PRO PICKS: 6 pros share their favorite brushes and rollers
You know having the right paint for the job is essential and that your prep work is critical. But application tools matter too. Your brushes and rollers help you produce beautiful work and can impact the time you spend on a project. So we asked six pros about their favorites.
JOSH QUINN, Quinn’s Painting (570) 730-9669
As the owner of Quinn’s Painting in northeastern PA, Josh Quinn has one favorite line of brushes for most jobs—Purdy Chinex brushes, which are designed for use with oil-based paints, solid stains, and textured paints and compounds, as well as water-based primers/sealers and urethanes. He and his team like the Dale and Glide brushes for trim and the Swan for walls.
“It seems like they maintain their sharp edge a lot longer than other brushes,” he says. “Some brushes fan out after four or five washes, but these last us up to six to eight months.” When it’s time for a roller, he likes the Whizz Maximus Polyamide roller cover (1/2″ nap for walls, 3/4″ nap for ceilings). “The Whizz is similar to the Purdy Colossus,” he notes. “It’s something you can use two to three times then get rid of it—and it’s not going to cost you a lot of money. I’m pretty pro-Purdy, but these are just as good as Purdy. And every dollar matters.”
ADAM PHILHOWER, Paris Painting / Paris-Painting.com
In painting for more than 20 years, Adam Philhower, lead painter for Paris Painting in Minneapolis, tackles mostly residential work with a smattering of commercial jobs. His favorite brushes for both interior and exterior projects are the Purdy Pro-Extra brush line. “They clean up well, and the bristles don’t get short fast,” he says. “I like to have a brush that holds a lot of paint, but I also like to have a good point on it. These really hold a lot of paint, and you can cut nice lines with them too.”
He also likes a Purdy Chinex brush, particularly for interior enamels. “It holds a lot more paint, but it doesn’t drip all over the place,” he says. “And it doesn’t leave a lot of brush marks.”
Currently, he uses Purdy Ultra Finish roller covers, which, he says have a nice nap and leave a beautiful smooth finish. “I like that you can take one out of the bag and start rolling,” he says. “It holds a lot of paint, yet releases it really well. And they clean up really well too.”
KATHY BOYD, KB Designs / KBDesigns.biz
The owner of KB Designs in Duluth, MN and founder of the inspirational ArtFusion Event and Faux Retreat, Kathy Boyd loves the way Zibra brushes fit in her hand.
“They’re great,” she says. “I find they have a smooth application, and they hold paint very well.” Her favorite is the 2″ Chiseled Wedge, but the Square and Triangle brushes have a place in her collection as well for detail and touch-up work. “No other brushes have the angles Zibra does,” she adds.
Boyd, who specializes in decorative finishes and restoration work, has used her Zibra brushes with an array of materials including acrylics, chalk paints and metallics.
You can also find her painting with Earth Tones brushes (a Sherwin-Williams brand), which are made from recyclable and renewable materials.
And when a roller is called for, you can bet on Boyd using her Shur-Line Twist-N-Reach Extendable Roller Frame, which lets her navigate spaces with ease.
ROGER COULTER, RWC Painting & Decorating / RWC-Interiors.com
Owner of RWC Painting & Decorating outside of Chicago, Roger Coulter says the Proform Picasso 2-1/2″ Oval Angled brush is his team’s go-to.
“What we like about it is how much paint it picks up and releases and how sharp of a line it cuts,” he says. “They last about five to eight jobs, but the efficiency pays for the replacement of those brushes. We’ve been using that brush type for three years, and we’ve experienced dramatic productivity increases.” Other brushes, he says, might last longer, but don’t retain the pickup and release.
His favorite roller cover is the ArroWorthy Microfiber with a 9/16″ nap.
The walls he works with tend to have a smooth finish. “So, we can’t have any shedding,” he says. “There’s no lint off those roller covers, plus they have extremely great paint pickup and absorption, and they release a lot of paint.”
RYAN MOORE, Moore Painting & Pressure Washing / MoorePaintingandPressureWashing.com
Moore Painting & Pressure Washing has served homeowners throughout central Mississippi since 1976. In 2008, Ryan Moore took over the family business from his dad. Both father and son, he says, are Purdy fans.
For walls and trim, he likes Purdy’s 3″ Nylox Sprig brush. “If you’re doing trim, a stiff brush will leave build-up,” he says. “The Purdy is so soft it conforms to the profiles of the trim and lays down really nicely.”
Ceilings, Moore says, call for the company’s Clearcut Elite Angular Pip brush. “It holds a lot of paint, and it’s maneuverable.”
And on exterior projects, he turns to their Clearcut Elite Swan, a stiffer brush that Moore says holds a lot of paint.
When choosing rollers, he opts for Purdy Colossus roller covers (size and nap will depend on the job and substrate). Why the Colossus? “They last,” he says.
SHAWN DESKINS, Deskins Painting Service (843) 990-2157
The owner of Deskins Painting Service near Charleston, SC, Shawn Deskins has two go-to brushes for all of his jobs. He likes Purdy Clearcut Elite brushes for their durability, and for higher-end projects, he turns to the Wooster ALPHA, a synthetic-blend brush. “It holds more paint, goes on smooth, and cleans up well,” he says.
His favorite roller cover, which works for most jobs, is the Purdy White Dove. “It’s easy to clean up, holds a lot of paint, and the paint rolls on really easy,” he says. “And the finish is almost as nice as with a microfiber roller—but it’s a lot less expensive.”
ZIBRA BRUSHES: SHAPED FOR SUCCESS
Since painting surfaces come in many shapes—flat walls, narrow window grids, spindles, moldings, etc.—doesn’t it make sense for brushes to come in different shapes, too?
That’s what the good folks at Zibra were thinking when they designed this line of detail brushes in five unique shapes. Here’s what each does best:
Fan brush: the tapered bristles hug the unique shapes, sizes and crevices of contemporary moldings
Round brush: perfect for spindles and cylindrical ornate surfaces
Triangle brush: designed for corners, it’s also a great go-to for cutting in around trim and ceilings
Square brush: ideal for narrow surfaces like windows, window grids, and ledges
Half-round brush: holds enough paint to unload at the right spots; its shape provides multiple options for coverage and touch-ups