Home decoration: How to pick the perfect paintbrush

Many home owners believe that the quickest and easiest way to give a room a makeover is a new paint job.

But they’re wrong, according to property experts.

How to pick the perfect paintbrush Reigate estate agent Robert Leech, says that a room that is badly decorated can do more to put off viewers than coloured bathroom suites, which can knock up to £8000 off the value of a property.

The root cause of the majority of bad paint jobs is a home owner’s choice of brush, both in terms of size and material the bristles are made from.

Here, we provide a guide to choosing the best paint brush for the job.

Brush size

Just as you wouldn’t use a garden fork to eat a Sunday roast, your size of paint brush needs to match the scale of job to be tackled.

Paint brushes come in a variety of widths. Use a 25mm brush for small jobs and touch-up work such timber trim, a 38mm brush is suitable for window frames and mouldings, a 50mm or 63mm brush should be used on doors, while a 75mm brush is best for skirting boards.

Paint rollers are best suited for painting walls, but keep a 100mm brush handy for parts of a wall, such as the edges, that a roller will not cover.

Handy tip: Make sure your brush size is no larger than the area you want to cover.

When it comes to painting radiators, a specialist radiator brush is just the job. Radiator brushes have longer handles and a tapered or flagged edge. This makes it much easier to paint the hard-to-reach areas behind a traditional wall-mounted radiator.

Bristle shape

The bristles on the majority of paintbrushes available from DIY stores are square cut. That’s because these are ideal for holding and laying paint onto virtually any surface.

The downside of a square-cut brush is it does not provide total control when painting into corners, up to adjacent surfaces or along narrow surfaces.

A bristles of a sash brush, on the other hand, are cut at a slight angle. This means they are best suited for finishing off – or cutting in –around the perimeter of a room.

Bristle type

The difference between a professional-looking finish and one that could devalue a property is often the material a brush’s bristles are made from, says a spokesman for Lawsons & Daughters – a Hammersmith estate agent.

The cheapest brushes have polyester bristles that are difficult to achieve a smooth and even finish with. They are also difficult to clean and will lose their shape quite rapidly, meaning they’re often thrown away after one or two uses.

Other bristle types include…


Also relatively affordable, the fine nature of the bristles enables them to transfer paint more effectively to uneven surfaces.

However, this bristle type is rather fragile and the brushes don’t tend to last very long.


This is a special type of bristle that has a flagged tip for a much more even spread of paint. Unlike other brushes, the hog bristle brush is designed to spread paint with each stroke of the brush, not simply when it comes into contact with the surface.

Synthetic blend

Oil-based and water-based paints require different types of brushes. However, a synthetic blend brush is designed to offer total flexibility, though it most suitable for acrylic paints.

Achieving a professional-looking paint finish can take time and some investment in the right equipment, but the results can add value to a property.


If you have any paint left over from a home decorating project, do not be tempted to put it in your domestic waste. London SE1 estate agent Garret Whitelock, says government waste regulations prevent firms dealing with waste from accepting paint pots that still contain product.

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