There are basically two different types of brushes, although either can come in any number of styles. Natural bristle brushes are for use exclusively with alkyd (* AL-kid) paints, while artificial bristle brushes are designed for use with latex paints. If you plan to do a lot of painting and are willing to take the time to clean it properly after each use, a top-quality brush will last you for years. If you only paint occasionally, an inexpensive brush may be a better buy. Make sure the ferrule (*FAIR-rule), the metal band that holds the bristles to the handle, is tightly fitted. Aside from the types of bristles, brushes are designed for specific uses. Get a four-inch brush for walls, a two-inch sash brush, and a two-inch sash-trim brush for starters. The sash-trim brush will have its bristles set at a slant, for reaching into corners. Brushes are meant for painting trim or around the edges of a wall. For large, flat areas, you'll want a roller. Find one that fits your hand and replace roller covers, depending on the job. Roller covers with a long nap are ideal for rough-textured surfaces. Short naps will apply paint more smoothly to smooth surfaces. For really big jobs, consider buying or renting a power painter that pumps paint directly to the roller. There are also a number of specialty products for applying paint. A paint mitt consists of a plastic glove covered with a paint-holding nap. It's ideal for painting pipes and other round surfaces. Paint pads are versatile choices for occasional paint jobs and touch-ups. If you're planning a really big job, like painting the exterior of your home, consider renting an airless spray gun to make the task go more quickly.
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