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Select the right tools for the job


Choosing the right paint applicator can be tough, so make sure you know what tool will work best for your project.
Choosing the right paint applicator can be tough, so make sure you know what tool will work best for your project. - 123RF Stock Photo

When facing the paint applicator aisle of a hardware store, you will find an array of tools to help you get the job done. Choosing the right paint applicator can be just as challenging as selecting the right paint colour. Choosing the wrong applicator can lead to frustrations and delays in your project.

Let’s identify some of the different paint applicators available for all your painting needs.

Pure bristle vs. synthetic

The type of bristle you use depends on the type of paint your project requires.

Pure bristle brushes are made from animal hair which is generally sourced from boars. These types of natural filaments are used when applying oil based paints.

Avoid using pure bristle in water based paints because the integrity of the bristles will be compromised by absorption of water causing the bristles to swell.

Synthetic bristles can be made of nylon, polyester or a combination or both. The synthetic brush is a jack of all trades brush. These are typically used for water based paint but if the packaging permits can be used with oil base paints.

Angled brush vs. flat brush

Angled brushes are typically used when the project requires detailed work around edges and trim.

The angle allows greater control when you want to apply paint more precisely.

Flat brushes are more of a general purpose applicator, perfect for holding more paint. Square cut brushes are used for large flat areas including siding, furniture and doors.

Another thing to consider when choosing a paint brush is the width. You will find a wide variety of brush widths, ranging from 1” to 4”. Lets break down the different widths and their uses:

  • 1” to 2” applies the right amount of paint to windows and narrow trim work.
  • 2.5” to 3” is the common size for cutting in on walls or painting cabinets and doors.
  • 4” brushes hold a greater quantity of paint and excel at applying paint to large flat areas or stain to decks and siding.

Roller thickness vs. paint sheen

The thickness or “nap” of a roller is typically identified in millimetres on the roller sleeve.

The minimal thickness is commonly 5mm. This low nap excels at applying glossy paints to smooth surfaces.

The medium thickness is 10mm, this standard pile nap is an in between roller that suites low luster to semi gloss sheen paints and works well over semi smooth surfaces.

The higher thickness ranges from 15mm to 19mm. This fluffy roller is the perfect choice for flat paints or primers being applied to rough or uneven surfaces, helping to camouflage imperfections on the wall.

With all the different qualities of the brushes and rollers identified, it's time to start searching for the perfect brush or roller for your next project.

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