How to select, clean, and store a paintbrush?

A good quality brush makes the paint goon smoothly with less effort. Examine the bristles closely. They should be “flagged,” or finely split at the ends to carry more paint.

When you brush the bristles against your hand, they should be springy and elastic. When pressed down, they should fan slightly without separating into clumps.

Hit the brush against your hand and fan the bristles to see if any are loose. Tug on them to see if they come out easily. The bristles can be either natural or synthetic for a solvent-thinned paint, such as alkyd. For water-based latex paint, use synthetic; latex swells natural bristles.

A brush should suit the job. For rough masonry surfaces, pick a 4- to 6-inch brush with special durable bristles. For clapboard and interiors, choose a 3- or 4-inch brush. On trim, use a 1- to 2 V2-inch sash brush, de-pending on the trim’s width. An angled sash brush makes it easier to do hard-to-reach trim, and a round sash brush is useful on narrow, curved surfaces such as railings and pipes. A chisel-cut varnish and enamel brush helps you paint furniture and fine trim smoothly without lap marks.

Clean a brush thoroughly before storing it. To remove latex, lay the brush on newspapers and squeeze out the paint with a scraper. Then immerse the brush in warm water and detergent. Knead the bristles, working the paint out all the way to the heel of the handle. Rinse the brash in clear water and shake out the excess.

To remove a solvent-thinned paint, squeeze out the excess paint. Then, wearing rubber gloves, immerse the bristles in the recommended solvent and knead them. When the solvent is totally discolored, repeat the procedure with fresh solvent. Wash synthetic bristles in warm water and detergent; then rinse and shake. Clean natural bristles with solvent again.

To store a brush, first dry it; then wrap it in foil or he paper to help it retain its shape. For overnight, when you’ll paint again the next day. drill a hole at the handle’s base. Then slip a wire rod through the hole and rest it on top of a can with the brush suspended in solvent-or water for latex.