Why Spend $20 on a Paint Brush?

Why On Earth Would You Spend $20 on a Paint Brush?

You wouldn’t if you don’t care about brush marks or how long it takes to finish the job.

Quality brushes are made with tapered bristles (called filaments by brush makers) that are tipped (further narrowed at the end) and flagged (sliced at the end) so that the brush holds more paint and releases it without brush marks. The best brushes have varying filament lengths and tapers to give the brush some stiffness, but still allow it to bend gradually for better control and smooth paint release. This requires that the filaments be tipped and flagged prior to assembly, which makes assembling the brush much more difficult.

What’s the best brush? It depends what you’re painting. Many brushes say they work with all paints, but that’s just not true. For oil based paints, varnishes and polyurethanes a natural bristle works best. Generally, the white china bristle is what most experts use, but you can find camel hair and even sable if cost is no object. The softer the bristle the smoother the finish.

For water based products a synthetic bristle is usually best. In hot, humid climates a nylon blend usually holds up best. If you’ve every had your brush wilt like a piece of overcooked spaghetti you were using the wrong brush.

We stock a variety of quality brushes from Purdy and Wooster.

…Of course, if you just want to slop on some paint we also have brushes for 75¢


What Makes a Good Paint

All paint sold in the the US is supposed to have a MSDS sheet available which lists many (but not all) of the major ingredients in the can.

The best pigment is titanium oxide (dioxide), but this ingredient is relatively expensive. Lower quality paints will add fillers like Kaoline (a type of clay ) or even silica (a form of sand). Kaoline is a good ‘hider” which makes the paint cover well, but it can give the paint a grey cast that makes bright colors impossible. Silica provides hide and makes the coating tough, but again gives the paint a grey cast.

The best paint resin for general use is Acrylic, but just because the can says 100% acrylic resin doesn’t mean that the manufacturer hasn’t added “extenders” like styrene or vinyl. Besides being cheaper, these additives can can shorten the life of the paint and cause unpredictable reactions with other products like primers or later coats of paint.

There are no secrets in paint. All the manufacturers know what every other maker puts in the can. All the major manufacturers make great paint, not-so great paint, and everything in between. The major difference is how much is spent on advertising. If the money is spent on the advertising, it’s not in the can. 

Be wary of what you may find online, I constantly see comments from “pros” that are complete nonsense and appear to have been put there by friends of the manufacturer. Consumer reports has annual reviews of paint and is an objective reviewer, unfortunately the range of products tested is limited.

After working with several manufacturers, we have settled with Richard's Paint. Although not so much of a household name as the big box store brands, they consistently rank at the top of the consumer reports. They are a family owned and operated business with several generations of Richards working in the industry that know what it takes to produce a paint for our environment.

A properly done paint job should last for many years. Skimping on the paint, the last and least expensive part of the project, will only hasten the day when it all needs to be done again.

Titanium OxideTitanium Oxide