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Old 01-16-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


Folks, What is the difference between oil and water primer and how do you choose when to use which?

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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Folks, What is the difference between oil and water primer and how do you choose when to use which?
In overly simplified terms, one is an oil carrier while the other is a water carrier.

Your choice of what kind of primer to use (there are more choices than just oil or latex) really depends entirely on what you need it to do.


So... What do you need it to do?

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Old 01-16-2012, 09:31 PM   #3
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


What you need to know and think about is has to do with the film you plan to leave behind.

Think about water and oil solvents as only the suspension for the film for a second. And think about everything you remember from junior high chemistry class. Oil and water do not mix well. Except in lava lamps made here in Chicago.

You can try to put an "oil" finish over latex but I promise it will not work. You can put latex or acrylic over oil and it might work. What you need is an equalizing film.

Alkyd. Or as mentioned and if you can afford them, some of the new primer film surfaces.

Alkyd used to be suspended only in stinky oil solvents. You can know get it in latex (soap and water cleanup products).

Last edited by user1007; 01-16-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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Folks, What is the difference between oil and water primer and how do you choose when to use which?
The good dr has a very good question. What are you doing?
I have been using oil based primer on plywood projects where I don't want the wood grain telegraphing through to the top coat. Water based primers seem to raise the grain enough it takes two or three coats of primer with sanding in between to achieve what I want where I can get the same effect with one coat of primer and a light sanding.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:38 PM   #5
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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And think about everything you remember from junior high chemistry class.
That would be absolutely nothing except that a cute girl sat across the table from me...
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:45 PM   #6
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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The good dr has a very good question. What are you doing?
I have been using oil based primer on plywood projects where I don't want the wood grain telegraphing through to the top coat. Water based primers seem to raise the grain enough it takes two or three coats of primer with sanding in between to achieve what I want where I can get the same effect with one coat of primer and a light sanding.
Great point but what are you doing? Seal the wood before priming if your concern is "telegraphing" wood grain to the surface. In all my years I have never found a need to apply more than one coat of primer.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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Great point but what are you doing? Seal the wood before priming if your concern is "telegraphing" wood grain to the surface. In all my years I have never found a need to apply more than one coat of primer.
Could be that great plywood I've been getting from Home Depot, my local "real" lumber yard is even worse, construction grade stuff only. A heavier primer like Gripper may work better, haven't tried that yet but Cover Stain has been working well for me lately. I guess that's technically an Alkyd but it is oil borne.
I suppose I could use a sanding sealer, never really thought about that because primer is cheaper.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:17 PM   #8
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


I have two things I want to paint
1) Drywall
2) unfinished cabinets
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:21 PM   #9
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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I have two things I want to paint
1) Drywall
2) unfinished cabinets
Prime your drywall with Latex. The unfinished cabinets will do better with an oil based primer.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:51 PM   #10
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Oil vs. Water Based Primer


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Prime your drywall with Latex. The unfinished cabinets will do better with an oil based primer.
Best primer for raw wood in oil in my experience is BM's Enamel Underbody. Sands up like a dream.
Best Waterborne for me on raw is Zin's Primecoat2. Also sands up nice.
Only at HD I think.

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