How to Paint Without Brush Marks

Ever wonder just how to paint a smooth surface without leaving brush marks? You see all these items in your house that are painted with a brush, such as cabinets, furniture, railings, trim, baseboards, and other woodwork, yet you don’t see brush marks when a professional does it.

What’s their secret?

When you do it, after everything dries, you see a line-up of deep canyons left behind by the brush. They show your every move, each bristle and strand of brush marks going where you went with your brush. Let’s take a look at how to avoid brush marks and also see if you can fix brush marks that are already there.

No More Brush Marks

The main reason you get paintbrush marks in the first place is because the paint hasn’t flowed out completely before it’s dried. So, the first tip in avoiding paintbrush lines is to buy slow-drying paint. This is usually higher quality paint that is labeled to take up to 24-hours to dry. Use this type, but be careful not to bump the paint while it’s drying since you may be used to faster drying times.

A second trick to help you avoid those unwanted brush marks is to always paint on a horizontal plane if possible. In other words, take down doors or paint trim before installing. This wil allow you to lie them flat and paint on top of them, so paint can flow evenly as it dries.

Another tip that you may already know (but need to do!) is to paint with the grain on wood surfaces. Go in the same direction as the grain so that any brush strokes that do end up showing, will not be as noticeable.

Next, realize that just about every paint job, done well, will need at least two coats. That means, don’t try to lather and soak it on in one coat. Just make sure to cover the surface area with a good amount of paint evenly. Let it dry, and then come back and apply the second coat.

Finally, always (a big always!) buy a quality paintbrush. You’ll know it’s good because it’ll be a little more expensive than others. With proper paintbrush cleaning and care, you’ll have your brush for a long time. Bristles and hairs on these brushes will be of varying lengths and have a “slit-end” look at the ends of them instead of coming to a small point. This “messy” end lets paint clump more there, giving you a smoother application as paint glides on.

Now, if for any reason you didn’t end up with a really smooth surface and the paint has already dried, you can carefully sand down the fine grooves and ridges left by a brush with a fine, 120-grit type sandpaper. Go over with a lint-free damp cloth to clean and try painting again.

There you have it, a few basic how-tos on avoiding paintbrush marks.

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