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Pro Tips for How to Use a Paint Brush Extender

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Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.

A paint brush extender makes cutting-in less labor intensive.

A paint brush extender makes cutting-in less labor intensive.

Tips for Using a Paint Brush Extension Tool

Cutting-in high ceiling corners from a ladder over stairs is impossible without a ladder leveler tool, but if you're uncomfortable working from an extension ladder to begin with, a paint brush extender is a good alternative. These tools are versatile in various situations when painting hard-to-reach places is dangerously challenging.

The paint brush extension tool that I've used for several years is a simple brush holder with wing nuts, allowing for precise angle adjustment. There are specialty paint brush poles you can buy, 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, 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 paint brush you're using to cut in plays a role in the quality of your lines. Those throw-away brushes at the hardware store might be cheap, but they won't give you nice neat lines like a professional paint brush will.

Most of the brushes I use are Purdy brand. In particular, I use the angled Purdy Clear Cut brush to cut-in all of my ceiling corners. This brush cuts really nice lines, with some skill of course. 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 more messy than if you were using your hand up close. Paint tends to drip from 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 paint brush on a pole, most brush extender tools screw onto the end of an extension pole. I recommend using a quality paint brush extension pole by a good brand like Purdy, or Wooster. The internal locks break sooner on cheap poles.

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.

Cheap paint usually drips more easily, and these paints are often harder to brush too because the paint is too thick and doesn't flow well from the brush.

tips-for-using-a-paint-brush-extender

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 useless in corners where brush work is needed for color separation. If the walls and ceiling are both being painted the same color, filling the corners with a paint brush extension tool is faster than using the roller. The corners will also look smoother.

What's the Best Paint Brush Extender Tool?

The Shur-Line paint brush extender is the one I've used throughout my painting career. I've had the same one in my tool bag for several years. The paint brush is inserted down in between two metal holders that keep the brush in place. Forcing the brush handle into this tool is actually a little difficult, but I've never had my brush fall out of the holder during use.

There are two angle adjustments, using wing nut screws. My recommendation is to use a wrench to tighten these screws otherwise they tend to come loose occasionally. You can get the perfect angle for cutting-in, using this tool.

There are also flexible extenders too, which are basically paint brushes with bendable handles that screw onto a pole, but you can't change the brush when it goes bad because the brush is part of the tool.

© 2018 Matt G.