Laying-Off Brushes: Techniques and Uses

There are times when the textures of an applied paint will disappear as the paint dries and levels into itself. This primarily depends upon the finish, but there is a technique to help...

 

A Look at Laying Off Paint

When applying oil-based paints, varnishes and any material that will exhibit a sheen, there is often a notable difference between where the mixture was applied with a roller and where it was subsequently "cut in" around areas such as door frames, window sashes or immediately below a ceiling line. There are also times when the stipple from a roller provides an unwanted affect upon a surface (such as direct-to-metal paint when coating an exterior door).

"Laying off" wet paint involves using gentle strokes to redistribute the paint in a more uniform fashion. From cross hatching to vertical and horizontal variants, the direction is up to the desires of the painter. Still, the ultimate goal is to "feather" the paint so that no visible marks remain when it dries. Please note that this same technique can be used to directly apply paint to a surface as opposed to removing roller marks. An approach known as "dry brushing" is used when paint is already on a wall while a loaded laying-off brush is employed when a fresh coat is required and a roller is not recommended.

Why Choose a Quality Brush?

Laying-off brushes such as the Prestige Pure Synthetic laying off brush manufactured by Hamilton offer a thinner bundle of synthetic bristles alongside finely-tipped ends that are less likely to bunch up during the laying-off process. This allows for a more even coat and less chances of individual brush strokes. Those who are looking for a one-off finish free from all textures and patterns will therefore choose this variety.

To get the best out of the laying off brush, remember it is designed specifically for laying off and not for application, so avoid loading the brush. Another tip is to keep a small amount of water in a paint kettle nearby and wet the tips of the brush every so often during use. Not only will this improve the flow over the paint, and ultimately the finish, it will prevent paint drying in the stock.


Laying off takes practice and a bit of effort. Still, using the correct tools and techniques are both sure-fire ways to make certain that the ultimate finish is flawless and seamlessly stunning. 

 

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