Get the Right Amount of Paint the First Time
Use our paint calculator to estimate how much paint to buy.
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Painting can be a chore, but with the right applicator, the job is a breeze. Choose from brushes, rollers, paint pads, and sprayers.
The brush is the most popular paint applicator. Brushes are easy to hold and relatively easy to clean. If used and cared for properly, they give an excellent finish and waste less paint. A quality brush can last for years.
Brushes are available in two categories:
For latex paint, use synthetic bristle brushes only. Natural bristle is too absorbent to use with latex paint. Either synthetic or natural bristle can be used with oil-based or alkyd paints. It is always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations before purchasing.
You can accomplish most paint jobs with a larger 4" brush for coverage and a smaller 2" brush for trim work and cutting in around corners.
A smooth finish depends on the bristles. When purchasing a quality paintbrush:
Handle styles will vary - from wider sizes to fit palms to small pencil-sized ones for precision work.
Disposable brushes are an inexpensive alternative that can be discarded after the job is done, eliminating clean up. Keep in mind that cheaper brushes will lose their bristles faster, marring an otherwise perfect finish.
Paint Brushes & Roller Kits
Rollers are the tools of choice when you have a large area to cover. Rollers will use more paint than a brush. Ceilings and interior/exterior walls can be covered with much less time and effort, but as with brushes, you must choose the correct type.
Rollers are also available in two categories:
For latex paint, use synthetic materials only. Natural material is too absorbent to use with latex paint. Either synthetic or natural material can be used with oil-based or alkyd paints. It is always a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations before purchasing.
Nap (or pile) is the length of the roller's painting surface. Lengths will vary from 1/16" to 1 1/2". Choose the correct nap for the paint job. If you're painting a smooth surface, choose a short napped roller. For a rough surface such as masonry, use a longer nap. Rollers with textured surfaces are also available for special fashion finishes.
Rollers come in widths from 4 to 18 inches. The metal frame for the roller cover comes in two types - birdcage and metal. The birdcage frame works better if you're using fast-drying paints, as it cleans up more easily than the solid-metal type. Most handles are made for attaching an extension.
Trim rollers come in varying shapes and sizes. Cone-shaped types work well in inside corners. Doughnut-style rollers paint mouldings and other fine work.
When purchasing a quality roller:
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).
You are certainly not limited to these applicators. Special designer finishes use a variety of applicators:
Gadgets and time-savers abound, from drip guards to drill-operated paint stirrers to brush and roller spinners. Use your own judgment on these, but here are a few accessories you will be glad you picked up: