The secret to a finish that's free of lap and brush marks is mixing a paint extender (also called a paint conditioner), such as Floetrol, into the paint. This does two things. First, it slows down the paint drying time, giving you a longer window to overlap just-painted areas without getting ugly lap marks that happen when you paint over dried paint and darken the color. Second, paint extender levels out the paint so brush strokes are virtually eliminated (or at least much less obvious). Pros use extenders when painting drywall, woodwork, cabinets and doors. Manufacturer's directions tell you how much extender to add per gallon of paint.
Ideally, you want as much paint on the brush as you can control without making drips or blobs. To do this, Doherty dips his brush about 1 1/2 inches into the paint, then taps (not wipes) each side of the brush against the side of the can. Tapping knocks off the drips and forces the paint into the bristles. "The brush releases the paint just like a fountain pen," he says. Weeks agrees, saying, "Just be sure to keep your brush moving, or it'll start to drip." For more delicate work, such as when you're painting trim or window sash, you'll want less paint on the brush. Doherty again dips and taps his brush, but this time he also scrapes the sides against his can. "The outside bristles are drier and easier to manage," he says, "but there's still plenty of paint on the brush."
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Most pros don't bother cleaning brushes and rollers if they are going to use them the next day on the same job. "Latex paint dries slowly in cold temperatures," says Maceyunas. For two-day jobs, he wraps the rollers and brushes in plastic grocery bags and sticks them in the refrigerator. "Just allow the roller to return to room temperature before reusing it," he says. Roller covers are almost impossible to clean thoroughly. Most pros buy new covers for each job.