Painting is the quickest way to give a room a fresh new look. It is also quite possibly the easiest do-it-yourself project. Most people will spend hours poring over colors, finally choosing the paint, and then just throwing the cheapest paint brushes or rollers in the cart on their way out of the paint section.
This is a big mistake. The results you get from a high-quality paint brush will always be much better than with the "whatever's on sale" brush or rollers.
A quality paint brush holds more paint, gives you more control and provides a smoother finish. It also covers more with fewer brush strokes, which saves you time.
Here's what you need to consider when buying paint brushes.
Balance You want paint brushes that have balance. It should feel comfortable in your hand and be easy to control.
Bristle density Paint is held in the space between the bristles, so the more bristles a brush has, the more paint it will hold. A cheaper paint brush won't hold much paint and smears the paint rather than flowing the paint onto the surface.
Bristle flagging Take a look at a good brush and you'll notice that the bristles have split ends. This is called flagging and helps to provide finer and smoother application.
Bristle type The type of paint you're using determines what bristle you should choose. Use hog hair or China bristle for oil-based paints. However, you can't use hog hair when using water-based paints because the bristles absorb water. Some synthetic brushes use a combination of polyester and nylon – polyester provides stiffness and nylon is soft for a smooth application.
Ferrule The ferrule holds the bristles against the handle and are commonly metal. A high-quality brush will have either a stainless steel or other rust-proof ferrule. Cheaper brushes use lower quality metals and are subject to rusting.
Size Surface area determines what type of brush you use. Wide surfaces warrant a 3 - 4" brush. When trimming around doors, you will want a smaller 1½ - 2" brush.
Taper A good brush is thicker at the bottom and narrower at the top. The tapered shape makes the brush stiffer and gives you more control. A cheaper brush has bristles all the same length.