Latex Paint On Top Of Oil-based Paint - Painting - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 07-13-2009, 08:08 PM   #1
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latex paint on top of oil-based paint

Recently I went to Kelly-Moore to buy some paint to repair a small area on my bathroom wall. The salesperson told me my paint is oil based and it contains LEAD. California is going to BAN oil-based paint in one year.

This is a big blow to me. I did not even realize what kind of paint my contractor put on my wall six years ago. It looks like the contractor painted all my bathrooms, kitchen, doors and frames with Kelly-Moore 6630 Alkyd semi-gloss enamel. I have two little kids. They were babies when we moved in six years ago. I only heard about old houses may have LEAD paint. I never expect my new paint has LEAD.

It is too hard to strip off the current paint. Now I want to cover this LEAD paint with latex water-based paint. The Kelly-Moore salesperson told me I have to use an oil-based primer Zinsser Cover-Stain to prime first. Otherwise the water-based paint will not stick on top of the oil-based paint. I was told there may be LEAD in this oil-based primer too.

What is the best way to correct this problem? Is this the only primer I can use? Any suggestion would be highly appreciated.


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Old 07-13-2009, 08:50 PM   #2
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If your bathroom was painted 6 years ago the paint used does NOT contain lead. Lead was banned in paints in 1977(or close to it).

It is very possible that oil or alkyd paint was used but it did not contain lead. The sales man was right that you may have to use a oil/alkyd based primer as a intermediate step before applying a latex top coat. Latex paints will not adhere directly to oil paint, they will peal off in short order. I would recommend using the oil primer thruout the room and then make the conversion to latex topcoat. All of the major paint stores could help you out with the proper products to buy. Don't go to a big box store.

Hope this helps some.


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Old 07-13-2009, 09:53 PM   #3
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Yup, Lead was banned: September 2, 1977

Unlikely they had any almost 25 years later
Was this a new employee - possibly thought all oil base has/had lead ?

Paint manufacturers replaced white lead with a less toxic substitute, titanium white (based on the pigment titanium dioxide)
Your paint does contain titanium dioxide
So there is this warning on the Kelly web-site:


But don't worry

Paint manufacturers replaced white lead with a less toxic substitute, titanium white (based on the pigment titanium dioxide) which was first used in paints in the 19th century. (In fact, titanium dioxide is considered safe enough to use as a food coloring and in toothpaste, and is a common ingredient in sunscreen.) The titanium white used in most paints today is often coated with silicon or aluminum oxides for better durability.
For artists, zinc white is less opaque than titanium white, and is better for misty glazes and adding aerial perspective.
Some art-supply manufacturers supply a "lead white hue," a mixture, usually of titanium and zinc white, which attempts to imitate the hue of genuine lead paint without the toxicity. It does not, however, have the desirable structural (physical) properties of lead white.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:11 PM   #4
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oil-based primer ot not?

Thanks Chazbe and Scuba_Dave for your reply. You are right. This paint does NOT have LEAD. It is titanium dioxide based. I looked through the data sheet of this paint, and also called Kelly-Moore technical Assistance. I was told that this paint does not have LEAD. Lead was banned in 1972. California is going to ban all oil based paints in 2011 not because of LEAD. The reason is that oil paint has bad odor and emission pollution.
I clearly remember the new paint odor almost made me sick six years ago and took almost one month to go away.

Back to my problem, the KM 6630 paint was banned in California for Kitchen and Bathroom use a couple of years ago for the same reason. But it was allowed six years ago. Now this paint is mainly for metal surfaces. To paint over it with latex paint, the technical support person told me just sand and clean the surface, then directly apply Kelly-Moore Dura-Poxy acrylic semi-gloss paint. This new latex paint will stay on top the oil-based paint. He said I do not need oil-based primer. Oil-based primer smells very bad too.

Was he right? Any suggestions?

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Old 07-14-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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As long as you do the sanding and cleaning you will be fine
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:51 PM   #6
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I went to Home Depot and Lowes today to find out more info. The HD sales lady told me I can use a latex primer Behr Interior Enamel Undercoater Primer& sealer No.75. It can coat oil-based paint and make latex paint stick on top. The Lowes sales lady said I'd better use an oil-based primer, latex primer would not work well. I am still confused. I think I will try to sand the wall first, then prime it with this Behr primer, then paint it with Latex paint. Hope it will work.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:10 PM   #7
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Latex primer "CAN" work, but over an oil based paint, oil based primer is a sure thing. Then you can paint over the oil based primer with whatever you wish. My best advice is to stay away from Lowes and Home Depot and go to an actual paint store.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:39 AM   #8
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Your project...

Hi Nancy!

The esteemed ChrisN has it right!

At OUR "Real" paint store, I'd be suggesting to you to do the wall sanding.
This gives the existing surface some "tooth"...meaning, new primer & paint will have a profile to grip into.

1) Sand to evenly dull the existing finish.
2) Do any wall repairs & feather-sand those.
3) Wash off ALL dust.
4) Spot-prime the repairs. Just a thin/hazy coat for now.
5) Prime the whole project.

>>> The'll be JUST FINE with a top-notch Latex stainblocker, such as Zinsser's 123, or C2-One primer (we're an ACE-Royal, Ralph-Lauren, & C2 Paints' retailer).
>>> The whole key here is to use the BEST Latex primer/stainblocker within your chosen brand.

For a consistent, even sheen...I'd re-paint the whole wall. You'll be happier with the end result.

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Old 07-15-2009, 03:35 AM   #9
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then prime it with this Behr primer,

BAD mistake.

"better to leave the walls bare than put Behr on the walls"

You would be MUCH better off listening to people here than take the advise from anyone at HD or Lowes. Do they know anything about painting? This is your home,do not trust sales people with NO experience in the industry.We are trying to be of help here.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:01 AM   #10
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As others have said sanding and using an oil primer may be a way to go but you may consider this product as well:
Hopefully you will get a response from someone that may have used this product.....we sell a lot of it and painters seem to like it.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:17 AM   #11
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I don't have a problem with Behr paint but for primer I prefer Kilz or Zinser. Definitely rough up the surface by sanding as chrisn said. This helps the primer adhere better.

As far as lead paint is concerned it was known to be in use as late as 1978. My state is requiring contractors who disturb more than 5 sqft of surface in homes 1984 or older to take the EPA lead certification course starting in 2011. Based on that I would say they think it was still in use later than 1978.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:02 AM   #12
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Hello Nancy,
I'm in the same situation you were in. I put one layer of latex based primer Behr #75 on an oil based paint (which was scuff sanded) and realized that it was an oil based surface when the latex based primer didn't coat too well. How did your project come out with the Behr #75 primer? I'm trying to decided if I should keep on priming or to sand it all off and use an oil based paint.. I would really appreciate it if you could share your results.



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