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Pro Tips for How to Use a Paintbrush Extender

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Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.

A paintbrush extender makes cutting-in less labor-intensive.

A paintbrush extender makes cutting-in less labor-intensive.

Tips for Using a Paintbrush Extension Tool

Cutting-in high ceiling corners from a ladder over stairs is difficult without a ladder leveler tool and an extension ladder, but if you're uncomfortable working from a big ladder to begin with, a paintbrush extender is a good alternative. These tools are very versatile and make painting hard-to-reach corners a lot easier and safer.

The paintbrush extension tool I used for several years is the brush adapter from Shur-Line. This tool allows you to use any brush you want and precisely adjust the angle by loosening and re-tightening a couple wing nut screws. There are specialty paintbrush poles you can buy too, but those are more expensive, and if you already own a painting extension pole, that's all you need to use this tool.

Using a brush extender does take a little practice to master cutting-in a neat line in corners, but once you get the hang of it, the extender really just becomes an extension of your arm. If you already have some skill with a brush, using an extender is much easier.

1. Use a Quality Paint Brush

With or without this tool, the paintbrush you're using to cut in plays a big role in the quality of your paint lines. Those throw-away brushes at the hardware store might be cheap and tempting to buy, but they won't give you nice neat lines like a professional paint brush will.

Most of the brushes I use are Purdy brand. I love the angled Purdy Clear Cut brush for cutting-in ceiling corners. With a little skill, this brush produces really nice lines. Corona and Wooster make good brushes too, but I've always used Purdy the most. These brushes last if you take care of them.

2. Cover the Floors Below

Painting corners with this tool is a little messier than if you were using your hand up close. Paint tends to drip from the brush easier, so the flooring below should always be carefully covered with drop cloths.

Don't overload the paint when lowering the brush down for a dip into the paint can. The paint will start dripping everywhere, and it will be difficult to craft a straight line at the ceiling.

3. Affix Your Paint Brush Extension Pole

To use your paintbrush on a pole, most brush extender tools screw onto the end of an extension pole. I recommend using a quality paintbrush extension pole by a good brand like Purdy or Wooster. The internal locks break sooner on cheap poles.

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Determine roughly how many feet you need to reach the corners. For stairway ceiling corners, an 8- to 10-foot extension pole should be fine, but exterior peaks and foyer ceilings will likely require an 18- to 23-foot pole to reach the top.

4. Use Premium Paint

Using lousy paint to cut-in ceiling corners with a brush extender will be harder and messier than if you were to use professional paint formulated to drip less. Yes, premium paints do drip and sprinkle less than cheap paints.

Cheap paints are often harder to brush too because the paint just doesn't flow as nicely from the bristles than premium paint.

Paintbrush extenders make it easier to paint straight lines.

Paintbrush extenders make it easier to paint straight lines.

Corner Paint Roller vs. Paint Brush Extender

A corner paint roller is supposed to make it easier and faster to paint corners than a brush, but I haven't found one yet that doesn't make a mess. Corner paint rollers often leave paint build-up and heavy texturing in corners that require more rolling or brushing to smooth out.

These rollers are also useless in corners where brushwork is needed to paint lines between colors. If the walls and ceiling are both being painted the same color, filling the corners with a paintbrush extension tool is faster and neater than using a corner roller in my experience. The corners will also look smoother.

What's the Best Paintbrush Extender Tool?

The Shur-Line paintbrush extender is good if you want the ability to use any paint brush. The paintbrush is inserted down into the adapter between two metal holders that keep the brush in place. Forcing the brush handle into this tool is a little difficult, but my brush never fell when I used it. I used this tool for many years before I made the switch to an extendable paint brush, which I actually recommend instead.

With the brush extender tool, there are wing nut screws that allow you to change the angle of your brush. If you buy this tool, my recommendation is to use a wrench to tighten these screws, otherwise, they tend to come loose occasionally. Using this tool, you can get the perfect angle for cutting-in, but again, the biggest drawback is having to re-tighten those screws.

The brush extension tool I recommend instead is the Goose Neck extendable brush. This tool is awesome because the handle bends to any angle you want instead of having to adjust screws and metal parts like the previous tool. The only downside is not having the ability to use other brushes because the brush itself is the tool and screws onto your painting pole. So unless you want to be able to use any paint brush you want, I highly recommend the Goose Neck instead of the metal paint brush extension tools.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Matt G.

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