The right paint applicator can make just about any paint job easier. Whether it's brushes, rollers, paint pads or sprayers, we'll help you figure out the best tools for your next paint project.
There are two types of brushes:
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.
A smooth finish depends on the bristles so be sure you're getting a quality brush:
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.
Rollers are available in two types:
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.
Nap (or pile) is the length of the roller's painting surface. Lengths will vary from 1/16 inch to 1-1/2 inch. 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 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 are good for mouldings and other fine work.
When purchasing a roller:
Use a mini roller when painting woodwork, small areas or in tight spaces.
Painting strokes must all be in one direction. Never paint back over an area you just painted. It's also a good idea to use a tray when painting with pads.
Sprayers offer the best coverage, but expect more wasted paint. Sprayed paint will dry quickly and because of the small opening, spray nozzles can clog. When you're finished, there will be a lot of parts to clean.
Here are a few accessories you’ll be glad you picked up:
You need to know which type of paint you have before you start your project. Watch our DIY Basics video: Do I Have Oil or Latex Paint?