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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,

I decided to splurge on some high end Farrow & Ball paints for my new condo. The stuff is expensive so I want to make sure I maximize its depth and get my money's worth.

My question is this: the walls in my unit have all been either painted or primed white (I can't tell which). Given that the contractor probably only used one coat of whatever is on there, should I RE-PRIME the walls before painting, or should I just go ahead without thinking twice about it?

My main concern is porousness. I've heard that new dry wall can really "soak" up paint like a sponge.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome Sherman. I'll echo Chrisn. But I lean more toward probably having to rather than probably don't. It sounds like new construction (NC). You're not getting first class painting work in NC. Whether it's shorting of coats or cheap clay based flats, your walls probably aren't sealed properly. That means your first coat of finish is going to have to do that job, which will cause the second coat to have to do part of the first coats job. And, as you suggest, the finish appearance will be sub par. The first coat of finish always seals the surface, but the less the surface is sealed, the harder the first coat has to work. I've seen it myself in NC. I did a job years ago where after the second coat of a medium gray, I wasn't happy with the color or the sheen, matte. I had to go back for touch ups later. The touch ups popped with color and sheen, both of which I expected for the whole job. I mean they really stood out. In a conversation with my trusted longtime BM guy, I learned that BM had issued a memo years before to recommend all NC be primed prior to finish. What happened was that the walls were so porous that both first and second coats were required to seal, and the third, the touch ups, was where the true color and sheen came through. Needless to say, it was a hard learning experience. I offered a low cost complete third coat (It was the entire common area of a three story townhouse, no small job), but the customer said it was okay, and seemed nice, but, I never heard from him again. You tell me. If your final finish is flat, use a premium drywall primer. If the finish will be a sheen, an enamel, use a primer/sealer. The primer/sealer (or underbody) has enamel holdout, what that means is that the flat primer won't absorb any of the first finish coat's sheen. And after the second coat, you'll have a properly/fully developed sheen/color. That's a long winded answer, but I believe the logic of the why to is as important as the how to, now you know why you're doing what you're doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, folks. Although 90% of the posts/thread I've been able to find on the internet say the reverse (one coat is fine, etc.), your answers are in tune with my gut feeling. I would have really liked to save on the headache and time of priming the walls again, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I think I'd feel better going about things this way.

I actually purchased an F&B primer ($80?). That was probably a waste of money, but the primer can be diluted 50% so I think I could get about 800 sq. ft. of coverage out of it. I have two further questions:

1. Should I return the F&B primer (probably very good) and get an ordinary variety from the hardware store, and
2. Does the prime job have to be as precise as the paint job, or can it be quick and dirty?

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Jsheridan,

About your story regarding the NC paint-job: do you recall if the walls in that NC had been painted/primed, or if you were simply painting onto the drywall in that instance?
 

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Time for a reality check...

Sorry to hear to you qualify yourself as a 'perfectionist', a condition many - including myself - put in the same category as 'social disease'. Because it is IMO a disease that has as many negative effects as it seemingly does has positive effects. But mostly, it's an obsession. Sorry.

What 'perfectionists' often seek out is a social safety net where they can find approval and validation for their actions, give rise to more questions, feed their procrastination, whcih in the end justifies their inaction - all of which is just going around the circle another time. Rarely do perfectionists 'do', they 'think of doing'...

In your particular case, it sounds like you (a) bought the paint and (b) are thinking of the problems and (c) will do it, eventually. Just the reverse of some guys here who do this for money. Put it this way, the proper way to attack your situation is to think of what you want to do (paint the walls, which walls, which gloss, what colour, what paint), then think of the particular problems you have (white, NC?, primer or paint, drywall?) and then compare that to what you know - then buy the paint.

But nope, you tell us you bought a "good paint", when you should have said you spent a lot of money on an expensive paint, and then now you ask us to justify your purchase? Only yes-men would do that.

Two guys have told you what most would do; but neither of them told you you should have asked first before spending the $. The outcome might have been the same, but not necessarily. Here's the deal:

If you are as you say a "perfectionist" and you have even an irrational doubt about the porosity of your walls, prime it. Not necessarily because the walls may or may not need it, but for yourself, to help conquer the obsession that perfectionism is all about. Prime it in white or tinted, but prime it. If you can, don't do a 'perfect' job, but a very good job, knowing that it won't be seen underneath the finish coat(s).

Spend $80 on primer if you want to, but you don't need to and there are technical reasons for my saying that.

Then, depending on the colour change (light to dark or the reverse) apply one or more coats of a good finish paint. Spend $80 on a can if you want but again, you don't need to, as you wouldn't be able to tell the difference without a microscope between your $80 a can paint and my $50 a can paint. But realise you are buying a 'boutique', a 'designer' paint colour from F&B and that is only required if you plan to tell your social friends that you did over the Moet&Chandon at your next cocktail party. Otherwise Benjamin Moore or S-Willliams will get you a nice wall.

Pushing that a bit farther, there are some here would say save your money and buy your paint at WalMart...but that's not for you, now, is it?

But do it; that's the process some painters use to approach your situation. You on the other hand aren't a painter, but someone with a problem, fifteen questions - and a can of paint.

So, I am not going to make you feel good by giving you what you want to hear - I am giving you what I would do and maybe what others do in this case. You earn no credit spending alot of money first, then telling everyone you did expecting us to be in awe of your acumen.

Technically, that is a sure-fire way of getting very, very good results because many here have done it that way and know of what they say. Now, will that satisfy you? Who knows. But one thing I can guarantee: even if you mess it up, someone can correct it and you'll be a better person for having tried-and-failed at it than someone who didn't dare to fail.

:yes:
 

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Thanks, folks. Although 90% of the posts/thread I've been able to find on the internet say the reverse (one coat is fine, etc.), your answers are in tune with my gut feeling. I would have really liked to save on the headache and time of priming the walls again, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I think I'd feel better going about things this way.

I actually purchased an F&B primer ($80?). That was probably a waste of money, but the primer can be diluted 50% so I think I could get about 800 sq. ft. of coverage out of it. I have two further questions:

1. Should I return the F&B primer (probably very good) and get an ordinary variety from the hardware store, and
2. Does the prime job have to be as precise as the paint job, or can it be quick and dirty?

Thanks again!
Sherman, If the primer states it can be split, that's probably about what you'd pay for a good primer retail. One at 80 gets you two at 40. Use it. Paint companys generally make all their primers with their finish in mind, so they complement each other. Whether you prime or not is your judgement call to make. I don't trust NC paint jobs, especially after my experience. That surface was paint, not primer. Why don't you try some sample spots. Take a 1' x 4' area and prime one half of it. Then apply two coats of finish over the 1x4 area. This will allow you to determine the impact the primer will have on the final finish. If there's no noticeable difference, just use two coats of finish and be done. If there is a difference, then determine whether the difference justifies doing a full prime, or it's a diff you can live with for the cost. As to applying the primer, if you want a quick and dirty finish look, apply your primer quick and dirty. See my point. As to one coat, if you're talking primer, yes. Finish, no. NO paint is one coat coverage. Don't believe it. Prove it to yourself when you do your sample. With any paint, the first coat seals and lays down the block of the old color. Your eye can still perceive the original color, with most paints. It is the second coat that completes the finish. I proved this to myself and helper on one of my last jobs with dark brown BM Aura, the king of coverage. The difference between the first and second coat cut in was incredible. Look, you went all out with the F&B, why you going to cut corners now. It's that simple.
 

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There again, I wouldn't do my own dilutions of paint or primer...primers especially, are suspensions of pigments (many of the heavier filllers too) in water, where the essential element is the suspending agent, most often a surfactant...but sometimes a cellulosic...

They obtain the optimum particle size for coalescence using micronizers and other means that are not duplicable at home. The more powerful the blending, the smaller the particle size and the more stable the product. It's not just a question of making a 2x concentrate and diluting it at home, doesn't work like that.

For the price of a good acrylic primer, it's hardly worth the fuss.
 

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There again, I wouldn't do my own dilutions of paint or primer...primers especially, are suspensions of pigments (many of the heavier filllers too) in water, where the essential element is the suspending agent, most often a surfactant...but sometimes a cellulosic...

They obtain the optimum particle size for coalescence using micronizers and other means that are not duplicable at home. The more powerful the blending, the smaller the particle size and the more stable the product. It's not just a question of making a 2x concentrate and diluting it at home, doesn't work like that.

For the price of a good acrylic primer, it's hardly worth the fuss.
Being a little hard on the ol Sherm, aren't you Wally? Last post was a real ouch! I'm sure that OP didn't pull that 50% number out of his ass, so it probably says it on the can. If F&B says that the product can be diluted, I'm sure it can. I'm sure it's been well tested. A company with the name and rep of Farrow & Ball wouldn't take a chance of ruining thier rep by recommending something that would be damaging to one's results, micronizers or not. You're making it sound like OP is doing some at home paint chemistry, geez, we can't even get him to prime, let alone play with surfactant and cellulosic thingamajiggies. Easy now, we're here to encourage, not discourage with psychoanalysis.
 

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good quality coatings can be designed to be thinned. it doesnt matter if it is a water based or chemical based solvent. i get letters from paint companies all of the time saying it is ok to thin their product even if it isnt listed on the data sheets. Ex...some coatings allow 10% thinner for brush or roller application but no thinning recommended for spraying. this usually comes down to VOC regs. thinning is sometimes needed depending on temps and surface conditions for proper flow charicteristics. 10% is not a lot of thinner IMO, some of these same coatings were thined 25%-35% five years ago, still the same paint formula but less thinner and harder to apply. i agree that if it says it can be thinned 50% then it probably can be. i dont think that they would put this on their cans if there was a chance that it would ruin the paint.
 

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Was thinking about the other thread Mike where we were talking about thinning. I saw on a TDS sheet for MAB or SW that you should not thin their product to maintain compliance with VOC. I did some exterior doors a while back with black high gloss oil from BM, it came out like syrup. It took a helluva lot of thinner to make it work. I was teasing the BM guy that I wished my customers were radical environmentalists, so I could have slathered that black syrup all over their doors for it to run and sag. Sweet. When they asked why the doors look like crap, I could have told them had I thinned it with paint thinner, I would have further contributed to global warming, in their name no less. We're told we all have to sacrifice, there you go, you just sacrificed. Feel good. You may not like the look of the doors, but you could tell everybody who notices that you did your part for the environment. Then you'll feel as ridiculous as your argument sounds.
 

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Guys, there's abig difference between thinning and diluting, one being ~15%, the other around 50%. I do one not the other.

Not being hard on you Joe...sorry if I came across too strong. But I don't come here just to encourage DIYers - I come with my own perspective. Good or bad, you'll get the dough.
 

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Guys, there's abig difference between thinning and diluting, one being ~15%, the other around 50%. I do one not the other.

Not being hard on you Joe...sorry if I came across too strong. But I don't come here just to encourage DIYers - I come with my own perspective. Good or bad, you'll get the dough.
CC, you're not being hard or too strong on me, but OP. We all have our own perspectives, no problem. We're like Fox News, we put our stuff out there and let the HO's decide what works or fits best. We might be pros at this, but I could easily see anyone of us being just like you describe OP if we were dealing with a subject/activity we know nothing about. The fear of making a mistake or the unknown keeps people from trying/doing things. We have to understand that it sometimes takes a lot for some to come here and ask for help, admit mistakes, and try to correct them. Sometimes they probably just feel plain stupid already when they come here, though they shouldn't. I know what I know because I've spent most of my life's pursuit engaged in it, and yet I don't know everything. I don't expect others who haven't to know, and it's my job to help them. God knows I've taken a few HO's to task here, but it's usually in the fifteenth round, and dropping them to the mat is the only way to end the fight, the technical KO is futile.
 

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I stuck my foot in this early, but I think in a way both you guy's perspective is valuable to Ol Sherm.(and others)
A bit of a spanking on getting the brag paint before you know what to do with it is justified as much as warning about the perils of Behr.
But this is the Help the DIY section, so we should help. Even if that means saying that you are getting ripped off for the bragging right to use F & B primer, which is heavy and has to be shipped here from jolly ol england, which is part of that premium price, when you could use Zinnser and probably have as good or better results. Same is true for the paint.
But he has it, and wants the bragging rights. Sounds like he is not a painter, so just the doing of it with anything will be quite a learning experience. Maybe if he's willing to use the snippy stuff, he should hire a good painter to put it on. That would be my best recommendation.
 

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Yup; and you just reminded me of a question asked that I didn't address fullly: the dilution (of apparently up to 50%) of a primer, the reputation of the maufacturing company etc, etc.

No company will make a claim in printed material that it can't back up, we all know that, but oftentimes, they take a calculated risk when they do make claims that push the envelope a bit, by 'hedging their bets'; by that I mean they calculate the number of claims they're potentially liable for, at worst, and put money aside to pay their lawyers to fight those claims ad infinitum. You'll see: there's always a catch....like:

"Our waterprooofing agent can withstand 100mph storms!" But when it doesn't, they say you didn't apply it over a suitable substrate. Or:

"Testing must be done to establish a suitable application." In other words, do this at your own risk, i.e. only you know what is acceptable or not.

Loopholes every one...It just doesn't make any sense that a paint compnay should say: "Dilute to 50%" without there being some sort of escape hatch that puts the responsibility back on the homeowner. So if the homeowner dilutes it and it fails, they didn't test it, so sorry you're SOL.

They don't say that dilution to 50% of a primer is an almost-certain failure. Nope. You didn't test. The substrate was wrong etc etc. Not their fault.

But we still have your $80! Sucker.

It's the same at the lower end: here, buy this cheap paint. You save $20! Then when you apply it and get crap, they wiggle out of it - but they still have your $35!
 

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ccarlisle, i dont disagree with you on how some companies operate. if this is how they do buisiness when you "dilute" there product to their specs, i believe they would do this even if you dont dilute it. i deal with things like this on occasion even with extensive documentation with two or three inspection parties, RH,DP,SURFACE TEMPS,MATERIAL TEMPS,BATCH#'s, C,S,N SALTS, SURFACE PREP ECT....these companies know that most coating failures can be traced back to surface prep,application and very rare product failure. ...............jsheridan, i was gonna use the FOXvs. CNN to make a point last night but i decided to bite my tongue
 

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I stuck my foot in this early, but I think in a way both you guy's perspective is valuable to Ol Sherm.(and others)
A bit of a spanking on getting the brag paint before you know what to do with it is justified as much as warning about the perils of Behr.
But this is the Help the DIY section, so we should help. Even if that means saying that you are getting ripped off for the bragging right to use F & B primer, which is heavy and has to be shipped here from jolly ol england, which is part of that premium price, when you could use Zinnser and probably have as good or better results. Same is true for the paint.
But he has it, and wants the bragging rights. Sounds like he is not a painter, so just the doing of it with anything will be quite a learning experience. Maybe if he's willing to use the snippy stuff, he should hire a good painter to put it on. That would be my best recommendation.[/quote]


There you go:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Folks,

I appreciate all your feedback. No issue. And I really didn't get F&B to brag about it; I don't think my vanity has developed in that direction just yet. Actually, if F&B is as good as their reputation credits, then they're also not that bad a value. I'm getting a huge amount of coverage out of the one can that I started with today.

Anyways, on my way to the condo I picked up some primer and other supplies at the hardware store (Zinnser 123?). I figure $30 is better than $80, and even if the latter can be diluted (see here: http://us.farrow-ball.com/interior-...at/primers-and-undercoats//fcp-product/400006), I think I'd rather use two cans of solid primer than one can diluted throughout.

Once at the site, for a variety of factors I decided not to prime at all. I thought if I'm gonna be on my own for the whole place (1100 sq. ft.), I'd just give it a shot to save time. I'm not exactly sure what a proper first coat is supposed to look like, but the wall was certainly sucking up some paint. The paint would go on solid, and after a few moments become a bit transparent and patchy. Nothing dramatic. I figure that the second coat will look much much better, but perhaps not what a "final" look should be; I'm thinking primer would have been a good idea.

It was a great learning experience, either way. Not much lost, and frankly I'm not enamored with the color now that I see it. If I wind up with a different paint I think I'll prime throughout before starting up again.

I'll see if I can get one of my iPhone pictures up to show you guys what the first coat looks like. Perhaps it's entirely normal!
 
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