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How to Avoid Brush Strokes

Updated February 21, 2017

Visible brush strokes can ruin an otherwise perfect paint job. These strokes make the surfaces of painted walls and objects appear messy and unprofessional. There are several reasons for the appearance of brush strokes. Paint thickness, brush quality or length, and painting technique are a few of the most common problems. To avoid brush strokes on a dried finished surface, you should know which products to use, how to properly prepare the surface and how to apply the paint.

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  1. Sand any brush strokes in an old layer of paint if you are painting over a previously painted surface. Use an orbital sander with 120-grit sand paper to save time, or use a sanding block if you do not have an orbital sander.

  2. Brush the sanding dust from the surface with a dry scrub brush. This will help with paint adherence.

  3. Choose a professional grade brush made of material that is recommended for your chosen type of paint. If you are using oil paint, choose a China bristle brush; if you are using latex paint, use a polyester brush. Choose a brush with bristles at least 2 inches long, as shorter bristles cause brush strokes because of the shorter length of each stroke.

  4. Add a flow extender paint additive to the paint according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will leave a more even layer of paint with a decreased chance of leaving brush strokes.

  5. Lay the object flat before painting if possible. Walls and other permanent structures cannot be moved, of course, but doors and furniture should be laid flat for painting.

  6. Dip the brush into the paint to cover only 1/3 of the bristle length. Brush the paint over the surface in horizontal strokes, allowing only the paint-dipped section of the bristles to touch the surface.

  7. Smooth over long horizontal brush strokes with short wispy strokes, lifting the brush at the end of each stroke. This will help to eliminate marks at the end of strokes. Work quickly when smoothing out strokes, as brush strokes become permanent once the paint has dried.

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Things You'll Need

  • Orbital sander
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Dry scrub brush
  • China bristle or polyester brush
  • Flow extender paint additive

About the Author

Ashley Kurz

Ashley Kurz, a full-time professional writer since 2009, publishes on various informational websites. An expert in the craft field specializing in craft-related topics, Kurz has taught arts and crafts for group therapy sessions.

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