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Old 12-30-2007, 11:11 AM   #1
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


My house is about 30 years old, and I recently painted over trim in two rooms with white alkyd enamel. The new white paint turned yellowish tan in about 4 weeks. I then painted over the discolored alkyd enamel with a coat of Zinser Shelac based primer. The bleed through continued. I then painted over the Shelac based primer with an Oil Base primer. I waited two weeks, and then repainted the trim white again, this time with latex semi-gloss. The two primers did not solve the problem. The trim along the floor is bright white (for now), and the trim around the doors and windows is a very noticeable darker shade of off-white. I have new carpet scheduled for installation in two weeks. Desperately need of some sound advice.

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Old 12-30-2007, 02:20 PM   #2
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


Try some silver (aluminum) paint. Then after two coats, use regular oil base primer. This was a problem back East in old homes where powdered paint mixed in water was used on the plaster walls like a "wash" and silver paint was the only practical cure.

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Old 12-30-2007, 02:37 PM   #3
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


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Originally Posted by End Grain View Post
Try some silver (aluminum) paint. Then after two coats, use regular oil base primer. This was a problem back East in old homes where powdered paint mixed in water was used on the plaster walls like a "wash" and silver paint was the only practical cure.
I appreciate your help. I will definitely check into aluminum paint. I've painted alkyd over trim in other rooms, and have not experienced any discoloring or bleed through. The problem seems to be limited to this one room. Also, there's no plaster in this house, the walls are all sheetrock. Since the house is only 30 years old, do you think it's very likely they used powdered paint in just one of the rooms?

Last edited by DanielP; 12-30-2007 at 02:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:06 PM   #4
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


That is a toughie
I'm assuming this is over stained trim, and you are sure that it's bleed trough and not something else

The first coat of enamel bleeding through would be expected f it was put right over stained wood
Paints meant to be topcoats rarely make good sealers
The Zinsser's BIN shellac based sealer, however, is the atom bomb of sealers
It's used for fire damage recovery and other heinous stains
That should have worked if that's what you used (though for truly bad ones two coats are sometimes a good idea)
Certainly the alkyd primer (not quite as powerful as BIN, but effective for most applications like this) over the shellac should have then done the trick

Not seeing it, I'd like to ask some questions

#1)
Are you sure this is bleed through, and not something else?
Not sure what else it would be...just asking
Oil does yellow without sunlight, any natural light in the room?....maybe a bad batch of paint?....

#2)
What was the original trim like before you painted it?
Stained and poly'ed?...dark...natural...?

#3)
Exactly what products did you use?
Which alkyd primer, and was that Zinsser's White Pigmented Shellac (BIN) or Clear or Amber Shellac?

#4)
Any chance the room had a smoker for even a few years?
Or a fireplace, or woodstove, or even a vent from the furnace? (like the first vent in the line from the furnace)
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


The trim was originally off-white, not stained. I've painted over trim in other areas of the house, and no problem. The only thing I did differently this time was use a ligher shade of white alkyd. As far as it technically being a "bleed through" problem, I don't have a clue. I'm aware that alkyd naturally turns yellow, but that yellowing process usually takes a lot longer than just 4 weeks, plus that didn't happen in the other rooms I painted.

Paint History:
The 1st two coats were Olympic FastHide Interior/Exterior Alkyd Semi-Gloss.
The 3rd coat was Zinsser BIN Shellac Based Primer - White.
The 4th coat was Sherwin Williams ProBlock Alkyd Primer - White.
The 5th coat was Valspar Ultra Premium Interior Semi-Gloss - Latex.

As far as smoking goes, I don't know if the previous owner was a smoker.
Hope this info helps. I could really use some direction, before I go crazy.
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:42 PM   #6
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


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Originally Posted by DanielP View Post
The trim was originally off-white, not stained.

Holy Moly


I was not expecting that

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Originally Posted by DanielP View Post
As far as it technically being a "bleed through" problem, I don't have a clue.
If it was over white then...no it mopre than likely wasn't
Which makes this even more of a mystery

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Originally Posted by DanielP View Post
I'm aware that alkyd naturally turns yellow, but that yellowing process usually takes a lot longer than just 4 weeks, plus that didn't happen in the other rooms I painted.
Yes, basically you are correct
Although it can happen in four weeks
That's why I asked about sunlight
With no sunlight in that particular room, that might account for it

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Originally Posted by DanielP View Post
The 1st two coats were Olympic FastHide Interior/Exterior Alkyd Semi-Gloss.
The 5th coat was Valspar Ultra Premium Interior Semi-Gloss - Latex.
I can't vouch for those specific products
It is possible they yellow quickly
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Originally Posted by DanielP View Post
The 3rd coat was Zinsser BIN Shellac Based Primer - White.
The 4th coat was Sherwin Williams ProBlock Alkyd Primer - White.
That should have blocked any bleed-through
Which apparently wasn't your problem anyway if it was over white

Unless....
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As far as smoking goes, I don't know if the previous owner was a smoker.
...there was quite a bit of yellow/brown tar/nicotene stains on the trim when you first painted it
You'd probably know...that stuff is pretty...uh...gross

It's possible it could be old tar/nic bleeding through...but the BIN should have stopped that...and if that wasn't enough the ProBlock would've got the rest
Those are both spectacular products

Unless you had some truly heinous contamination on the trim in that room, I'm going to have to go for a top coat product problem
The same product, same can was used in other rooms with no problems?
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:25 PM   #7
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


It sounds like you don't think it's bleed through or nicotine, and you ended your last response with a question: "The same product, same can was used in other rooms with no problems?" Well that's not exactly right. Yes, I did paint over other trim in the house with alkyd, but it was with the same paint the previous owner used. I found an old can of paint (Duron alkyd semi-gloss shell white) in the garage and bought more of the same. However, in the room with the discoloration problem, I changed the color scheme and went with another brand (Olympic) and another color (Bistro White). So the situation is not exactly the same. The similarity is that in both cases the trim was repainted with alkyd, but only one room is having a problem, and I don't have a clue what I need to do next to get all the trim the same color.

One additional note of interest, two louvered doors turned yellow, one in the room with the trim problem, and one in a room without any trim problems. That louvered door outside of the problem room, is located at the furnace, and by the shape of the louvered door in the problem room I'm thinking the owner must have swapped these two doors, and that each door was at one point in time located in the problem room. Again, none of the trim around the louvered door outside of the problem room turned yellow, only the louvered door itself. So, nicotine may not be completely out of the question, even though the trim did not look dirty or stainned when I painted it. Then again, it seems like the two primers would have resolved the issue. So, any additional thoughts or suggestions? I could sure use them.

Last edited by DanielP; 12-30-2007 at 10:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:34 PM   #8
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


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Since the house is only 30 years old, do you think it's very likely they used powdered paint in just one of the rooms?
It's a mystery as to exactly what is on the wall but since you've already tried shellac and oil base primer, whatever it is has commonality to the two - shellac succumbs to ammonia, oil base paint to mineral spirits, turpentine, oil, etc. I'm guessing it was either a wall prep/wallpaper strip of some kind or a potent household cleanser that was applied but not fully washed off.

Silver (aluminum) paint has high masking ability simply because of the leaf particles suspended in the paint. Those particles will overlap as they dry and make an ultra-thin metal finish. That resulting finish is probably as tight as you can get so it may actually hide the discoloration and keep it from bleeding through.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:51 PM   #9
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


I appreciate your help. Just to claify things though, it's not the walls I'm having a problem with, it's the trim; base board, windows, doors, etc. As far as I can tell, the walls haven't discolored. Then again, the walls are green, and the trim is white, so I probably wouldn't notice a discoloration problem with the walls. Since I found old paint cans the previous owner used on the trim, I really don't think powdered paint was ever an issue. That being said, I am definitely game to go out and purchase some silver (aluminum) paint and try it on a small test area to see if it works. Heck, I'm willing to try almost anything at this point, because I've got new carpet scheduled to be installed in two weeks.
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:20 AM   #10
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


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...So, any additional thoughts or suggestions? I could sure use them.
Well....regardless of what caused this, you need to fix it
My best suggestion at this point, is to re-coat the trim in the problem room (or at least a test area) with a known good coating
That would eliminate the bad product factor

I'd suggest either Ben Moore's Satin Impervo or Sherwin Williams' Pro Classic
Use whichever type that is on there now
(waterborne for latex/water-based...or alkyd for oil/alkyd)
A quart will do

That will either tell us the top coat you used was the problem, or that it is in fact a horrible bleed through problem
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Old 12-31-2007, 11:23 AM   #11
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


I'm definitely willing to try a test area, but I'm pretty sure this is not a top coat problem. One additional fact you might need to know, both primers varied in color when they were applied, just like the top coat. When I applied primer along the floor, it looked white, and when I applied the same primer along the windows, it looked off-white. The so called local paint experts advised me not to worry because primers aren't designed to stop discoloration, they only seal it in, and that I would have no problem once I painted over the two primers....wrong. As I said, I'm willing to try a test spot, with yet another can of paint, but I can pretty much guarantee you, the same thing will happen again.
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:08 PM   #12
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


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I appreciate your help. Just to claify things though, it's not the walls I'm having a problem with, it's the trim; base board, windows, doors, etc. As far as I can tell, the walls haven't discolored. Then again, the walls are green, and the trim is white, so I probably wouldn't notice a discoloration problem with the walls. Since I found old paint cans the previous owner used on the trim, I really don't think powdered paint was ever an issue. That being said, I am definitely game to go out and purchase some silver (aluminum) paint and try it on a small test area to see if it works. Heck, I'm willing to try almost anything at this point, because I've got new carpet scheduled to be installed in two weeks.
Considering that you've come this far already, a pint can of aluminum paint applied over oil base primer can't hurt the trim.

FWIW, years ago, in really old buildings (1890's - early 1900's), one was never quite sure as to what the last person used on the walls or the trim. Cracking, peeling, alligator, shriveling up, skinning over, orange-peeling, etc. were all common occurences when latex paints first appeared. Sometimes, there was wallpaper, sometimes just plaster.

Also, folks who try to wash away nicotine or cooking fume grease for example often make things worse by first floating the nicotine or grease out and then letting it dry back onto the finish by not properly rinsing it off completely. Proper washing can take as many as ten or more sponge overs to remove the sticky residue. Products such as Fantastic, 409, Ka-Boom, etc. are great - as long as they're completely washed off and not allowed to dry onto the surface. Anything that prevents the old coat of paint from bonding with the next coat will create a problem.

Try my suggestion in a few spots. It's an oldie but it is a goodie. As long as you apply the oil base aluminum paint over an oil base primer and then cover it over with an oil base primer, you'll be fine - no harm, no foul. Then, you can paint it with whatever finish coat you like. If shellac - the tried and true stain-stopper - did not stop the bleed-through, then I believe that the surface is contaminated with something, possibly an ammonia-based cleanser.

Good luck with whatever you choose and have a Happy New Year!

Last edited by End Grain; 12-31-2007 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 12-31-2007, 01:01 PM   #13
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Stubborn paint bleed through problem!!!


Ed, I appreciate your help. I have a couple of questions before I test an area with aluminum paint: Do I have to apply the aluminum paint directly over an oil-base primer? I've already painted 5 coats on the trim, (2 alkyd, 1 shelac primer, 1 oil primer, and lastly, 1 latex semi-gloss) Is it absolutely necessary aluminum paint be applied directly over oil base, or can I apply it directly over the last coat of latex? One more item, I did not apply an oil-base primer to the doors, because the finish had too many brush strokes. I instead used 2 coats of the shelac primer. I have not painted any latex-semi gloss on the doors yet, so the last coat on the doors was the shelac primer. So a similar question, can I apply aluminum paint over shelac primer or do I need to repaint the doors with an oil-base primer first?

For what it's worth, my gut instinct from the very begininning, has been the previous owner smoked in this room, and cleaned it up just before he sold the house. I'll never know for sure, but that would help explain why the initial coats of alklyd turned yellow so quickly.
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Old 12-31-2007, 01:30 PM   #14
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Ed: One more question: Is silver (aluminum) paint a special primer, or does silver (aluminum) only refer to color? If it's only a color reference, does that mean I can purchase any oil base aluminum colored paint? Do you have any recommendations?
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:03 PM   #15
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Ed: One more question: Is silver (aluminum) paint a special primer, or does silver (aluminum) only refer to color? If it's only a color reference, does that mean I can purchase any oil base aluminum colored paint? Do you have any recommendations?
I think someone was a smoker and that you're dealing with nicotine that was not properly washed out of and off of the trim.

It's imperative that you apply the aluminum paint (it's not a primer) over a coat of oil base primer so that it will bond securely yet harmlessly onto the trim. Since aluminum paint has a hard metallic sheen to it, a coat of oil base primer will be necessary on top of it so that whatever finish coat you choose can securely bond to the trim and cover the glossy silver paint. The drawback to aluminum (silver) paint is that because it is solvent based (not waterbased) it will alligator up as it dries unless it is applied onto an oil base, preferrably a primer.

Suggestion: Buy a small pint can of the aluminum paint. Keep it well mixed as you go because the metallic flakes will want to separate and go down to the bottom. That's completely natural. Try some of it on a small but noticeably discolored area of trim that's been O-B primed. Let it dry thoroughly and then apply some O-B primer over it. Afterwards, try a coat of your finish paint of choice and review the results in a day or two. No sense making a big project out of something that may or may not work as you had hoped.

Good luck DanielP!!!

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