Learn tips before you buy, how to prep, the essential tools and clean-up tricks.
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- Use an edger instead of painter’s tape. Buy a good quality edger (they’re fairly inexpensive) and take your time in the corners so that you don’t spend all the extra time taping off everything.
- A 2-inch angled-sash brush can also be used for cutting into corners.-Hold it like a pencil and paint a steady line.
- If you take a break while painting, cover rollers in plastic wrap and refrigerate so that you don’t have to clean them every time you stop.
- Consider skipping the paint trays and using a five-gallon bucket with a roller screen inside. This saves time on filling and re-filling the bucket.
- Use a hammer and nail to poke holes in the rim of the paint can. It allows the paint to drip back inside the can after you pour it out.
- Use a nylon-bristle brush for water-based paint and natural bristles for oil-based paint. Do not use natural bristles with water–based paint, the water can make the bristles limp. Foam brushes are good for intricate work such as painting molding or window casings. These brushes usually last for only one use because they're hard to clean and easy to tear.
- If your project requires oil-based paint, natural bristles like ox or hog hair are perfect because they hold paint better than synthetic bristles.
- If you're using latex paint, then nylon and polyester brushes are much better because they don’t absorb water like natural fibers.
- Good all-purpose brushes are flagged, meaning the bristles vary in length gradually coming to a peak in the middle of the brush. Flagged brushes provide a smooth, even, more precise layer of paint.
- Use the right roller for the job. For smooth surfaces like wallboard and wood, use a roller with a 3/8-inch or less nap. For surfaces with heavy texture, larger naps can reduce the number of coats — and the amount of time spent painting.
- Use soap and water to clean latex paint off the brush immediately after painting. If the paint dries on the brush, you'll need special solvents to remove it. If your house is on a public sewer system, you can clean the brushes in your sink, but be careful not to dispose of paint in an area where it might seep into the groundwater.
- For oil-based paints, you'll need a solvent such as paint thinner or mineral spirits. Pour about two inches of thinner into a metal container and swirl the dirty brush in it until the paint comes off.
- Moist paintbrushes can be wrapped in plastic or waxed paper and sealed with a rubber band or aluminum foil. Hang brushes upside down to maintain their shape.
- Keep a stash of paint for touch-ups in a small plastic cup or glass jar, like margarine containers or baby food jars (thoroughly cleaned, of course). Be sure to label each container with the color and brand name.
- A common problem known as "hatbanding" occurs when painters use a paintbrush for cutting in and a roller to apply the rest of the paint, thus producing a different texture along the ceiling and trim. To prevent hatbanding, roll the paint as close to the cut-in areas as possible.