In selecting a brush you should choose one that is wide enough to cover the area in a reasonable amount of time. If you are painting large areas such as exterior walls, you will want a large wide brush—probably 4 to 5 inches in width. If you are painting windows or trim, you will want a narrower brush (probably 1 to 1 ½ inches wide) so that you can handle comparatively narrow surfaces.
The bristles should be reasonably long and thick so that they will hold a good load of paint. They should be flexible so that you can stroke evenly and smoothly. Generally speaking, a medium-priced brush is the best investment if you paint only occasionally.
If you are using a gallon of paint, transfer it to a larger container or pour about half into another container. It will be easier to handle and there will be room for the brush. Dip your brush to about a third of the length of the bristles. Tap off excess paint on the inside of the can; do not scrape the brush across the rim.
Paint should be brushed up and down, then across for even distribution. On a rough surface, especially, it is wise to vary the direction of the strokes so that the paint will penetrate thoroughly. On wood siding, however, the finishing strokes should follow the wood grain.
The brush should be held at a slight angle when applying the paint; and the pressure should be moderate and even. Excessive pressure or “stuffing” the brush into corners and cracks may damage the bristles. Use long, sweeping, arm strokes, keeping an even pressure on the brush. Apply both sides of each brushful. End each stroke with a light, lifting motion.
Always work toward the “wet edge” of the previously painted area, making sure not to try to cover too much surface with each brushload. When you finish an area, go over it with light, quick strokes to smooth brush marks and to recoat any thin spots.
A good brush is an expensive tool, and it pays to invest the necessary time and effort to take care of it properly. Clean brushes immediately after use with a thinner or special brush cleaner recommended by your paint or hardware dealer. Use turpentine or mineral spirits to remove oil-base paints, enamels, and varnish. Remove latex paints promptly form brushes with soap and water. If paint is allowed to dry on a brush, a paint remover or brush-cleaning solvent will be used.