4 Tips for Maintaining Your Paintbrushes and Rollers
Save money and indicate professionalism by caring for your painting tools with these insights from a painting professional.
Sponsored by Benjamin Moore
Throughout my career as a residential painting contractor, I’ve worked with many professionals and have seen a variety of tricks and techniques for ensuring the longevity of our tools. It’s important to care for your paintbrush and roller after every use to both save money on your materials and to demonstrate professionalism with your clients.
1. Use a brush cover
One thing that’s universal is that every paintbrush must have a cover, otherwise you might as well call it a dust brush. The cover essentially helps maintain the form of the bristles; without it, the shape falls apart. Amateurs often discard the cover. Professionals, on the other hand, not only keep it, but will tape it back together when it wears out and do whatever they can to keep it on the brushes when not in use.
2. Clean your brush
There are many ways to clean a brush. Although techniques vary, one of the most basic practices is to rinse the brush thoroughly until the water runs clear. If paint residue is left in the brush, it will harden. Don’t be afraid to use of a stiff wire brush for a more aggressive approach to remove dried paint and clean deep into the bristles.
Another simple step in the cleaning process is to spin your brush. Whether you’re spinning it between your hands, using a brush spinner, or simply hitting the handle of the brush on your shoe, all these methods release excess water and paint residue out of the bristles. Getting this extra material loose from your tool will keep it fresh and ready for its next use.
3. Avoid drying out brushes
The last tip that I seldom see done but can be very helpful is to protect the brush from drying out in the sun. In my opinion, whenever a brush is not in active use it should be left in the bucket of paint and covered with a damp rag to prevent the brush from prematurely drying out. This simple step will keep the brush softer and make cleaning it much easier.
4. Preserve your roller
Much like caring for your brush, your roller will perform better if cared for also. The number one mistake I see with rollers is when painters push too hard and squeeze all the paint out of them. Once the roller nap is compacted, it’s hard to bring it back to shape and this drastically reduces the performance of the roller.
Both brushes and paint rollers are used daily on a job site, but sometimes painters want to avoid cleaning out the roller since they will use it the next day at the same site. While there are a number of correct ways to preserve a roller, I typically prefer to remove the roller cover from the roller, wrap it thoroughly in plastic, tape the edges, and label it. The roller cover can actually last for many days if preserved in this way. Having said that, you can also just cover a tray with the roller in it with plastic and carefully tape it. This can be good enough to get you through one evening, but if you’re looking for a longer-lasting solution, take the extra time to preserve it by wrapping the roller cover individually.