First of all, I hope I’m not getting anyone in trouble by writing this! I picked up one of ProDec’s new Ice Fusion brushes at the P&D show in November, and as they’re only just going on the market now. I worry that maybe I wasn’t supposed to have one! I enjoy the P&D show – I’m a firm believer that you should never stop learning, so I go every year to see what’s new on the market, and try to pick up some hints and tips from other pros and manufacturers.
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However, last year I was on a bit of a mission. Like them or loathe them, water-based trim paints seem to be here to stay. My attitude now is that I know what I like, but I’ll explain the pros and cons of oil vs water to the client, and if they want water-based, I’ll use it. But my question – and my mission at the P&D Show – was “What’s the best brush to use with these new paints?” Paint technology is moving on, but is brush technology keeping pace, and if so, what’s the brush that’s best suited to the modern water-based trim paints? So I spent a day talking to all the brush manufacturers, picking their brains, and trying to scrounge a few samples.
I had an interesting range of answers, and picked up three of four brushes to try out, but the one that intrigued me the most was ProDec’s new Ice Fusion brush. Partly because I’d tried the Ice Fusion roller and quite liked it (although obviously brush technology and roller technology are completely different), and partly because the guy on the stand really seemed to know his stuff and was quite happy spending a long time explaining why this new brush is different to other brushes on the market.
So I got home, and over December-January tried out my samples. The others I used once – they were fine, but nothing special or different. This one I now use every time I use water-based trim paint. It really did feel different.
So what’s so good about it? Apparently (if my memory serves me well!) it’s to do with the shape of the filaments. They’re slightly narrower at the tip and thicker near the base, tapering gradually, meaning there’s more gap between the filaments so more room for paint. OK, so it holds a lot of paint, which is a good thing, but it seems to release it really evenly.
So rather than having a lot of paint at one place and then having to work it out across the surface being painted, the ProDec Ive Fusion distributes the paint over a surprisingly large amount of skirting (for example) in one stroke. To me this is a great plus – working time with these water based paints is limited, so anything that means you can get a lot of paint spread over a big area quickly is a good thing! But that’s not all – of all the brushes I’ve used with water-based trim paints, this one leaves the fewest brush marks, which again is a big win; I may never get as good a finish as I would with oil-based, but anything that helps is a good thing!
Finally, as I was quizzing the guy on the ProDec stand I remember asking him this: if the filaments are tapered so that the brush holds more paint, surely it’s going to clog up quicker, and so gradually lose its shape and become no good? He actually said it was the opposite that was true – it releases paint better, and washes out better. I must admit I was cynical about this, but it’s true. I’ve used this brush on every water-based trim project I’ve done this year (so let’s say 6 months worth), and it’s still in great shape. Sure, water-based dries out and begins to clog during the day – so I just wash the brush out and carry on. Then wash it out again at the end of the day, and start again with it the next morning. You can see from the attached photos that it’s had a fair amount of use, but it’s still in great shape and feels like new.
I’ve got to say, like many people of my generation, I’m happier using oil-based, but if the future is water-based, then I’m a lot happier about that with this brush in my van! Seriously, I won’t use another brush for water-based trim paints now – I love this brush! Click here to see online prices.
Review of ProDec Ice Fusion Brush – by Robin Gofton
Wokingham Decorating Services
Self-employed sole trader since 2007