The Secret To Applying Paint
One of the very first home improvement tasks that we learned was painting. Both of our folks loved to paint. Although mom’s style of painting most often came from an aerosol can, she, like dad, had done her share of painting with a roller and a brush.
Mom and Dad not only taught us how to paint, but impressed upon us, at an early age, the great impact that a fresh coat of paint has on the appearance of a surface, space or building. Thus, as kids, when most of our friends were playing ball or another source of recreation, we found the same pleasure with a brush and a can of paint.
Consequently, the front porch of our old family home was always a shiny red enamel, the block wall surround the side yard an unscathed beige and the wrought-iron patio furniture a “rust-free” white. While many of our long-ago paint jobs have faded, our interest in and satisfaction from painting has not. Though, we did eventually learn to play ball and develop other interests beyond painting.
It is often said that the key to a top-quality paint job lies in the preparation. How true! A clean, dry and well-prepared surface will significantly improve the appearance and lasting-quality of a paint job. Equally important is the quality of the paint. We believe that paint is an investment. If you like spending your free time painting buy inexpensive, cheap-quality paint. It won’t last and you’ll find yourself giving a repeat performance sooner than later. High quality is worth its weight in….well, it beats having to spend all of your free time painting.
Preparation and paint quality are only two of the three most important elements of painting. The third method is how the paint is applied. Paint can be sprayed, rolled, brushed, sponged or applied with a pad. Although there are a host of other means to apply paint such as rags and combs, the aforementioned are by far the most popular.
Once you decide on the means of application, you’ll need to choose an applicator. For example, if you decide to apply the paint with a brush, you will need to choose the brush that will lend the best results. Brushes, as with most application devices, come in a host of shapes, sizes and materials. The elements to consider when choosing a brush are the type of paint (oil or water), the desired finish (smooth or textured), and the size of the object being painted. The latter will determine the size of the brush, roller, etc., to use.
The drill is simple. When painting with oil (or solvent thinned paint or stain), use a Chinese Bristle brush made from natural animal hair or hog bristle from China. These brushes tend to be more expensive and should not be used in water-based finishes. Conversely, when using water-based paints or stains, use a brush consisting of man-made synthetic bristles such as nylon, polyester or a combination of the two.
The size and style of the brush to be used will complete the selection process. Thus, if you will be painting a large, flat surface such as door, a three to four inch brush would be the best choice. If, on the other hand, the painting task at hand is windows or trim, a trim brush. Still more choices! There are two types of trim brushes. One has bristles cut straight across and the other has bristles cut at a slight angle to the ferrule. The sharper pointed edge of the angular sash brush lets you do precise trimming or fine-line work. In addition, the brush handle is generally long for pencil-grip control.
Like paint brushes, paint rollers have their own world of material, shape and size. Rollers are used when there is a need to spread lots of paint over a large area. Though the standard roller width is nine inches, they are available in various widths to suit the project. When roller shopping, you will also discover a difference in the length of the nap or fibers. Some rollers have a short smooth surface, while others have a long, bushy look. A roller with short nap is designed to be used for smooth services whereas one with a long nap is best for rough or textured surfaces.
Aside from the size and the length of the nap, fabric type determines which roller is best to use. As with paintbrushes, a roller can be constructed or natural material such as mohair or man-made polyester. Mohair, woven to prevent shedding, works especially well when used with polyurethane, oil-base enamels and solvent thinned paints and stains.
Formed paint sponges and fabric covered paint pads have become increasingly popular in the last several years. We have found the foam sponges to work exceptionally well when it comes to minor flat wall touch up or for small craft projects. We don’t recommend them for serious painting jobs where quality is a concern. The same goes for fabric covered paint pads. They are especially suited for applying stain and/or varnish to smooth surfaces such as a deck or hardwood floor, but are not considered among the most effective means of applying paint.
Lastly, a nifty tip. Save time and wear and tear cleaning up paint-covered brushes and rollers at the end of a day of painting by wrapping the brush or roller cover in plastic food wrap and placing it in the refrigerator. Remove the brush or roller from the fridge the following morning and allow it to come up to room temperature and continue right where you left off!
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