Techniques > Systems > Finishes > NPS Preservation Brief 28 Painting Historic Interiors >

Applying Interior Paints




Because flat wall surfaces generally dominate an interior painting job, some flexibility in applicators is suggested below:


Natural bristle brushes now have competition from synthetic brushes made of nylon or polyester which work well for applying either oil/alkyd or latex paints. Being harder than natural bristles, they tend to last longer. Since brushes come in a wide and very specific variety of types suited to different types of work, it is important to have a painter who will use the appropriate brush for the paint selected and for each portion of the job.

One strong advantage of brushing paint on is that the paint is forced onto the surface and into all of its imperfections. Thus a good brushedon paint job may last longer if the substrate is sound and the primer and finish coats are compatible and of top quality.


There is no harm in using a roller, or even an airless sprayer, to apply a prime coat to a large flat area. Since all contemporary commercial paints dry with a smooth surface anyway, use of a roller or sprayer is acceptable for priming, and even for a first finish coat.

However, to get paint well pushed into articulated surfaces and to add some texture to larger flat surfaces, a brush is best.

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