Types of paintbrushes

Walk into a hardware or paint store today to buy a paint brush and you could easily be overwhelmed by the number of options you have. The range in price and quality is pretty amazing, but there are a few basic choices you need to make.

The first choice is what material you want for the bristles, natural or synthetic. If you’ll be painting with water-based latex paint, choose synthetic bristles, which can hold up to water without losing their shape. For enamel, choose a brush with natural bristles. If you’re using oil-based paint, you can use either material. Remember that the softer the bristles the smoother the finish. Stiff bristles tend to leave brush strokes.

Next, decide whether you want a flat brush or an angled one. Angled brushes, also called sash brushes, let you get into small corners and create crisp, straight lines. They’re perfect for painting window sashes or trim. Flat brushes are best for larger, wide surfaces like shingles, siding, and walls.

Finally, choose the right size brush for the job. For precise jobs like window sashes and trim you’ll want a small brush, usually one or two inches. Use a larger brush, three or four inches wide, for bigger jobs.