We Like to Inform Our Clients

I have done a lot of online research over the years about some of the details and instructions for interior house painting. I'm putting it out there that a lot of the information that one would find on the Internet is just plain wrong.

This Painting Blog tries to help provide better painting information so hopefully it will be useful for both homeowners and other painting contractors alike.

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What is the Best Roller Cover to Use?

There are many different tools and methodologies available when it comes to applying paint. The most common tools include brushes, rollers, and sprayers. In some cases foam pads, rags, and sea sponges can be utilized for specialty applications such as faux painting. Paint rollers are the most distinguishable because of their relative ease of use for even non-professional painters. If operated properly, these rollers can produce an excellent finish for most large flat surfaces, such as drywall. Though a sprayer can deliver the most superior paint finish, often times it is not practical for small confined areas, or spaces that are occupied.

Professional paint results are produced by professional painters who employ the correct type of tools and materials for a particular project. That being said, people with limited painting experience frequently use the wrong type of roller cover and don’t know how to use it correctly. Most interior projects that we deal with have some type of issue with the paint finish that was the result of a Handyman or someone using the wrong roller cover for the paint type. We fix those problems that include roller mark lines and stripes, paint splotches, areas that were missed, and lint that was left behind after using a cheap roller cover.

Similar to choosing the right brush, selecting the correct type of paint roller makes all the difference in the finished result. Not only that, a high quality paint roller cover that is best suited for the job will reduce the actual time spent painting a specified area. Many Independent Paint Dealers like Benjamin Moore sell very high quality paint tools and materials. The cost is significantly higher in a lot of cases, however, your walls will look so much better and you will save yourself a lot of extra time in the application process and clean-up. Inexpensive discount packs of roller covers are generally not good and should be avoided.

There are a couple of things to consider when deciding upon the right type of roller cover that should be used for application. Determining the paint type and the surface that to which it will be applied are essential prior to deciding upon which type of roller cover to utilize. Differences in roller covers vary by size of the roller cover, its composition, and the length of the fibers otherwise known as the nap size. There are different roller covers designed for every type of application. Any experienced paint applicator should assess the project and closely analyze the substrate to ascertain the correct type of materials and tools to be used for the job.

Often times the big Home Stores will feature some roller covers that have packaging that indicate that they can be used with all paints, this is not necessarily accurate. That is like saying a separate prime application isn’t necessary because the paint is labeled “paint and primer in one”. We consider these gimmicks as more of a clever tactic to increase awareness amongst average Homeowners and drive more purchases for these products. They are indeed much less expensive than real quality roller covers. However, for professional results we recommend choosing a roller cover that is specifically designed for your application.

Roller covers that are made from synthetic nylon or polyester fibers are adequate for most latex paint applications. These synthetic roller covers are made with different blends of nylon, polyester, acrylic, and rayon composites. They would also suffice for most finishes as well, including flat, eggshell, and satin based finishes. If you prefer more professional-quality results, then a natural woven roller type cover would be recommended. Natural roller fabric such as lambs-wool have excellent capacity and provide a better finish than any other type of roller cover, and most museum quality painters in Washington DC use them on a daily basis.

An assessment of the surface that is going to be painted, as well as its size, should indicate the best nap length that would be the most practical for the job. The objective should be to select a roller cover that will hold as much paint as possible, provide average stipple, and release it onto the wall with minimal splattering. Most drywall surfaces, paneling, and metal would call for a short nap from 1/8” to 3/16”. For previously painted drywall surfaces, a nap from 3/8” to 5/16” would be most appropriate. The slightly longer nap will absorb more paint and yield minimal stipple. 1- ½” covers are best suited for heavily textured surfaces and concrete block.

As a leading paint application provider in the greater Washington DC area, we are constantly testing and evaluating newer types of natural and synthetic fibers used in roller covers in order to produce optimum painting results for our Customers. Needless to say, the natural fiber lambs-wool roller cover have continuously exceeded our expectations in terms of producing a faster, cleaner, and more efficient way to produce paint applications. With the new advanced coating materials that have appeared on the market, it is important for us to use the right tools and equipment to continue to deliver museum quality work.

Selecting the correct Paint Brush

It can be interesting to see Homeowners who are pressed to purchased the best quality paint yet compromise the job by trying to save a money on paint brushes. The right brush will save time and and money because it will carry more paint and enable the Painter to have better control. A better brush will also provide a smoother finish with less visible brush strokes. Not only that, you're far less likely to see those annoying brush hairs dried into the paint. One should expect to pay at least $15 for a decent 2 1/2-inch trim brush. If the brush is properly cleaned and cared for, it will last you for future projects.

Another common mistake that some people make is to use the wrong type of brush. The best brush for modern latex-based paints is one made with synthetic bristles that are usually comprised of polyester or nylon. China bristle brushes, should only be used with oil based paint. If China Bristle brushes are used with latex based paints the fibers will actually absorb water and cause the bristles to loose their correct shape.

Synthetic Bristle Brushes are made with nylon bristles that are soft or polyester material that is not soft. Softer bristles provide a smoother finish, while stiffer bristles can provide better control. The best trim brushes for general uses are typically made with nylon and poly blends and have good flexibility. If you're painting with a high quality product like Sherwin Williams Aura, it is best to choose a brush with an tighter flex. This will bring excellent control, even in hot or humid conditions. For thinner type of paint, such as, semi gloss or high gloss trim paints, many professionals like Davinci's Painters in Reston Virginia use ester fiber brushes that are specialized. These brushes leave an excellent finish without brush marks.

That being said, there are some things to consider when choosing a paint brush. A good indicator of quality is flagging, or the split ends that you can sometimes see at the ends of the bristles. Synthetic bristles need flagging to leave behind a smooth finish.  The best idea is to avoid painting brushes that are susceptible to flagging. Compare bristle density. Paint is held in place by the space between the bristles, so the more bristles a brush has, the more paint it will hold. This is often the choice for Painting Professionals because there is less loading paint on the brush. Good brushes are also tapered. The bristles of less expensive brushes are all the same length. Tapering the bristles so that the brush is thicker toward the ferrule which is the metal ring that holds the bristles against the handle. This makes the brush more rigid and provides better control over the application.

Handle shape is a matter of personal preference. Many Painters in Northern VA prefer a beveled profile rather than one that is straight. The best advice for Homeowners is to find a brush that feels comfortable in your hand and that provides good control. 3" width brushes are good for cutting in ceilings and walls which are usually flat surfaces. However when painting trim surfaces like windows, it would be better to use a 2" angled paint brush. In fact, 2" angled sash brushes are probably the most popular brush because they're comfortable to use and can also be used for cutting.

There are a few simple tests that people can perform to check the quality of a paint brush. If some brisles pull out of the handle easily, that would be a good indication that it not a quality brush. You may not select the perfect brush at the start, and you certainly won't find one in any type of bargain priced packs, but it is wise to remember, that the brush tool that you will be working with is the most important factor that provides the look of your job. Buying the right tools will always render a superior finish.