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The Best Techniques for Using Paintbrushes, Rollers and Paint Sprayers (page 1 of 2)

Learn the basic and best way to use common painting tools.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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What You Need to Know:

Many paints and finishes can be applied using whichever tool you prefer, although some have more specific needs. Tool choice is also governed by the size and roughness of the surface, and the accuracy needed. Brushes are fairly labor-intensive to use but give fine control over application and can be used on any surface. Rollers, pads, and sprayers cover large areas evenly, quickly, and easily but can be messy and are usually unsuitable for detailed work.

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Preparing Paint

Open the paint can using an old screwdriver or a lid-opening tool. Unless otherwise specified, use a clean wooden dowel or a power stirrer to mix the paint for at least a few minutes before use. Failure to do this can result in poor coverage and noticeable color variation across a surface. If you are using a brush, decant some into a smaller container. This will be easier to carry and prevent the rest of the paint from becoming contaminated.

Loading a Brush

Good brush technique is essential to achieve even coverage. To avoid overloading the brush, only dip it into the paint to one-third of the bristle length for water-based paint, or one-quarter of the bristle length for solvent-based paint. Then scrape off the excess on the rim of the container. With the correct amount of paint on the brush, you can begin covering the surface.

Hold the brush with your fingers at the top of the ferrule, or lower for a large brush (Image 1). Small brushes can be held like a pencil.

Dip the bristles into the paint to one-third of the bristle length. Draw both sides of the brush across the rim to remove excess (Image 2).

Laying Off

The majority of paints, especially if they have a sheen or are oil-based, require "laying off" to remove tool impressions from the finish. To do this, glide the unloaded painting tool very lightly over the wet paint, just touching the newly coated surface. Laying off with a brush is shown here but the principle is the same for rollers and, to a lesser extent, pads.

Apply the paint roughly to distribute the paint from the loaded brush. Use random strokes in differing directions (Image 1).

Lay off the paint, again using random strokes, allowing only the very tips of the bristles to glide across the freshly painted surface (Image 2).

Painting Wood

Woodwork is usually finished with a finish coat of semigloss or eggshell. These types of paint need to be applied particularly carefully to achieve a good finish. On large, open surfaces such as flush doors, paint should first be applied at right angles to the grain, then brushed out and laid off in line with the grain. On narrow surfaces such as baseboard or panel doors, the paint is easiest applied in line with the grain and brushed out and laid off in the same direction.

Coating a Door
Paint each section separately. Take time to lay off the paint carefully, then cut in accurately along the construction joints for a neat finish.

Courtesy of DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Cutting In

The technique known as "cutting in" is used to create a precise dividing line. You need a brush to cut in accurately, although small paint pads can sometimes be used.

Work in manageable sections along the division line. Load the brush, but take care not to overload it, then position it with its bristles into the junction. Brush it steadily along and allow the bristles of the brush to make a neat "bead" — a tiny, slightly raised line created as the paint leaves the brush. Lay off the other side of the brush stroke to finish.

In a Corner
A straight line between two areas of paint, especially a junction between surfaces, enhances the finish of a room (Image 1).

Decorative Woodwork
Carefully cut into the junction between the woodwork and adjoining surface (Image 2).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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