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Old 01-03-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


Hi,

I've built some bookshelves for the living room. I've painted trim before, and I like the way latex is so easy to use and clean up and I've had really good luck with it on trim.

However, I've read that oil based paint is more durable for projects that will receive some wear and tear. I also read that my books might stick to the latex even after the paint has cured.

The other item to point out is that we installed the beadboard before the shelves (this project has been on hold for a while). I believe that the beadboard was primed with latex primer a year ago. The shelves have a thinned coat of oil based paint on them already. The paint was so tacky that I had to thin it out (painting in colder weather). So the paint really looks like a white wash and the grain is still visable through the initial coat.

I finished facing the shelves and am now ready to wood putty the facing (not painted) and sand it.

I suppose at this point I must continue with the oil paint, since it has a thin layer on it already... Any tips for working with oil based paint, or would it hurt to rough it up really good and start over with some type of latex... Are any latexes durable enough for shelving?

Also, I want this to end up as a flat finish, not satin. The base coat of oil paint is gloss, and I have a gallon of the satin, but I don't want any sheen at all? Steel wool the entire shelves after I'm done? I've never built anything this big before and I think this is the hard part : (
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:32 PM   #2
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


I'd go with an INTERIOR oil based primer and an oil based paint.

Whether or not a latex paint would remain slightly sticky after the paint dries depends on the latex paint you buy. Generally that's only a problem with inexpensive latex paints.

Oil based paints DO stand up better on working surfaces, such as shelves, floors, window sills, tables and desks, etc.

Oil based paints that have had some polyurethane added to them provide for a still harder surface, and that means they stand up better to wear and tear. Benjamin Moore and Para paints both make a "Melamine" paint which is an oil based paint that has some polyurethane in it to give it additional hardness. The tint base for Benjamin Moore is 303-90. Phone any Benjamin Moore dealer in your area and find out whether or not 303-90 comes in a flat.

You'd also do well to add some Penetrol to your paint. Penetrol should be available in any paint store or home center paint department. It's called a "paint conditioner" but it slows down the drying time of the paint, and that helps the paint self level better, and that helps eliminate brush strokes.

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Old 01-03-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


Thanks so much! The local big box said that oil paint (at least what they carry) only comes in semi gloss and gloss. Is that the case for all oil paint? If so, how to get this to end up as a flat finish?

Thanks for the tips on what type of paint.
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:29 PM   #4
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


Just go somewhere else to buy your paint. Oil based paint comes in every gloss that latex does.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:25 AM   #5
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


The local big box said that oil paint (at least what they carry) only comes in semi gloss and gloss.

As Nestor said, go to a "real " paint store for advise.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:04 AM   #6
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


I've painted the bookshelves in my office with latex and they have been fine. No sticking, no real wear or problems at all. Truth is, once the shelves are full, they don't get a lot of action the way a dinning room table might and the only time I had trouble with the finish is when I had part with a heavy TV on it. That marred the paint a bit when I moved it because it was just too heavy to lift properly so I dragged it off. What you do have to ensure is you give that paint proper cure time so it's nice and hard when you put heavier objects on it or they will stick.

If you wanted to use a latex, just get a primer like Zinnser which will cover oil no problem and is very durable. I love that primer. It sticks to just about anything.

If you want a really flat finish and are up for a lot of work, you can dull down finishes with rottenstone. It's a very fine powder you mix with a bit of water and rub over the finish to dull things down a bit without causing fine scratch marks that some steel wool can leave. If you have any memory of Joe & Ed the furniture guys that used to be on, they used it all the time because they said they used the higher gloss finishes because they were harder but they dulled them down when they wanted a different look.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:27 AM   #7
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


use enamel underbody primer. Use oil base paint. If you cannot find the low luster or less sheen it can be dulled with a deglosser. Much better than polishing (easy to control and use)
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:21 AM   #8
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


Ben Moore Dulamel Flat
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:38 AM   #9
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


I (and many here) have had great luck with the Waterbourne Enamels from Sherwin or Ben Moore (ProClassic and Impervo, respectively.) They provide an oil-like finish without the drawbacks of oil paint. Specifically, they are easier to apply, and do not yellow if not exposed to sunlight.

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Old 01-05-2009, 10:18 AM   #10
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Painting Bookshelves - what type of paint?


Thanks for all of the advice. I finished sanding the shelves last night after filling all of the nail holes. I sanded with 220 and I think they're ready for re-priming. I'm headed to the paint store (not big box store) today to get good paint. I like the thought of the waterbourne enamel as some of the oil based I applied has already yellowed and will not be the color we want. Since we're now painting inside, there's no way to get sunlight to hit them all over.

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