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Picking The Right Products

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Picking the Right Products


There are two types of brushes:

Natural bristle - made with animal hair; hog hair is best. Natural bristle brushes are best used with oil-based or alkyd paint.

Synthetic brushes - made with nylon, polyester or a combination. They can be used with oil or latex paint.

For latex paint, you should only use synthetic brushes. For oil-based or alkyd paints, you can use either synthetic or natural bristle but it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations.

You can accomplish most paint jobs with a larger 4-inch brush for coverage and a smaller 2-inch brush for trim work and cutting in around corners.

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Brush Tips

  • Dampen a synthetic brush before use. Paint will be less likely to dry on the brush.
  • Don't overload a brush with paint. The application will be smoother and less wasteful.
  • Paint with the brush at a 45-degree angle to maximize the bristle's surface area.
  • For a better finish, paint from the area just painted towards the unpainted area. Painters call this "wet to dry".
  • Dip the bristles one-third of the way into the paint; any deeper will waste paint. Tap the side of the brush on the inside of the can to remove excess paint.
  • If you need to stop for an hour or so, position the brush in the paint to cover the bristle tips. For longer interruptions, wrap the brush in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for oil-based paints. If you're using latex, the refrigerator will be fine.
  • Before cleaning, remove remaining paint by stroking the brush back and forth on newspaper. Before storing, remove paint with the proper thinner.

Roller Tips

  • Moisten before use with water or thinner to prevent paint from drying on the roller.
  • Load the roller with paint from the slanted edge of the tray to prevent overloading.
  • Paint in the shape of the letter W. Start by moving the roller away from you. Without lifting the roller from the wall, fill in the open space.
  • Don't try to paint too quickly.
  • To clean a roller cover, roll it back and forth on newspaper. Remove paint with the proper thinner. If you're rinsing out solvent-based paint, wear rubber gloves. Let it dry before storing.
  • Disposable rollers are available. If you don't plan on repainting soon, you may want to use these to avoid cleanup (especially when using oil-based paint).


Rollers are available in two types:

Natural - made with mohair or lambswool; best with oil-based paints.

Synthetic - made with nylon, polyester, or a combination; best with water-based paints.

For latex paint, you should use synthetic materials only. For oil-based or alkyd paints, you can use either synthetic or natural material. As with brushes, it's always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations before purchasing.

When purchasing a roller:

Look for beveled edges on the roller for a smooth finish.

Check to make sure the roller has no visible seams.

Give it a squeeze - it should rebound to its original shape.

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Paint Accessories

Here are a few accessories you'll be glad you picked up:

  • Drop cloths save countless hours of cleanup, not to mention saving things that just aren't meant to be painted, such as sofas and carpet.
  • A tray is a must for a roller, but also good when using a painting pad.
  • Painter's tape should be part of your painting toolbox. Always use painter's tape instead of masking tape. Painter's tape allows you to keep areas covered for up to three days. If you let masking tape stick around that long, you'll end up pulling off part of your finish.
  • The proper step stool or ladder is essential for safety and easier painting.
  • An edger or painter's shield is a simple straightedge with a handle that enables you to make clean cut-ins where walls meet ceilings.
  • Using an extension handle for your roller may be just the trick when you need to extend your reach. Make sure your roller will accept a screw-in extender and that the extender is stiff enough to give you enough leverage to apply the paint.

Selecting a Paint Finish

Before choosing your paint, think about where your room fits into the scheme of things. Where is it situated in relation to other rooms? Is it a high- or low-traffic area? What do you want to accentuate? The right finish makes a world of difference in the end result.

Flat. Flat paint is best suited for ceilings, areas where surface imperfections might be visible, and anywhere else that a muted low-reflecting surface is desired. Because it takes more effort to clean, a flat finish is ideal for the low-traffic areas of your home.

Low-luster, satin, or eggshell. Use low-luster, satin, or eggshell paint on areas where you want a sheen. Easier to clean than flat paint, they're great for high-traffic areas such as hallways, bathrooms, bedrooms, and playrooms.

Semigloss or gloss. Go for semigloss for kitchens and bathrooms; choose gloss for banisters, railings, shelves, doorjambs, and windowsills. Also, keep in mind that the higher the gloss, the more it emphasizes any surface imperfections.

Making Your Purchase

Water versus oil. When selecting an interior finish, try choosing a water-based enamel instead of an oil-based gloss paint. Water-based gloss enamels have less odour than conventional oil-based paints, they're much easier to clean up, and they wear better over time.

Don't cut corners on paint quality. High-quality paint performs better for a longer period of time. It's less prone to yellow as it ages, goes on smoother, and won't leave brush marks. It's also easier to clean and is dirt resistant.

Purchase sample sizes. Paint a piece of scrap material such as cardboard, or even a portion of your wall, to see the effects of various light conditions.

Become a Painting Pro

  • Make sure you're using the best brush for your needs: smaller trim brushes for detail work, broader brushes for larger areas, and rollers when you need to cover a lot of space. Frames and covers for rollers come in different sizes depending on your job. and different textures for different surfaces. Smooth walls need a shorter nap, textured walls need longer naps. And just like a brush - the better quality you buy the better the results.
  • After you pick your ideal colour, buy paint that's one step lighter than your sample. Paint always looks darker once you get it on the wall. That lighter colour will actually end up being the exact colour you want.
  • Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent colour throughout the room when using multiple gallons.
  • If you'll be painting over the course of a few days, seal your rollers and paint brushes with tinfoil, saran wrap or plastic bags to keep them from drying out.
  • In a small space, pick your paint colour based on the primary furniture upholstery. It will make the space appear bigger.
  • Don't forget the ceiling when picking your paint palette. You can paint the ceiling one shade lighter than the walls to get an interesting monochromatic feel. To make the room cozier, paint the ceiling a shade darker than the walls. Some designers choose a semi gloss paint for the ceiling to give it a glow.
  • If you have several different surfaces in a room, such as moulding, doors or windows, paint them the same colour as the walls and they will blend in. If you want contrast, paint them white.

Spray Paint

There's a difference between indoor and outdoor spray paint. The key to spray painting is to use proper prep and technique. To prep your surface make sure it's clean and lightly sanded. Always use a primer on bare wood and metal. When spraying, don't spray continuously or in random patterns. Instead, start on one side of the surface and spray side to side, stopping at each side. Stay a consistent distance from the surface and overlap on each pass. Apply thin coats to get an even finish.

Spray Paint Shop Spray Paint

Clean Up

  • For an effortless clean up, use tinfoil or a plastic bag to line your paint tray. When you're finished painting, simply roll up and toss away.
  • Use vinegar and hot water to clean your paintbrushes. Use a 1/2 and 1/2 solution and soak for 30 minutes to remove paint.
  • Have paint splatters on your acrylic bathtub? Use an ice scraper to remove them without scratching the tub surface. You can also use an ice scraper to remove paint specks from any other nonmetallic surfaces.
  • Place a couple of shallow dishes filled with undiluted white vinegar around a freshly painted room to quickly get rid of the strong paint smell.
Cleaners, Thinners, & Removers Shop Cleaners, Thinners & Removers
Fix in Six Messy paint cans are the worst. Make holes around the rim to keep them clean. - Video Forgot to buy a paint tray liner from Lowe's? Just use tin foil. Wrap a rubber band around a paint can to wipe your brush and avoid a mess. - Video Fix in Six Messy paint cans are the worst. Make holes around the rim to keep them clean. - Video Forgot to buy a paint tray liner from Lowe's? Just use tin foil. Wrap a rubber band around a paint can to wipe your brush and avoid a mess. - Video Fix in Six Messy paint cans are the worst. Make holes around the rim to keep them clean. - Video Forgot to buy a paint tray liner from Lowe's? Just use tin foil. Wrap a rubber band around a paint can to wipe your brush and avoid a mess. - Video
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