Your guide to paintbrushes

Paintbrush with Blue Paint --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When it comes to redecorating your home, choosing the correct paintbrush is more important than choosing the paint colour.

Paintbrushes come with bristles made from either natural or synthetic material. Brushes with bristles made from natural materials usually use either hog or badger’s hair, which should only be used to apply oil-based paints.

However, the more expensive paintbrushes also use camel or sable hair and are most often used by professional painters and decorators.

Instead of spreading the paint on the surface, brushes made with natural materials actually paint the oil-based colour onto your surface.

Synthetic brushes, on the other hand, are made from nylon and polyester and are a lot rougher than natural brushes. This is why they are most commonly used to apply water-based paints.

Six types of paintbrush.

  1. Polyester

The fibres in brushes with bristles made from polyester are very rough, which explains why they tend to leave marks and lines. Although polyester brushes are inexpensive to buy, they can be difficult to clean and tend to lose their shape quicker than brushes made with natural materials.


2. Hog bristle

This type of brush has flagged tips which allow the paint to spread evenly. These brushes are designed to apply the paint when you stroke it and not with the first contact.

3. Nylon

This brush is suitable for rough surfaces but doesn’t have a long lifespan.

  1. Synthetic blend

Although this is designed to be used with acrylic paint, it has the flexibility to apply both water-based and oil-based paints.

5. Angled

This type of paintbrush works best when decorating around windows and other harder to reach areas of a property.

6. Radiator

The long handle of this brush allows you to paint even the most hard-to-reach parts of a room.

How to choose the perfect paintbrush

Brushes with tapered (or flagged) ends spread the paint more evenly and precisely.

To test the quality of a brush, try to take out a few bristles. If they come out before you dip it in paint, they will surely come out when you start decorating.

Also remember that brushes with soft bristles will apply the colour much more smoothly.

And don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest brush possible. If you want a nicely done paint job you have to buy high-quality tools.

How to clean your brushes

Always clean a paintbrush immediately after using it. Wash brushes used to apply oil-based paints with proper detergent, while the best cleaning solution for brushes used with water-based paints is water and soap.

For the best results, you can buy a paint comb that gets out all of the excess paint left in the brush.

No matter what surface you decide to paint, brushes are crucial in the final result. If you’re uncertain about which brush you should buy, you can ask the shop assistant at your local store.

This article was written with the kind help of Handyman Battersea.