After all the decisions about type of paint and wall color and trim color, you still have a decision or two. What type of paintbrush and roller do you need? Here’s some help.
Chances are you’re using latex. Your ideal paintbrush has:
100% nylon or a combination of nylon and polyester bristles. Natural bristle brushes (hog bristle) are great for alkyd paints, but water-based paints make the bristles swell and lose their shape.
Bristles of different lengths. This gives you a fairly stiff brush overall, which spreads paint evenly. At the same time, you get a flexible tip, which gives you a smooth finish.
A nice smooth taper at the tip. (Bristles which end in a blunt square edge leave marks, because they don’t bend.) Press the brush against a flat surface as if you’re painting. The bristles should bend in a nice straight line, which gives you more accuracy for trim.
A band of stainless steel holding the bristles in place. Other metals will rust and discolor your paint.
A hole in the end of the handle. You can stick a dowel or a string through this and suspend the brush in solvent without bending the bristles.
Don’t forget the roller. Look for:
A blend of nylon and acrylic, and minimal shedding. Run your hand down the roller to see how much lint comes off. The glossier the paint the shorter the pile, since any lint that gets pulled off will show up. “Mohair”, which are actually synthetic rollers, are good for alkyd paint and urethanes. With flatter, latex paint, go for deeper pile.
To reduce the risk of bristles or lint messing up your paint job, wash brushes and rollers before you use them.
TIP: An angled “sash brush” is handy for cutting into corners.