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It's important to use the right paint brush

Walk down the paint products aisle in your local Builders Warehouse store and you will be inundated with choices for paint brushes. Not only different sized paint brushes, but specialist paint brushes and paint brushes with synthetic and natural-hair bristles.

 

The humble paint brush has morphed into the decorator's version of the artist's brush, and just like an artist would use a brush to create on canvas, so you can use a quality paint brush to transform your home. Buying a quality paint brush ensures that the valuable time you spend painting walls and trim will not be spoilt by loose bristles and rough finish. For this article we take a look at Hamilton's paint brushes - my personal choice for painting.

Does it matter what type of brush you use with any type of paint?

Generally, there are three types of paint brushes, those made of natural-hair bristles, those made with synthetic materials (usually nylon or polyester) and those made with a blend of natural hair and synthetic. Traditionally natural bristle brushes are preferred for use with solvent-based (oil- or alkyd-based) paints, especially for enamel or finish work.

Natural bristles are hollow and can absorb the water contained in a latex paint, causing them to swell and become soft and limp (similar to your own hair when it is wet). Most synthetic brushes work well with both latex and solvent-based paints, but always check the manufacturer's recommendations on the brush.

Some of the solvents used in solvent-based paints can break-down the compensation of a synthetic bristle-once again check the label. The same above rules apply to paint rollers: synthetic vs. natural (wool).

 

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Is an expensive brush really that much better than a cheap one?

High quality or more expensive brushes have distinct advantages over the cheaper ones. First of all, a high quality brush will finish the job more quickly. This is because a top-quality brush has the ability to "hold" more paint in reservoir, which means you will spend less time "painting the can" than applying the paint to the surface.

A top-quality brush will also not shed bristles like a cheaper brush, because of how firmly the bristles are seated in the ferrule (the metal band that attaches the bristles to the handle), and also determined by the material used as plugs (space plugs inside the ferrule that bond the bristles in the ferrule, add taper to the bristles, and finally create "wells" in the centre of the bristles to hold paint) in the ferrule. Also, a top-quality brush will have a tapered end, which means there are shorter bristles on the outside and longer bristles in the centre.

Tapered bristles give the painter more control over where and how much paint goes onto the surface.

How does a good quality brush benefit me and my painting project?

A quality paint brushes offers a variety of advantages: Faster overall painting with less effort - No unsightly brush streaks/striation (also dependent on the type and quality of the paint and skill of user) - Less bristle or filament shedding (Hamilton’s Perfection Ensign = Guaranteed no bristle loss) - Easier "cutting in" for those tight areas   - Outstanding finish appearance

How should I care for my brush so that it maintains its performance level use after use?

Clean immediately after use with Polycell Brush Cleaner, mineral turpentine or paint thinner if you have painted with solvent based paints (Enamel, varnish, oil) - soap and water if you have painted with water based paints (Latex, Acrylic, PVA). Use a comb to clean and straighten the bristles. Do not soak your brushes for extended periods of time. They will lose their shape if you do. If possible, store your brush by hanging it. Do not store a brush on its tips. This will curl the working tip of the brush rendering if useless