Are you planning to renovate the trim and baseboards around your home? It’s a rewarding DIY project that brightens up the room, improving the aesthetics.
You need the right tools to help you get the best results possible with your painting project.
This post unpacks the best paint brushes for trim. We’ll also give you a handy buyer’s guide to help you choose the right brush for your painting requirements and your budget.
This post will cover the best type of paint brush for trim, how to paint trim without brush marks, and if you should use a brush or roller for trim.
Top 6 best paint brushes for trim (windows, doors, + baseboards)
Best paint brush for trim and baseboards
The Wooster Shortcut is our top choice for your trimming paintbrush. This model gives the best results for cutting in on your trim, with a sash brush tip featuring a gold nylon and polyester blend bristle construction for working with latex and water-based paints.
The Wooster features a brass ferrule and a unique “Shergrip” handle that flexes in your grip for an ergonomic fit and total control over the brush. The 2” width of the brush is ideal for working in corners and tight spaces, with the thin bristle profile following your lead for accurate linework on primed and unprimed trim.
Best paint brush for interior trim
This 3” sash paintbrush from Purdy is another great choice for cutting in and covering larger stretches of trim. You get superior coverage with high levels of accuracy in your linework. The bristles feature construction with Tynex Nylon and Orel polyester materials, suitable for use with latex and oil-based paints.
This Purdy model comes with a long hardwood handle with fluted edges for ultimate control in various grip positions. This brush offers excellent glide with a pointed, angular sash tip for precision line work.
Best paintbrush for doors
Doors are large surfaces. You need a brush offering you the best coverage possible while minimizing streaking and dripping. The Magimate 8” wide paintbrush is the ideal choice for painting doors around the home. This model incorporates the use of two 4” brushes in a side-by-side setup for a total of 8” of coverage.
This model also includes an ergonomic plastic handle for better grip and control of the brush while painting. This paintbrush comes with a natural bristle construction, allowing for the use of oil-based paints, with easy cleaning.
Best trim brush for latex paint
This Purdy paintbrush is a great choice for painting longer, flatter sections of trim. The 3” width of the brush gives you good coverage, while the synthetic Nylon fibers and angular tip design provide better accuracy in corners and along wall edges.
The beavertail hardwood handle fits well in the hands, with a stainless steel ferrule for corrosion resistance when cleaning. This brush is a good choice for semi-gloss and high-gloss latex paints, giving you the custom Purdy “satin-edge” finish.
Best paintbrush for window trim
This Elegance paintbrush is our top choice for finishing the window trim around the sills and on door frames. The tin ¾” tip allows for the ultimate in precision line work. It’s the ideal brush for cutting in around window and door corners, providing you with an exceptional finish.
This brush comes with polyester bristles for use with water-based and latex paints, and you get an ergonomic soft-grip handle for total control over the brush. This brush offers you excellent paint pick-up without any dripping, running, or streaking.
Best Purdy brush for cabinets
We recommend going with this Purdy Clearcut Series brush for painting trim overhead. This model comes with an extended hardwood handle with fluted edges for better grip in your hands.
The bristles feature construction with Purdy’s Tynex Nylon and Orel Polyester blend, and it works best with latex primers and paints.
The Clearcut series provides precision line work and cutting in, offering you an even spread of paint across the 1.5” flat angular tip. This model comes with a stainless steel ferrule for corrosion resistance and long service life.
What type of paintbrush for trim?
Before you start your painting project, you’re going to need to have the right tools and preparation for the task. This guide looks at everything you need in the right paintbrush for trim.
Look for paintbrushes with unfinished hardwood handles. These models give you the best grip and control over the brush.
A short handle is optimal, allowing for precision work in tight spaces. Some handles come with a flexible design for better grip and enhanced comfort when painting, like the Wooster Shortcut trim paintbrush.
Using an angled bristle design is the best choice for painting on trim. The angle of the bristles lets you draw a straighter line with each stroke. The bristles follow each other in an in-line format, making it easy to create precision linework.
Paintbrushes come with natural or synthetic bristle fibers. For natural options, manufacturers use hog or badger hair for the bristles. Synthetic bristles feature materials like polyester, nylon, or a combination of these materials.
Typically, natural bristles are better for painting with oil-based paints, while synthetic bristles suit latex and water-based paints.
When selecting the ideal brush size for your painting project, we recommend going with a 2″ brush. The 2″ size is a good choice for the best control over precision work like cutting in. The 2″ size gives you more control on trim, reducing streaking, drips, and mess.
You have three options for your trim paintbrush. Each of the three designs caters to a specific function when painting your trim, offering different levels of coverage and precision. Here are the three types of paint brushes suitable for working on your trim.
A square-cut flat brush is a standard feature for painting walls and large, flat surfaces on trim. It offers you the best coverage and comes in widths from two to four inches. Look for models with flagged bristles that are split and tapered, then arranged in varying lengths, forming a slimline tip to the brush.
The angle sash is the ideal brush for cutting in on trim. This brush is anywhere from 2″ to 2.5″ in width, with a slim tip and tin profile. The bottom edge of the brush comes with a tapered design, with the bristles decreasing in length from one side of the ferrule to the other.
The round sash comes in smaller sizes ranging from 20mm to 40mm. These brushes are the ideal choice for decorative finishing, with the circular arrangement of the bristles being a good choice for creating 3D painting effects on the trim.
The equipment you use for painting trim plays a significant role in the final finish of the job. Unfortunately, not all paintbrushes are created equal, and some brands offer better products than others. When we paint trim or any room in the home, we rely on Wooster and Purdy paint brushes and rollers for the task.
Purdy has a long history as one of the leading paint brush manufacturers in the USA. The company has an 85-year legacy of handcrafting paintbrushes, producing some of the best models available. Every Purdy brush comes “signed” by the persona manufacturing it for an authentic and handcrafted feel.
Established in 1852, Wooster is our top choice for the best paintbrush brand on the market. The company remains at the forefront of paintbrush development, introducing useful features like its flex-grip handle. Wooster is also the inventor of the angled sash brush, a must-have tool for painting trim.
How to paint trim without brush marks
Adding a coat of paint to the walls and trim can brighten any room. When painting your home, every homeowner wants the job to look flawless. However, the reality is that painting is hard work, and there’s plenty of room for error.
It’s challenging to get the walls looking right, but the roller takes care of most of the effort. However, it’s a different story altogether when it comes to painting or cutting in on the trim.
Painting trim is challenging, and it’s easy to lose your concentration and mess up your work. Using high-quality paint and the right paintbrush goes a long way to creating a professional finish on the trim. The last thing you need is brush strokes showing after it dries.
This brief guide to painting trim gives you some pointers for a masterful finish to the job.
Clean the surface
Your painting job needs to start with preparing the surface for paint. Paint won’t stick to dirty trim, so you’ll need to give it a good once-over with a light detergent and water, using a soft cloth. You also have the option of sanding down the trim to restore its original luster.
Use long, smooth strokes
Your painting technique defines the final finish of the trim. When painting, it’s advisable to use long, gentle strokes for the entire length of your reach. Long strokes prevent streaking and dripping while giving the painted trim a professional look.
Some people like the look of brush strokes in the trim, claiming it gives character to the room. Other homeowners prefer a clean finish with a smooth surface. When “cutting in” to the trim, hold your breath or exhale with each stroke. For cutting in on textured walls, vibrate your wrist a little to work the bristles into the crevices and gaps in the wall.
Use less paint
When you’re dipping the brush into the paint tray, only dip the first inch of the bristles. Get a little paint on the brush as you can, and work methodically for the best results. Dipping the tip of the brush into the paint prevents the saturation of the bristles all the way to the ferrule.
This approach to painting not only saves you paint but also prevents dripping from the brush when working overhead. When it comes time to clean up, it’s easier to clean your brush, and there’s less waste.
Sand the trim
Before you start with painting, sand the trim. Sanding allows the paint to stick to the trim better, and it also smooths down any imperfections in new trim. If you’re sanding old trim, use the opportunity to fill in any cracks and fix damage before applying paint or primer.
For sanding, we recommend going with 100-grit to 120-grit sanding paper. Using orbital or belt sanders to help you with the task speeds things along. The belt sander is a good choice for flat trimming, while the orbital is best for rounded trim.
Using a primer before applying the first coat gives you the best finish with the job. It’s unnecessary to use primer, but you’ll get better results and longer service life if you do. Primer fills in the cracks and covers up any filler putty on the trim.
Adding a coat of primer may increase the work and cost associated with the job, but it’s worth the money. The paint sticks better to the primer, and you don’t need to remove the baseboards to paint the trim.
Grip the brush properly
When painting trim, grip the brush firmly between your forefinger and thumb, cradling it in your hand like you would a pen or pencil. Lead with your forefinger on the brush’s thin end (spine), not the thicker flat end.
The thinner edge of the brush gives you greater control and precision painting on the edges of the trim, with fewer streaks. Place three fingers on the flat side of the brush for better control when edging. Choosing a trim brush with a flexible “Shergrip” handle, like the Wooster, allows for accurate and precise painting of your trim.
Painting trim requires the right paintbrush and experience. Using the best tools for the job gives you the best chance of creating a professional-looking finish to your trim. Choose your preferred paintbrushes for trim from our top models, and you’re trim will look fantastic after you finish painting.