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Old 11-07-2011, 02:26 PM   #1
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Dulling semi-gloss oil base BEFORE using it

I know this sounds rather odd....dulling semi gloss oil base paint 'before' painting with it but hear me out...

My local paint store still has oil base paint, in quarts, available and I use this for kitchen, bathroom, and wood trim throughout. Sooner or later I know it will definitely be unavailable but until then, I'm going for it. Problem is that it is only available as semi-gloss.

I used some of it in a bathroom and it is a bit too glossy. Will it tone down as it cures? The bathroom will need another coat (had not been painted in over 15 years) so I'm wondering if there is a way tone down the gloss in the next can or two BEFORE I paint the next coat? Will mixing in some thinner 'de-gloss' it a little? Any suggestions are appreciated? Thanks!!!


Last edited by sierra1194; 11-07-2011 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:47 PM   #2
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Hiya Sierra,

In a way, it's kind of refreshing to hear that someone actually prefers an oil-based product over the easier-to-use latexes...and there are still scenarios where oils out-perform latex coatings. Personally, I wouldn't use it, or recommend it, in a bathroom (especially one with shower), but for trim, walls in need of extreme washability, or areas subjected to moderate abrasion or scuffing, it's an excellent choice....

Now to answer your question. Yes, the sheen of an oil based product will "tone down" over the next few weeks after application, but only enough that some of the harsh glare may disappear, but it'll still be a semi-gloss. Adding thinner to an oil based paint really won't result in a lesser sheen and may actually make the finish appear a little shinier due to the coatings ability to flow to a smoother finish with the addition of thinner. You may be able to find a paint company that still offers packaged flatting agents, but be careful with those - they will soften the finish beyond what you might wish for. Typically in years past, manufacturers made a flat enamel (oil) that was really closer to an eggshell finish, but good luck finding any of that in California. I also wouldn't mix different brands of oils (with different sheens) to try and accomplish a more satin finish. There are just too many variations of alkyds and their new solvent structures to suggest that different brands would be compatible.

For your next job, if you want to stay with a low-sheen oil (alkyd), you may want to look at your dealer's rust-inhibiting line of alkyds. Most manufacturers make at least a white in a satin version and these product will work fine on interior walls and trim, although you may be a little limited in color selection.

Good luck, I wish there were a better solution for you.


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Old 11-07-2011, 10:40 PM   #3
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I'm pretty certain you can get flatting oils. My BM guy told me he can order it, and sometimes has it in stock. Where to find it, I'm not sure. I've asked because flat oils, while still made, are unavailable in my region. You might find a home remedy solution online. Good Luck.
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #4
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Since California is doing its best to eliminate the use of oil base....

I figure I probably wouldn't have much luck locally trying to find a 'flattener' either, and if I did locate some, I might get mixed results... Oh well, maybe it will tone itself down a little as 'ric knows paints' says. If not, we can live with it.

The old oil base paint held up well through all these years - it just got a little darker as it aged. This bathroom has a tub which is rarely used so I'm not too concerned my daughter will steam up this room plus it has a 2 x 3 foot louver window with privacy glass directly over the tub for ventilation. I'm looking forward to another 15 plus years with this fresh coating oil base paint in this lighter color. The old popular color was Navajo White.

BTW: Does oil base paint hold up very well if I buy some to keep around for touch up?

Thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions and information.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:32 PM   #5
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Another issue with oils is that they will amber over time, sometimes quickly. To answer your question- it keeps for a very long time- often forms a skin in the can, but get that out and mix the paint below. The downside is that touch-ups won't match even out of the same can after a year, sometimes less.
"It's better to come here with questions before you screw up than to come here after and ask how to fix them."- JS
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