This Old House Paint Expert Panel includes Scott Burt

Pros’ Tips for Cleaning and Storing Paint Tools

Scott was honored in August 2015 to be asked by This Old House editor Elizabeth Lilly to be an expert contributor to an article Elizabeth was working on for TOH.

Here is an excerpt:

Cleaning after a project

“Always clean your brushes and rollers immediately after your painting project is completed,” advises Henrique. If you treat your paintbrushes right, they shouldn’t be too difficult to clean, says Scott Burt, painting contractor and president of Vermont-based Topcoat Finishes. First, you must remove all excess paint from the brush, roller, paint tray, or roller frame. For paint trays, Burt recommends using the heavy plastic kind, brushing excess paint back into the can, and letting the final layer of paint dry instead of rinsing out.

Where you wash your tools with water may differ, given your septic system or municipality’s restrictions. “Many municipalities are okay with waterborne paint waste, water coming off brushes and going down drains during cleaning, because it heads straight to a treatment center with all the other waste water,” says Burt. However, he warns against this if you’re on a private or shared septic system. He and his team prefer to clean brushes in a bucket and finish with a clean-water rinse before shaking them out.

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