Paintbrushes are the go-to paint applicator, as they have been used for eons. They are easy to use and easy to clean (especially so with latex paint). Most jobs can be accomplished with a large brush (4”+) and a small brush (2”), making paintbrushes a good general-purpose choice for applying paint on both interior and exterior surfaces.
Paintbrushes come in a variety of sizes, styles and bristle types and each plays a part in the end result of your paint job. Small-sized brushes are ideal for working in smaller areas and for detail work, whereas large brushes are better when painting a larger surface. Use square or flat-tipped brushes for general painting projects because they can cover a large area in less time. Angular, or chiseled, brushes are ideal for cutting into corners and painting trim, molding and windows.
Paintbrushes are made with either natural bristles or synthetic bristles, and each type works better with particular paint types and on particular surfaces. Choose wisely for the project at hand. Use natural-bristle brushes with oil-based, alkyd paints, stains and varnishes. They don't work well with water-based paints because the bristles get wet the same way hair does, and so become limp and less effective. Natural-bristle brushes also don't work well on rough surfaces, which can break the bristles' flagged ends. Artificial-filament brushes, made from nylon or polyester or both, work well on rough surfaces and with any kind of paint. Nylon-filament brushes are durable and generally less expensive than natural bristle brushes. Polyester filaments are popular with do-it-yourselfers because of their low price. They retain their stiffness better than any other kind of brush. The drawback is that because they are a stiffer-type brush they have less flex and leave more brush marks on surfaces. Also, they are not as easy to clean as nylon. Nylon/polyester blends are the most popular synthetic paintbrushes since they combine the best qualities of both for great performance.