Brushes, Rollers & Masking
Most people know how to paint with brushes or rollers because it's a fairly easy process. But there are several tips and techniques we've learned to get better results and save you time and effort on your next project.
These tips and techniques apply to both primers and finish paints.
Masking With Tape
The first time saver we recommend is to mask off any adjoining surfaces you don't want to get painted. It actually takes a little more prep time, but with proper masking you can paint a little faster because you don't have to worry about making perfect strokes.
There are a variety of masking products: tapes, plastics and tape-plastic or tape-paper combos. The combination products may be a bit more expensive, but can really speed up the job.
You want to use tapes that are sticky enough to stay on during the painting process and not let paint seep under them. But you don't want tape that is so sticky that it takes off the existing paint when you pull it off. Always run a putty knife along the edge of the masking tape to guarantee a good seal and to keep paint from seeping under the tape.
Most people don't bother masking off the glass on multi-lite windows because of the time involved, so painting them usually requires a lot of care and a lot of time.
One solution we found is an acrylic latex product specially formulated for windows that primes and seals wood trim as well as masks off the glazing quickly and efficiently.
It goes over the wood as a thick, white paste which you lap over the glass, but it dries as a clear, thin sheet. After finish painting it sticks solidly to the wood but, after scoring the edge with a sharp knife, it peels away from the glass, leaving a clean, unpainted surface.
Brushes come in many sizes to fit any kind of painting job. Brushes 3" to 4" wide are designed for walls and doors and 1/2" to 2" wide brushes for cutting in around walls and painting trim.
Most brush bristles are cut straight across, but some are cut at an angle to help get paint into tight corners and along angles.
Brushes are made with both natural (hog/ox) bristles and synthetic bristles. The natural bristle brushes work well with alkyd-based paints, but they absorb water so aren't recommended for latex paints. Synthetic bristles don't absorb water, so they work best with latex paints.
Choosing Roller Naps
Synthetic covers work well with most paints, especially latex. But natural materials like lamb's wool or mohair are more likely to produce a smooth finish if you're rolling out an alkyd-based paint.
Roller covers are manufactured with a variety of nap (fibers) depths.
A 1/4" nap cover produces the smoothest finish, and works best on the flattest surfaces.
A 3/8" nap cover is used most often. It doesn't produce as smooth a finish, but the longer nap forces paint into small holes and cracks which are commonplace flaws in most ceilings and walls.
Deeper nap covers are used to fill in the spaces on rougher surfaces like ceilings and textured walls, plaster, stucco and concrete.