Posts Tagged ‘help’

Drywall primers… again!

December 20, 2008
DSC_3833aI receive countless emails asking when to use a drywall primer with all the talk today about self-priming wall paints. Many paint contractors commented on my videos on YouTube saying I should use a wall primer on bare drywall rather than applying wall paint directly over it. What do they know that I don’t? So let’s take a closer look at wall primers and their purpose. What is a wall primer supposed to do? (Click any photo for larger views).

Bare Drywall

IMG_0078The objective priming bare drywall is to seal the porous paper and drywall topping (mud) to provide a nice foundation for the paint to bond with. What this means is achieving an ultimate seal and bond with the paint to the porous fibers of the paper and the porosity of drywall mud. We also want the wall primer to produce a solid uniform sheen for the top coat of paint.

Our goal has four parts:

1) seal the porous paper surface
2) provide a surface the paint can bond with
3) seal the drywall mud
4) prevent top coat sheen degradation

What can go wrong using primer:

What if the top coat of paint did not bond with primer? What if the primer didn’t bond with the drywall? What if you had a nice bond to the drywall but not to the drywall mud? What do you do now? You primed right? The paint isn’t sticking that well is it? Did you try the tape test or maybe you tried washing it and the paint and primer came off back to bare drywall? Did you remove the masking tape from the baseboard and it tore the paint and primer off the wall exposing bare drywall?

The label on the paint can says to use a primer. The paint store rep said to use a primer. You read online, you read it in a magazine, you always heard – ‘use a primer’ and you did. You even used the paint manufactures recommended primer.

So now what? Is it too late; you already have a coat of paint over the primer? Was the surface clean? Did you remove all the drywall dust left behind from sanding? Did you shop vac the walls and the paint still didn’t stick? Did you try wiping down the drywall with a damp sponge? Yeah, so did we. Did the primer fail? Yeah, so did ours. Did you do something wrong?

Lucky for you, we have all the answers and before you get discouraged we also have a fix so you can achieve that finish and bond that you initially tried for.

We tested a total of 14 wall primers over bare drywall and not one of them performed as well as a drywall sealer such as Zinsser Gardz. Let’s take a look at why this is.

The Test

2paintYou perform the test yourself. Let’s say for example you have a piece of bare drywall sitting on your lap and 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of any wall primer of your choice, there are tons of them out there, pick one. Now, take the tablespoon of water and slowly pour it on the drywall. The water dissipates into the drywall right? Now take the tablespoon of primer and do the same. Not exactly the same result huh?

If you want to dive deeper into testing, try this test over bare drywall mud, it will provide similar results with a completely different effect with the primer.

Do this small test too. Take a sanded drywall patch, clean it, dust it, vac it, damp sponge it if you want and run your finger over it when its dry. I suspect your finger will have a white dusty powder on it.

So what does this test tell us? No matter how well you clean up new board for paint there is only one thing that will prepare it to accept paint. Apply a sealer that will penetrate both the paper and the mud and bond all of it together. Thinner material penetrates better – right?

Click the photo above. Notice the first 24" inches from the corner doesn’t look as nice as the next 24", then you see another 24" that doesn’t look as nice as the 2nd area. That 2nd area that looks best in the photo is 2 coats of eggshell paint over bare drywall. The first 24" is primer plus one coat of eggshell paint.

Sheen degradation

One huge set-back you get from using a primer is top coat sheen degradation. Some primers are better than others but nonetheless, you will lose some sheen that will get absorbed in the primer coat. The loss of sheen is very apparent in the photo above.

proform004Here is a photo of a drywall sealer applied directly over the drywall mudded horizontal seam. You can clearly see how well the sealer absorbed into the mud. The next photo shows what the horizontal seam looks like when you apply one coat of an eggshell paint over it.
proform005Again, you can clearly see the sealed portion of the wall and what was not sealed.

 Primer vs. Paint

Img00970001Think back to a time you applied a coat of paint over bare wood. Do you remember what happens with the paint? Do you recall how much of that paint absorbed into bare wood? Do you remember applying a second coat of paint and it too absorbed into the bare wood, even your third coat looked questionable? (Click any photo for larger views)

Well check this out… the same thing happens when you apply paint over bare drywall. Exactly the same thing but with varied results depending on the paint you use.

There are paints that penetrate bare drywall better than a primer and provide a better bond and also look great when you apply 2 coats over bare drywall. So here we have a classic case of Best, Better and Good options.

The photo above shows a coat of paint over bare drywall (the darker color). The window wall and into the corner is a tinted primer. So you can clearly see some finish paints perform nicely over bare drywall with coverage. The paint used in the above photo outperformed all 14 primers in coverage over bare drywall. How messed up is that? – paint performing better than a primer designed for bare drywall.

Looking at the photo above, would you honestly say a primer is needed over bare drywall if I can achieve both coverage and tight bond with a paint that is far better than if I used a primer? I’m saying… knock yourself out. If you feel that you have the desire to waste money and labor on a primer coat, then do it.

But let’s take a look at what is best because that’s what this site is all about.

Best

eggshellThe best product known to me for bare drywall is Zinsser Gardz and thankfully we have that product because it makes me never want to use a wall primer again. I say this because I see primers fail all the time, hence the abundance of people writing me about primers. Apply Gardz directly over bare drywall and then for best results – 2 coats of paint. Remember this is new board and you need to build a foundation so use 2 coats of paint. Think about this, even with one coat of Gardz, and 2 coats of paint, your total dried mil thickness is still minimal at best.
gardz2Gardz is a thin clear sealer and most of the product will dissipate into the fibers of the board and mud. This product is similar to injecting glue into the drywall and mud. This is why in the photo above you see a very nice uniform finish with one coat of Gardz and one of finish.

Better

UH1412_01aBecause there are paints that I know adhere better than all 14 primers we tested I am going to say straight quality paint is better over bare drywall. The only problem you may experience is a need for a 3rd coat – prime plus 2 coats is a total of three coats anyway but you can achieve better stick this way. Ok, to be fair the other argument to this method is achieving a uniform finish with paint like an eggshell or semi gloss. But think about this, 1 primer and 2 finish is 3 coats too.

In the photo above the long wall is split half way with two different wall paints and the photo was taken after they dried. Notice in the front most left portion how one product covered and dried much nicer than the other closer to the window.

Good

barrington 24 027aThe cheap and less expensive route is using a primer over bare drywall. You have an advantage utilizing this method but it also disadvantages. The advantages are – you can do one tinted coat of primer and one coat of finish but you lose the stick or bond some of us need to tape off walls, hang wallpaper over and even wash or scrub depending on what your paint allows.

Remember when you got the job, she told you she was hanging wallpaper at a later time. So, do you shortcut her at this point or prepare the job for what is to come? What if its you hanging that paper? Too many guys are doing the "right-for-now" work instead of what is best for down-the-road work.

Primer is generally less expensive than paint. So if your intent is to never wash or touch the walls then do this method but what you might find is what you see in the photo. It looks like it needs another coat of paint.

Primer also requires MORE attention to rolling than wall paint. If you roll primer on any old way – you will never get the finish to look right no matter how many coats you stick on it. Here is a clip on rolling. Utilizing the last stroke down method will provide a level of finish that is consistent. The finish in the Best Method was done with last stroke down.

Something to think about

Here is something else to think about for those of you shooting commercial work. Think about how much you can save on materials utilizing a better method. What is that high-build primer suppose to be shot at??? 20 mil thick? That is crazy!!! Actually its ridiculous. If you are shooting walls – you are already wasting materials and damn near twice as much vs rolling it on.

Here is an interesting tid bit. Same two houses done two different ways. One guy sprayed the walls with 60 gallons and the other rolled it with 15. The guy spraying had a guy back rolling too. What a huge waste of time and money and an extra guy. Guy spraying spent $1,380 on materials and the guy who rolled it spent $345 There was no difference in workmanship.

Funny how a certain manufacturer makes an executive decision to create a primer that requires such a heavy layer of it to cover bare drywall. But that same question also begs the question, was a product like that designed because guys don’t know how to paint or does the manufacturer not know how to make a product that works without laying it on so heavy. If you apply anything at 20 mil, it better look good!

The argument

440i My argument with using a wall primer is the lack of a fail-safe method and I need that in my business. While I enjoy the 440i I received from a paint store due to primer failing, I am not going to have another homeowner come back to me complaining she washed the paint and primer off the wall and obviously this has happened to me otherwise I wouldn’t be posting a fix to this problem online. I have a ton of information and previous test on wall primers. Do a Google search on jackpauhl+wall primers or click this link.

The Fix

So let’s say you too fell sucker to the “use a primer” method and you are in that same situation where the paint washes off the wall or you had to apply masking tape to do some wild painting scheme you found on TV. There is a fix and leave it to no other than Zinsser to have your back! Zinsser Gardz can be used to apply over a paint that was previously undercoated with primer utilizing the Good method above. Gardz will assist with penetrating the paint and the primer and help with bonding them to the drywall beneath and not only that but moving forward with a new coat of paint will give you the ultimate finish you see in the Best method above.

Painting highly visible walls

Let’s say you get a call and their house is a few years old with builder grade flat paint on the walls and they want you to paint the 16′ high foyer wall that extends to the back of the house (windows on both ends). You go to the basement and see the left over paint and know putting an eggshell over that flat paint might require a certain degree of finesse to make a highly visible wall look right. Your best bet here is to apply Zinsser Gardz over that flat and proceed with one or two coats of eggshell paint.

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Load Balancing

December 13, 2008

superfab What is Load Balancing?

Years ago I conducted a study on how far various roller covers can carry a load of paint. You can see an example in the photo. I wanted to know how much more distance can I get out of all the 1/2" covers available to me and find the best one. Then I wanted to compare the 1/2" covers against 3/4" covers of the same brand to see how much more distance I can get using a 3/4" cover assuming a desired roller texture. The same study was conducted on brushes.

Load balancing is gauged on the capacity of the brush or roller and the amount of paint you load them with for optimum results. Each load (amount of paint) is predetermined before taking the load based on for example where it will be placed on the wall or trim.

Load Balancing is one of the more important aspects with efficient painting. It’s a combination between the right paint brush or roller and the amount of paint in which you load them and how it impacts performance more than anything else.

Load Balancing allows me to paint ridiculously fast because each (next move) or next load of paint is thought out. What this does is eliminates unnecessary brushwork and/or more effective results with each load of paint.

In the video where the side of the casing is painted in about 8 seconds, Load Balancing plays a huge role in allowing me to do that. 1) The brush needs to be capable of holding a load of paint to go the distance of 7’. 2) I also need to know how much paint I will need to travel 7’ and put that amount of paint on the brush.

Look for more on this topic soon along with video demonstrations. For now you can see more on this topic here.

How to stain Windows

October 22, 2008
IMG_0562Here is a quick How To for doing windows regardless if painted or stained. These are Andersen Windows. I first removed the window latch hardware and cleaned them up with a shop vac.
IMG_0563I first pull the back sash (outer most) down a bit and unlock the front sash and allow it to open into the room. I will be starting on the bottom of the back sash first.
IMG_0564Starting at the bottom of the back sash and working my way up on the right.
IMG_0565Continuing up on the left
IMG_0566Across the top
IMG_0567While the front sash is still down, run around the trim closest to the track so when the sash is popped back in place that area is complete.
IMG_0568Lift and hold the front sash and finish the top edge
IMG_0569Pop the front sash back in place and push down a bit to lock in (you will hear it) and slide the sash back up a bit
IMG_0571Finish off the front sash
IMG_0572Slide the front sash up to allow you to finish remaining area closest to the track guide
IMG_0573Here is completed area around track guide. At this point you can slide the front sash down and finish the casing areas. This is a good time to step back and look over your work.
IMG_0574

Here is one portion completed. You can click photos for larger viewing. This method allows me to do one double-hung window in 7 minutes. I do them exactly the same every time.

For Oil-Based Stains

October 21, 2008

IMG_0535 - Copy

It is probably no argument that white china bristle is more common for applying oil-based penetrating stains so I am not going to try to tell you different. One thing to point out with the Purdy 100% Natural Black China Bristle vs. White China is how fast white china bristles wear and lose shape. What is most common with White China is the bristles as a whole become puckered out or fattened where the Black China tends to keep its shape much better and takes longer to wear.

There is no question white china bristle can carry a load of stain better than black china but if you are caught with 20+ solid wood doors to stain you might want to grab a black china brush and a wool applicator pad. Also the black china brush might work out better for you when you have a ton of intricate work.

About Wall Primers II

October 6, 2007

Two years in the making. There are probably not many painters that can talk about wall primers like I can. My current issue with trying to get a nice eggshell finish over new drywall has put me on a path of learning everything there is to know about the capabilities of primers and there are more issues with using a primer vs. not.

What are wall primers capable of? Nothing if you ask me unless you apply primer with an airless about 20 mil thick, then maybe you might have something but not always. Remember, I am talking about primer on new drywall. Primers are typically no different than another coat of paint and in most cases I’ve seen, paint provides a better bond to new board over primers. WOW! That sort of changes everything you’ve been told about always use a primer huh? Well, that’s no bull shit!

Of the 12 primers I have now spent countless hours with over the past two years testing, there’s only one I feel gives the best results for paints where sheen is important. ICI Gripper does not dry flat and its absorption in to new drywall is minimal.

Primers are often said to be a miracle product. Paint reps tend to think of primer as a foundation to a successful paint finish. Yeah well, let me tell you – that is a bunch of BS! Paint reps tell you they provide a better bond, they minimize porosity in drywall etc. A paint rep once told me that primer will stop nailpops. Holy smokes that is amazing!

Do you know what wall primer in fact does? Primer wastes your time and your money AND some primers will even add more work to your project or even worst, cause unforeseen new problems. For example, loss of sheen. Did you know that of all 12 primers, only ICI Gripper maintained sheen level. Other primers require 3 top coats to achieve full sheen. Most primers will suck up sheen like crazy even the ones that advertise "HOLDS GLOSS"… my ass it holds gloss. Seriously, who is testing these products?

I got banned from an online paint message board (idiots)before I could answer back on this topic. Apparently there are some painters who feel threatened when you come to the table with information they never heard of or information that sounds absurd. I understand, I do, just remember – until you go through what I went through product testing 12 primers over two years, I would suggest you take my word for it.

Some of my worst issues with painting in my 30 years experience have been due to failure of primer but not only with drywall. I am uncertain if the primer itself is failing or the primer is failing to do what it’s advertised to do. I don’t care really either way. The bottom line is, wall primer is useless.
 
Some of my readers may be aware of the tread on a certain message board. The answer is this: The paint I talked about ICI 1410 sticks better to new drywall and taped drywall joints than any of the 12 primers I tested. You can apply a piece of masking tape to new drywall primed with your favorite primer and pull the tape and primer and paint off the wall. And please save me the "you didn’t prep it right" BS.

Coming soon – How to treat or not treat new drywall