rollers. Synthetic nap rollers are appropriate for latex paints and some are suitable for oil-based products. Nap length is also an important consideration. As a rule, short nap rollers from 1/4″ to 3/8″ are best for smooth surfaces and long nap rollers from 1/2″ to 1″ are used for rough masonry or cinder block walls.
If your job is appropriate for a paint sprayer choose a high quality one. Better sprayers offer excellent uniformity of spray for smooth, drip-free application and are generally more reliable in their performance.