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Old 03-01-2012, 10:03 AM   #1
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I was at ACE buying Ben Moore paint when sales person asked how long ago was the walls painted. I explained to her that it was spray painted 7 years ago by the building contractor and it seemed to be a light coverage. The original walls are a off white color and the new paint is a couple of shades darker - just enough difference to see were painted. She said I might have to prime the walls first because the walls will just soak up the new paint. I've painted before and never heard of this explanation before. I figured if the walls were painted before and the color wasn't much difference I wouldn't need a primer. The paint I bought is expensive so I'm needing to know if this is true or is the sales person just trying to sell more paint? I'm using a Benjamin Moore RegalŪ Classic Premium Interior 100% Acrylic Matte finish on a previously painted satin latex wall.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:31 AM   #2
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Hi Dm, she's not totally off base with that recommendation, and it may benefit you to follow her advice. Builders tend to use low grade flats in new construction, and the product, not all but most, is basically diatomaceous earth, liken to clay or chalk, and water. They can be very absorbent. When you paint a previously painted wall, the first coat provides the base and the seal, the second coat basically is the fully sealed, fully realized finish. However, if the previous surface is absorbent enough, the first new coat will not effectively seal it and the second will be required to do that job, which leaves you without a fully realized final finish. This can result in undeveloped color, sheen, and protective quality.
I experienced this first hand years ago. I painted the entire common area of a new townhouse years ago with a medium gray eggshell. The first coat didn't look that great, at least not what I thought it should look like. The second coat was still being sucked in, the color looked weak, and the sheen was very subdued. But not knowing what I explained to you, I let it ride. The customer wasn't dissatisfied. I went back a week later to do some touch-up after he hung pictures. On the touched up areas, the color and the sheen popped, the final finish was realized. I offered to do a third coat for practically a sandwich but he declined.
I spoke to one of my trusted long term BM guys, he told me years ago that BM sent a memo out suggesting that all sales people suggest a full prime/seal coat over all builder's flats prior to finishing, for that very reason. Some contractor grades are so low grade that you will encounter this. As said, not all. I'm sure it happens more often but isn't realized by HO's and professionals alike due to a lack of knowledge.
This may not be the case for you, but it may. I would suggest that you determine if it is a problem first. Get a quart of primer/sealer, something with bonding capability to chalky surfaces (the quality of flat we're talking about will have a chalky feel after seven years). Choose an out of the way area for your test. Take a small mini roller and roll about a four square foot area of primer, let it dry. Then take a mini roller and roll out an eight foot square area with the finish, with the primered four foot area squarely in the center of the eight foot area. Do the finish twice, two coats with proper dry time between. If you can see a marked difference between the two areas, you should prime, or at least determine if it's a difference you can live with. You could always do a third coat of finish, as I suggested to my HO, but the primer will give you a much better base to work with and give you the bonding you need on what is an unstable surface. Good luck and keep us posted as to what you do.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #3
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thanks for your quick response and good advice. I'll go ahead and do this. If I find I need to put a primer on, can you advise on what primer to use? I would prefer something of good quality but as inexpensive as possible. Thanks again.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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This will work well for you. You can get a quart at Home Depot for I think about $15 or so.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:23 AM   #5
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Your paint dealer should sell Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer. This is a water-based, fast-drying primer that is easy and pleasant to use. It will seal the porosity of the wall and provide a good foundation for your finish.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:45 PM   #6
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Agree with all excellent posts. When in doubt, or always if budget permits, prime. Assuming you do not have adhesion problems you need to fix first. Zinser products are great and much cheaper than wasting finish coats of nice paint. Your real paint store will have their own primers and perhaps on sale if combined with paint purchase. I would use, for instance, Ben Moore's Fresh Start for almost anything but sealing stains.

And have the primer tinted to 40 percent or so of your chosen color formula.
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsheridan View Post
This will work well for you. You can get a quart at Home Depot for I think about $15 or so.
You shocked me Bubba. I guess I have to be more sensitive to people going for box store crap paint and primer. I haven't thought about the retail cost of paint in decades and if Zinsser 123 is up to $15/quart? Translated to $60 a gallon? I am gonna go to Russia and bring me back my own dancing BEHR. One that eats Cape May horseshoe crabs.

Had to look. I am seeing $9 or so the consistent retail price for a quart. Still shocks me. I know I climbed on you for suggesting people smuggle paints and stains into California. Who the heck cares about New Jersey though? Jersey offers but big hair and cows man. And of course the largest tire fire in global history still burns. Your former Governor was the first cabinet level EPA person. What a choice. The World is much safer for steeplechase thanks to her.

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Old 03-01-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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You do know sds that 3 qts costs more than buying a gal in just about anything, right?
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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You do know sds that 3 qts costs more than buying a gal in just about anything, right?
Think over the decades I got that. I just searched for retail quarts. Of course 4 in a gallon would not cost $60 and I think I remember in 5-ers the price goes down more? In 55 gallon drums even more?

But if I can find a quart of anything for $6 less, retail, than the quoted price of $15? Do you really want me to post gallon, 5-er and drum prices? Is somebody getting screwed somewhere, somehow, with a broomstick? You slapped my hands for suggesting where. Orange aprons on the clueless come to mind.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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I usually get my zin at the despot. (Menards, actually..) gal of 123= $22 I think- sometimes on sale for $18.
I think JS rounded up...

BTW- this is yet another great application for Gardz- particularly if going to a sheen like eggshell.
And you can ( don't tell anybody this.. its a secret..) sometimes mix the finish in to gardz to get some color...
Zinsser also has a primer called ZERO- for no voc- and really low odor (can sometimes be an issue with both 123 and Gardz) that would also work well to seal builders flat.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:24 PM   #11
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I'm back again. Rolled on the Ben Moore paint on a wall that was previously primed a week ago and next to it the existing old painted wall. Was shocked to see the paint left small bubbles on both. Did with a different roller and same thing happened. Wipped it all off. The texture of my previous wall is a french lace or knock down texture but not rough. Does anyone out there think it's the paint? I had ACE add extra color to a Base 1 paint. The sales person didn't say anything about a problem with chemicals just that she couldn't guarantee the color.

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Last edited by dmkelly; 03-01-2012 at 03:31 PM. Reason: add on
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