You can achieve a proper paint job without a brush mark with proper brush technique. The technique is the most important part, but secondary factors will affect the paint job.
We recommend getting high-quality specific brushes for paint type, high-quality paint for material, use extender additives to reduce marks. Surface preparation will also have a significant impact on the result.
How to Paint Without Brush Marks
Follow the technique and considerations stated for maximum results.
- Start applying the first coat. You can do back and forth strokes. The goal of the first coat is to get the paint on the surface. Make sure the paint levels are even throughout the surface. Do not apply pressure to the extent that fibers start to fan out.
- Opt for a short back and forth mixed in with a front stroke for textured walls. Remember to remove the excess drip layer of paint before applying each time.
- The paint should be at the tip region of the brush; it shouldn’t be dripping. Make sure it doesn’t reach the roots of the brush.
- After the whole surface is filled with paint, the tipping technique is the most important thing to do. Make sure the brush is clear from any loose paint, tip the brush at an angle roughly around 15 to 45 degrees and apply a long-sustained stroke from end to end. Tipping should only be done in one direction. We are trying to glaze the surface.
- When painting large surfaces, one important thing to remember: once a single pass of paint is done horizontally, check for the edge line of that pass. Most people create a hard line on the edge of passes, which can be seen in the final product. Always feather the borders of these passes to remove that lining. Failure to do so will create hard lines at the brush’s width.
- Leave the surface to dry once the first coat is done. Do not fix mistakes once the paint is semi-dried. Excess layers will only create blotched effects. You can Sand the area and add a fresh layer of paint later.
- Once the surface is dry, sand the surface down with sandpaper with around 220 grits. Change grit as necessary. Always go for finishing grit sandpaper. Sanding will eliminate any lumps, bumps, or excess layers blotched up.
- Remember to clean the dust with a vacuum or dust brush. Do a final sweep with a tack cloth for maximum results.
- Do a second coat with the same principle.
Light Source Affect Highlight of Strokes
- For big surface painting like walls, the light source can have a tremendous effect on the highlight of the strokes. We recommend trying this out yourself instead of taking our word for it.
- E.g., If you have a window on a sidewall and you are painting an adjacent wall, if you do long vertical strokes with the paint, you will find the strokes shining due to the light.
- In such cases, while cutting the edges, after doing the vertical strokes, you will need to feather the area out horizontally to remove the highlight of strokes so that the transition will be smooth when you apply rollers later.
- It entirely depends on your light source; you might need to do horizontal strokes with vertical feathering strokes or vice versa.
These steps are the general brushing technique. The paint result is dependent on your experience, practice, and other outside considerations stated below. Follow stated tips for maximum results.
Things to Consider
Following things will also affect the result of the paint job with stroke marks.
Do Not Skip Surface Preparation
We know what you are thinking. How is surface preparation related to brushing marks?
Brush marks are largely dependent on technique, but an improper preparation beforehand will only aggravate the issue and highlight imperfections of brush technique.
Proper surface preparation gets us a clean surface free from impurities. Its biggest advantage is that we focus on the level of the surface. Repairing crevices with fillers and sanding them down before painting will create a level surface for the job and save you hassles later. An uneven surface will also highlight the stroke marks more.
Suppose you plan to paint an already painted surface, peels of paint, cracks, holes. It is best to scrape all debris, paint peels, clean the area completely, and add fillers to the problem areas. Sanding them down will also be necessary.
If the surface has horizontal lines from previous marks, the marks will show in the new coats if you do not sand well.
Get the Right Paint Brush
The general recommendation is a natural bristled brush if you are using oil-based paint. These brushes are made up of animal hair like horse, ox, hog, etc. You might also find the brushes labeled with “made from China bristles” do not worry; China bristles are natural fibers and can be used for oil-based paint.
If it’s a latex or water-based paint, the general recommendation is to use a synthetic brush. These brushes are generally made from polyester, nylon, or a mix of the two.
Brush material will play a factor in getting satisfactory results. Synthetic ones will not absorb water and swell, but natural bristled ones absorb water and swell.
Now with new technology, we have other alternatives too. When buying any brush, you get a compatibility description. We recommend checking the compatibility of the brush with the paint you are using. We also recommend staying away from low price point brushes.
From experience, we found that the greatest disadvantage is that they seemed to shed bristled after some use. The bristled then get stuck on the surface, and then we instead must focus on getting these strands.
The most common ones are either flat or angled sash brushes in terms of shape. The difference is flat ones will hold more paint and are smooth to use. Angled sash ones give you more precision control on the strokes. Flat brushes will be fine if it’s just a flat surface, but the angled sash brushes are the go-to DIY brush for any surface.
We prefer the angled sash brush as it is wonderful to cut edges paint furniture, cabinets, paneled doors, and the precision is praiseworthy.
Spending a little on the brush will go a long way. Some popular brands are Wooster, purdy, etc.
Get High-Quality Paint
A higher shining effect in your paint creates more visibility of imperfections. If you want lower visibility of marks, we recommend matt or low sheen paints.
For Gloss, oil-based paints will be more durable. Oil-based paint also gets absorbed in the surface and creates a glass-like finish, but they have more harmful VOCs than water-based paints.
For small furniture isolated areas, we recommend oil-based paints. For Large indoor areas like walls etc., we recommend water-based.
Remember also to get paint specific to the area. E.g., the cans specify paint for walls, patios, wood surfaces, etc.
Paint Extenders Are Wonderful Cheat Codes
Ask for Paint Extender Additives for the type of paint you are using at the local hardware store. Remember, these are a wonderful help to minimize brush marks, but this doesn’t mean you can ruin the painting technique.
Check the manufacturing instructions for application and solution rate. Remember to stir the paint and additive thoroughly. If the paint is not brand new, strain the paint for clumps before mixing.
How to Get Proper Viscosity?
The general guideline is to pull the stirred paint from the bucket and allow it to drip on the bucket. The paint drip should level itself out.
What do they Do?
Paint Extender additive’s primary advantage is that they extend the drying time of the paint.
They help reduce brush and roller marks significantly and create an improved paint flow. Another bonus is that they are self-leveling. They increase the adhesion and penetration of paint.
What Extender to Get?
Paint extender additives will be differentiated according to the type of paint we can use them on. For Latex, Acrylic, or other water-based paint, the most common extender additive is Floetrol. For oil-based paints, try getting Penetrol.
There are multiple brands to select from, like Flood, M-1, XIM, General Finish. These products are easily found at local paint shops or hardware stores.
Do check the compatibility of these additives with the manufacturer before mixing and always test out an inconspicuous area before doing the whole surface.
Alternatives for Efficient Results
For big surfaces like walls, patios, etc., just using a brush is not efficient. We recommend using paint rollers. These get the job done faster and reduce stroke marks.
For household painting, we recommend combinations of roller and brush. We use a brush for creating perimeters and cutting edges and then use a roller to do a professional-looking job. Brush use is more than fine for wood cabinets staircases, but rollers will give you a spray-painted look. You can also opt for spray paint machines.
The best tool is a paint sprayer if you are doing automotive paint.