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Old 12-07-2009, 10:22 AM   #1
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


I can no longer get the old style alkyd primers in my state. Only the low VOC stuff. Even some of the brands and product lines that carry the same old names and labels are actually re-formulated and are not the same as the original.

I have found problems with the new low VOC primers that I have tried flowing and leveling. The brush marks never seem to lay down, and the paint doesn't seem to flow onto the surface as much as just sit atop it.

I have given Kilz Original (no longer the same as the "original" Kilz Original) and Zinsser Cover Stain each a pretty thorough try. I have used various brushes ranging from top of the line china bristle to synthetic bristle, to toss away foam brushes. I have tried applying the paint thin and tipping it off quickly (drys too fast that way) or laying it on thick (easier to keep a wet edge, but still the brush strokes don't lay down.)

I have mixed small batches with various additives including mineral spirits (the new low VOC stuff which is pretty oily), Naptha, boiled linseed oil, Penetrtol, and turpintine. I was trying to find a way to extend the dry time a little and/or reduce the surface tension in the paint to get it to lay down better and to wet out better.

So far turps is the best, but it isn't all the way to where I want to go. It improves the brush stroke situation somewhat, but not completely and does nothing about the wetting out.

And when sanding the brush strokes out between coats it is easy to wind up with patches that are back to bare wood. The net result is way to labor intensive for efficient work. All that additional sanding between coats and then adding extra coats when that sanding causes break-throughs eats up a lot of time!

Here is my question to all of you: What low VOC alkyd primers (and I mean specifically the LOW VOC stuff) have you used and with what system of technique, additives and applicators, and what results are you getting?

I need a primer that will block tannin bleed through from cedar or redwood, as well as seal the wood from moisture.

And of course there is always the price thing. I don't mind paying more if I get the results I need, but many of these low VOC primers cost nearly $20/quart (yes, that is a quart, not a gallon, and we are talking primer here, not top coat) in my local supply store. At those prices I don't want to be randomly trying different products!

I am looking to get a very smooth prime coat. Dry time would be nice if it was fairly fast, but I would put up with a slow drying time for a smoother finish.

OR... I could live with a method of building up a thick layer of high build primer and then sanding that nice and smooth ONCE and ONCE ONLY before top coating.

Thanks for your input,

PeterB26

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


Scared first. $20/quart? Which state before I guess? The one I lived in for 20 years and I hope falls into the Pacific Ocean?

Confused. Is this cedar/redwood interior or exterior? Are you trying to prime with the intent of staining over it with either a semi-transparent or solid color stain (shouldn't need a primer)? Do you plan to paint (definitely need a primer for the paint to stick to)? Or are you just trying to seal and waterproof it to hault further discoloration?

The latex stain products from MAB (now a Sherwin Williams company) are rather amazing in my opinion. The solid color stain is a gift from God. I did a two tone lattice topped fence around a yard and you cannot tell it wasn't painted until you are right up on it. Did this four years ago. Touched it up over the summer where kids attacked the circular opening in one of the gates with stain leftover. Almost zilch fading! Still looks spectacular. I gave them a couple days, but the MAB store wizards matched the stain color to the two shades of gray on the early 1900 house perfectly when I did this.

Would something like it suit your purposes? MAB sells quite willingly to consumers (and will probably kick you out a discount if you ask for it unless SW has handcuffed them where you are) but its main business is serving contractors. I have both Sherwin Williams and an MAB store here so I don't think about it but SW is beyond foolish if they did not fold the stain formulas into their product line somehow. I haven't thought to check.

I don't use Zinsser or ever Kilz (except for the spray cans in a pinch) so cannot help you there. MAB sells Superbond, a latex primer that will stick to just about anything. It goes on nicely and surfaces beautifully but it is sticky and thick so you don't want to overwork it. See your Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams store. Both sell a decent latex "enamel" underlay primer that isn't bad.

You are not skimping on using a decent brush just because it is primer are you?

Us purists still think alkyds or other oil/solvent based products are best for new wood but the World is soon going to change our traditions. Thanks for bringing up the future all of us face.


Last edited by user1007; 12-07-2009 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:59 PM   #3
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID=199

works well.

Shincbends
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


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Originally Posted by shincbends View Post
Is the Smart Prime available anywhere?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:36 AM   #5
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


Quote:
Scared first. $20/quart? Which state before I guess? The one I lived in for 20 years and I hope falls into the Pacific Ocean?
Nope. I'm on the other coast in a small sea side town where the local hardware store is infamous for doubling the prices on everything. I can access material from other sources, but it takes some planning and travel, so once again, it doesn't lend itself to random trial and error.

Quote:
Is this cedar/redwood interior or exterior? Are you trying to prime with the intent of staining over it with either a semi-transparent or solid color stain (shouldn't need a primer)? Do you plan to paint (definitely need a primer for the paint to stick to)? Or are you just trying to seal and waterproof it to hault further discoloration?
The cedar and redwood is exterior trim that will be painted. But it is imperitive to seal the wood, particularly some pine stuff like window sash and doors, against moisture intrusion. I have serious moisture intrusion problems because as I said I live in a sea side town. Because of this I have been using alkyd primers under acrylic top coats. In the past I have tried water based primers and found them to be too pourous to moisture, but that was a few years back so advances may have been made.

Quote:
You are not skimping on using a decent brush just because it is primer are you?
Nope. I started out with a top quality synthetic bristle brush that I used to favor for my old style primers and top coats. That didn't work out too well so I went to a very expensive china bristle, but that was no better. I tried a semi-cheap nylon blend bristle brush hoping because of its softness it might not leave as many brush marks, but the results of using a cheap brush are predictable enough. In desperation I tried a foam brush figuring no bristles maybe equals no brush marks.

Believe it or not the cheap foam brush works the best so far, but it takes a different technique to deliver the primer to the work surface than a regular brush. To begin with I add a little turps to the paint. I dip the foamie into the paint, and then I sort of mush it out along a short section of the work piece to sqeeze the paint out of the sponge. Next I spread the paint out using cris-cross strokes paying close attention to getting an even thinkness and no care at all to neat brush strokes or direction. Finally I tip it off with a touch so light it barely touches the paint. Doing this I get a reasonable film tickness and instead of leaving brush marks I get a kind of fine grain to the surface. I can overcoat that without sanding to build up a couple of coats.

The current alkyd primer formulations don't sem to wet out as well as the old stuff and one aspect of this is that the regular brushes I have tried won't pick up or hold the paint when you want them to, but the sponge brush will do so quite readily. Because of that you have to be careful not to pick up most of the coat you just applied as you tip off.

But it isn't a great system. It is smelly with the turps, and painting with a foam brush.... well... you know...


I have to look around for a MAB store. I don't recall ever seeing that line of paints or stains.

EDIT: I just found out they are a regional manufacturer of coatings around the Philly area. I don't think I can get it easily where I am, but I will keep looking.


Shincbends:
I'll have to look for the Zinsser Smart Prime. If I can get a little of it I'll give it a try, but I am skeptical about a water based primer giving me the moisture sealing properties I require. What are your specific experiences with it in that regard? Have you used it in exterior applications subjected to tough wet weather conditions? How long have you been using it?

In the meantime I'd love to hear from others how they are are making out with the new low VOC alkyd primers. What problems are you having? What tips and techniques can you share? What products do you like or dislike?

Thanks

PeterB26

Last edited by PeterB26; 12-08-2009 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


MAB is an old East Coast paint manufacturer.

The solid color stain is wonderful stuff.

http://www.mabpaints.com/products/products.asp?id=266

As you can see from the link, Sherwin Williams is starting to rebrand the company. It owns MAB.

If you do not have an MAB paint store near, march in to the SW store nearest you and demand a bucket of color matched, solid color, water-based, 100 percent acrylic MAB stain and I bet the place will find away to get it to you within a few days.

You cannot suck VOC's out of any solvent based alkyd primer unless you totally destroy the properties you loved of it in the first place. You can flower it up and make it smell pretty though. I love odorless mineral spirits for example.

Last edited by user1007; 12-08-2009 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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Low VOC alkyd primer system recommendations?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterB26 View Post
Nope. I'm on the other coast in a small sea side town where the local hardware store is infamous for doubling the prices on everything. I can access material from other sources, but it takes some planning and travel, so once again, it doesn't lend itself to random trial and error.



The cedar and redwood is exterior trim that will be painted. But it is imperitive to seal the wood, particularly some pine stuff like window sash and doors, against moisture intrusion. I have serious moisture intrusion problems because as I said I live in a sea side town. Because of this I have been using alkyd primers under acrylic top coats. In the past I have tried water based primers and found them to be too pourous to moisture, but that was a few years back so advances may have been made.



Nope. I started out with a top quality synthetic bristle brush that I used to favor for my old style primers and top coats. That didn't work out too well so I went to a very expensive china bristle, but that was no better. I tried a semi-cheap nylon blend bristle brush hoping because of its softness it might not leave as many brush marks, but the results of using a cheap brush are predictable enough. In desperation I tried a foam brush figuring no bristles maybe equals no brush marks.

Believe it or not the cheap foam brush works the best so far, but it takes a different technique to deliver the primer to the work surface than a regular brush. To begin with I add a little turps to the paint. I dip the foamie into the paint, and then I sort of mush it out along a short section of the work piece to sqeeze the paint out of the sponge. Next I spread the paint out using cris-cross strokes paying close attention to getting an even thinkness and no care at all to neat brush strokes or direction. Finally I tip it off with a touch so light it barely touches the paint. Doing this I get a reasonable film tickness and instead of leaving brush marks I get a kind of fine grain to the surface. I can overcoat that without sanding to build up a couple of coats.

The current alkyd primer formulations don't sem to wet out as well as the old stuff and one aspect of this is that the regular brushes I have tried won't pick up or hold the paint when you want them to, but the sponge brush will do so quite readily. Because of that you have to be careful not to pick up most of the coat you just applied as you tip off.

But it isn't a great system. It is smelly with the turps, and painting with a foam brush.... well... you know...


I have to look around for a MAB store. I don't recall ever seeing that line of paints or stains.

EDIT: I just found out they are a regional manufacturer of coatings around the Philly area. I don't think I can get it easily where I am, but I will keep looking.


Shincbends:
I'll have to look for the Zinsser Smart Prime. If I can get a little of it I'll give it a try, but I am skeptical about a water based primer giving me the moisture sealing properties I require. What are your specific experiences with it in that regard? Have you used it in exterior applications subjected to tough wet weather conditions? How long have you been using it?

In the meantime I'd love to hear from others how they are are making out with the new low VOC alkyd primers. What problems are you having? What tips and techniques can you share? What products do you like or dislike?

Thanks

PeterB26
They all suck, which has made me turn to acrylic primers. There are plenty of them to choose from, and they do work.

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