Nail Putty Problems

There is growing number of reports of nail putty problems on pre-primed trim products. I will touch briefly on one of the main causes for what you see in the photo. This ringing effect around the nail hole is caused by use of overly oily oil-based nail putty. What happens is this, after the putty is pressed into the hole (usually within hours), the oils in the putty seep through the wood fibers and rise to the surface via the super absorbent factory primer coat leaving an oily ring.

Explaining in more detail: the quality of the primer coat on factory pre-primed trim is so poor that it can be dissolved with just water. The primer coat is about the same as if you put cheap flat wall paint on bare wood. The oils in the putty soften the primer coat leaving an oily spot. When you paint over this oily spot, your finish coat absorbs into the soft spot. This occurs with oil-based paint or Acrylics.

The work around: 4 Options
1) Re-prime that crappy factory primer before you do any nail hole filling.
2) Use a latex putty vs. oil.
3) Use a product such as DAP CrackShot or DryDex (much more time consuming) best results.
4) Use Whiting Powder to dry out the putty a bit.

In new home construction it is far less expensive and labor intensive to simply spray a new coat of primer on the trim. The factory primer is applied to the wood with one goal in mind, to fill imperfections in the wood.

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