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marliz 12-10-2010 07:54 PM

Painting pine - primer?
I have been searching all day for information on paints. We just moved into a home that is just six years old but needs some sprucing up. Some jobs my husband will do. Others we will need professional help.

We ordered pine boards for shelving in my hobby room. We want to use the hardware with the rail along the top and enclose the shelves on the tops and sides to lend a semi finished look.

I started out looking for non toxic low VOC paint but got lost in a maze of side trails -- topics we will need for the other projects.

I got back on track by searching for "painting pine" and found this in a 2008 thread:

"You should be aware that Southern Yellow Pine, Cedar, Red Oak, Redwood and a few other species contain a lot of a chemical called "tannin" or "Tannic Acid", especially in the knots in the wood.
Tannin is soluble in water, so if you use a latex primer over the wood, you could see a brownish discolouration on the surface of the primer in places, especially over knots.
To avoid that potential problem, prime with an oil based primer. Tannin isn't soluble in mineral spirits."

Wish I'd read this first, we might have chosen a different wood. My main concern was avoiding prefinished wood shelves or pressed board with the infamous outgassing of toxins.

My first question is whether there is a low VOC oil based primer? And if oil based, doesn't that mean we can't use latex (low VOC) paint over it? The fumes from oil based paints always made me sick and we haven't used them for years.

If someone can suggest a primer/paint that is low VOC and will keep a nice finish, please help. If not I'll have to resign myself to the brownish discolorations.

Thanks for any help you can give. This chatroom has kept me entertained for hours!

marliz 12-10-2010 09:53 PM

Still searching. More frustration. Latex paint, I read, stays sticky and will stick to books put on the shelf.

I read somewhere else that using a latex flat paint would be better because it is the gloss part that stays sticky.

Is my only option to use the shelves unfinished?

hoz49 12-10-2010 10:26 PM

Back in the day we used Bullseye shellac to seal those knots. But it isn't exactly low VOC.

Matthewt1970 12-10-2010 10:27 PM

If it were my project I would never prime any bare wood with latex. I will typicly prime any knots with Bin (schellac based primer) as some knots will even bleed through oil based primer, and then prime it all with oil. You can put latex paint over oil based primer with no problems, just allow it to dry overnight. Once fully dry and latex semi-gloss should not be tacky an stick to your books.

marliz 12-10-2010 11:46 PM

The more I search the more confusing it all becomes. What about using plain shellac as a primer? And will it take the latex a long time to dry since we are keeping our house at 68 in the daytime and 65 at night? I'm afraid there isn't going to be a quick fix and I've got boxes and boxes to unpack and put on these shelves. I'm thinking of using the raw pine and just do one shelf at a time. I think the off gassing wouldn't be as much of a problem with primer and paint on one shelf so low VOC wouldn't be as necessary.

The planks aren't in yet. I'll have my husband talk to the people an a local independant paint store. I don't think we have a Sherwin Williams nearby. Then I can come back here and get opinions on what he is told.
Thanks so much for responding!

hoz49 12-11-2010 05:59 AM

Regular shellac would work but Bullseye shellac (which some call BIN) is white. The advantage is it gives you a white surface to apply the finish.

Matthewt1970 12-11-2010 10:37 AM

Shellac is gonna stink and stink bad but will work just fine as a primer over the entire wood. Any chance the boards can be primed in the garage or even outside before they are installed? Then you would only need to touch up the primer in a couple spots from being cut. You could also close off the room the shelves are in and put a fan in the window blowing out. Your temperatures are fine for latex to dry. After both the primer and finish coat a fan in the room will help drying times.

poppameth 12-11-2010 11:34 AM

Just use the Zinsser BIN product to prime the whole thing. BIN is alcohol based. They are putting enough alcohol in our gas now that they evidently aren't worried about the voc content of it. Methane from cow farts will do more harm to the environment than a little can of shellac. It will stink but it dissipates quickly. After that you could topcoat with oil or a high quality acrylic paint like P&L Accolade or BM Aura. They are hard enough when dry to give modern oils a run for their money.

marliz 12-11-2010 09:47 PM

We are planning on doing the painting in the garage. Right now waiting for a major midwest snow storm -- the day the movers are bringing the furniture we have at our other home, which will be sold if the closing goes all right and we can get into town through the snow. The garage is insulated and has a good space heater but we will need to leave the cars in the driveway. I'm thinking seriously about doing just a shelf or two at a time and using the raw wood with a simple shelf liner for the others, so we could tie up the garage for some time. Lots of shelves!

How long does it usually take for Zinsser BIN to dry before applying the acrylic paint? Should I then wait a few weeks for the acrylic to dry before putting my books on the shelf?

We have a bannister post with a round top and I've noticed a sticky feeling to it. Is that what they call "blocking?" Eventually we need to find professional painters for the main living area with a high cathedral ceiling and the deep stairwell. The colors are pleasant, but need freshening. Otherwise I would try to do something about the sticky post top myself.

Thanks for the advice!

Matthewt1970 12-11-2010 10:36 PM

Bin dries quick. Real quick. You will be lucky to have the first board still wet by the time you finish the second board.

poppameth 12-12-2010 02:13 AM

Yep 30-60 min. depending on environmental factors like heat and humidity. In hot dry conditions you may have trouble getting it out of the brush fast enough.

hoz49 12-12-2010 04:06 AM

If you use Bullseye (BIN) make sure they shake it up at the store.

Forget about a brush, buy a "whizz" or ladyfinger roller. Buy 2 covers one for BIN and one for acrylic.

marliz 12-12-2010 08:06 AM

I'll have to make sure the garage isn't too warm and use a humdifier I have for my office in the winter. Although, if the fumes are strong and I crack the window, that should keep the temp low enough. I think I read that there is a medium that can be added to slow down drying time if we can't control the conditions well enough. Would that weaken the bond? Would it be ok to use the acrylic when the Bin is dry to the touch (if I used the drying retarder)?

The paint store will likely have recommendations on what to use to clean the roller after using Bin. What would you use?

Matthewt1970 12-12-2010 08:56 AM

Just throw it away. You are going to spend more on Denatured Alcohol than you will on the roller.

Faron79 12-12-2010 10:05 AM

I'm at an upscale/independant decorating/Hdwr. store.
(ACE-Royal, Ralph Lauren, & C2 paints)

I concur on the BIN primer! I primed my family-room with it. Yeah..."noticeable!" alcohol/shellac odor. but just crack some windows.

>>> MY twist on this is to use TWO coats of BIN.
* This will give you a teeny "sanding cushion" layer.
* When the 2 coats of BIN are dried for a couple hours, scuff-sand them lightly with 120-grit sanding pads.
* This gets rid of little swells, etc. in the wood and primer.
* Get rid of every molecule of sanding-dust!
* Now you've got a REALLY good/smooth base for the glossier topcoats.

>>> Another good choice for primer is Zinsser's Odorless-Oil. Lower-VOC's than normal oils, and somewhat less odor.
* I'd wait 'til next day to sand this primer.

XIM's Latex-Xtender is a great "relaxer" for Latex paints. Doesn't weaken/thin the paint at just slows down the dry-time for the paints' binder-resin. It's near-zero VOC itself.

From a TECHNICAL standpoint, the higher the gloss...the better for shelf use!! The higher glosses have a "smoother/tighter/harder" surface film. I'd use no less than Satin.
* IF you're real fussy, apply 1st paintcoat to the sanded primer. Wait a day, and scuff-sand that 1st paintcoat.
* Then apply 2nd paintcoat.
* Now the HARD part...put the shelves away for ONE MONTH so paint can cure/harden-off. Paints feel DRY in a day, but CURED-OUT...Noooooo.
* It CAN take a month for some Latexes to fully harden....FOR SHELF-ITEM USE.

If ya REALLY wanna go high-end, you could use some FPE Brushing-Putty primer. Followed by a Eurolux Gloss'll droooolll if you saw this stuff!


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