Choosing and Maintaining Paintbrushes
City: State:

HOW TO CHOOSE AND MAINTAIN A PAINTBRUSH

The right brush and the right care for that brush can make the difference between success and a life-long distaste for painting.

1. Brush Styles - There are generally three styles of paint brushes.
a. Wall Brushes - Thicker, shorter handles with longer bristles to apply paint to large areas.
b. Sash Brushes - Narrow, long, thin handles with trimmed bristles for painting window trim or detail work. They can be angled or straight cut.
c. Specialty - Art, radiator, round, etc. For the myriad of different applications.

2. Parts of a Paintbrush - The standard paintbrush is made up of the following parts:
a. Bristles - Either synthetic or natural for different applications, held together with an epoxy or "setting compound". The "butt" end is the part nearest the ferrule, the "tip" end is the part that touches the painting surface.
b. Handle - Usually made of wood or plastic, comes in a variety of different designs for different painting situations, Proform is the only patented ergonomic handle in the industry.
c. Ferrule - The metal piece that holds the bristles to the handle, can also include a "metal insert" that helps stabilize the ferrule, and can be made of copper, stainless steel or tin plated steel.
d. Plug - The wooden or cardboard piece in the bristles that acts as a divider and creates a reservoir for the liquid, they also hold the bristles correctly in the ferrule.
e. Keepers - The protective wrapper that shapes or "keeps" the bristles in their correct shape.

3. Bristle Selection - Bristles come in a variety of materials and shapes for different applications.
a. Natural - Best suited for any petroleum based products.
b. Synthetic - work best for either water or petroleum based products.
c. Flagging - This is the process of conditioning the ends of the synthetic bristle (natural bristle does this naturally) so that it resembles "split ends". This allows the bristle to pick up and lay down the paint in a more even and uniform manner.
d. Tipping - This is the process of grinding the bristle to a fine point using abrasive grinding wheels. This allows the brush not to "dump" paint and leave fewer brush marks.
e. Tapered - The bristle is "thicker" at the butt end and thinner at the "tip" end. This allows paint to release from the bristle in a more uniform manner. Also, the pressure at the tip end is less so there are less noticeable bristle marks in the paint.
f. Level - The bristle is the same thickness the entire length. Level bristles "dump" paint as opposed to the "releasing" tapered bristles afford.
g. Solid - Solid bristles are the highest quality and are the most durable.
h. Hollow - Hollow bristles are lighter than solid and are much more inclined to break or bend.
i. Flex - This is the ability of the bristles to return to their original shape after being forced into tight areas or corners. This attribute determines the performance of the brush as it applies to particular jobs. At times less flex is required (open areas) as opposed to times when more flex is needed (window trim, etc.).

4. Maintenance - Immediately after use, rinse brush in solvent or paint thinner for oil base, water for latex, or alcohol for shellac. Do not soak for extended periods. Clean the bristles occasionally to prevent unwanted buildup. Polyester bristles tend to bond to latex paint much easier than does nylon. This warrants additional cleaning with soap and warm water. A painter's comb can be used to spread the bristles during cleaning.

5. Technique - Of course, practice is the best teacher. Proform brushes can be held in many different ways to enhance paint application with the least amount of stress and discomfort to the wrist and forearm. Please review the following holding positions.