Before you begin any painting work the first major decision you face is your brush selection, which is no small thing to overlook. So in this section we will spend a bit of time going over what you need to look out for, to give you a better idea of what your selection should be.
Assuming you have no previous working knowledge of what you want in a good brush, either for water- or oil-based paints, the first thing you should do, and though it sounds obvious not many people do it, is to take your time to read the label information, where available, to find out if the brush should be used with water and/or oil-based paint.
Do not guess it at this stage, ask the store assistant for help if there isn`t any info with the brush, as you may end up with an inappropriate type of paint brush for your job. An example of this is picking an acrylic paint brush for an oil-based primer/undercoat/topcoat paint, and finding the tips or even the whole hair(s) is ending up in your paintwork because the solvents and the various additives in the paint are far too harsh for that type of (acrylic) brush to handle.
So don`t waste time and money: select the correct brush right from the start.
Modern-day synthetic brushes are steadily improving in their quality and are slowly taking over from the older hog bristle type of brushes, though a lot of the older full-time painters still prefer these older type of brushes. Lately a sort of hybrid type of brush has been marketed, that while it is a synthetic can be used on both oil and water-based paints which certainly is an advance and is something I never thought I`d see in my lifetime.
A contractor I know and trust, swears by this new type of brush and nowadays won`t buy any other type of brush for his painters.
When you do settle on the sort of brush(es) you are going to need (here comes another tip), once you get the brush home, and before you do anything else, soak it in luke-warm water to just below the ferrule (the metal brush hair holder) for 5 minutes, take it out, give it a shake to remove most of the water into the laundry sink or outside then leave it standing upside-down, in the sink maybe, for another 5 minutes to get rid of any free water in the ferrule.
Your brush is now ready, it should be moist and supple, for any acrylic paint you use. If you are going to be using the brush for any long stretch of time, keep a weather eye out for paint build-up near the ferrule: if it is starting to harden, get a 4 inch stripping blade, hold the brush against a flat surface (an old piece of clean timber will suffice), and working from the ferrule push the blade toward the tip of the brush removing any hard paint. work both faces and the sides, and making sure the brush is free from any contaminants, dip the brush in paint once again and away you go – nice and quick, once you get used to it.
If you are having a break and paint build-up is not an issue (if it is follow the above advice), wrap your brush in an old, clean, plastic shopping bag until you are ready to begin again, as this stops air getting to the paint which then remains fresh until ready to use.
With brushes to be dipped in oil-based paint, a light soaking in turpentine will serve the same purpose.
You are now ready to start your home painting job with your brushes. Good luck. Be positive and confident and before you know it you`ll be painting like an old pro!