Primers & Paints...

The Guide | Introduction | Paint Failures | Surface Preparation | Surfaces | Caulk
Primers and Paints | Stains | Maintenance | Colour | Painting Pointers

Many professionals and experts agree that anyone considering a painting project should use only top quality coatings. Top quality primers and paints provide better durability and coverage, are easy to apply, are excellent at resisting mildew, offer better colour retention and a longer lasting sheen, and provide great value in the form of lower long term maintenance costs. Cheap or low quality primers and paints are less durable than top quality primers and paints and fail prematurely due to changing temperatures. Surfaces and coatings expand and contract with changing temperatures, and low grade primers and paints do not adhere well to well-prepared surfaces. Early repainting becomes necessary when using inferior "bargain" and thinned primers and paints.
The two basic components of coatings are pigment and vehicle. The pigments provide colour and hiding power. Also found within the pigment group are titanium, calcium carbonate, and silicate. Titanium is used to form a film that bonds with paint binders (resin), and together they are responsible for adhesion, providing resistance against blistering, chalking and stains, and offer superior colour retention. Calcium carbonate smoothes the titanium out. Without the calcium carbonate, titanium would ball up. Silicates provide hardness. These three ingredients are essential to the pigments, especially titanium. The more titanium, the better the paint. Vehicle is the binder and thinner of the paint. The binder forms a film that holds the paint together. The most common binders found in residential coatings are acrylic latex, vinyl acrylic latex ( water base ), and alkyd ( oil base ) resin.

Always remember to never use one brand of primer or paint, over another brand of primer or paint. Manufactures may formulate their products differently causing adhesion problems. Repriming may be required when a specialty primer is needed. Always follow the manufactures suggestions on the products your considering.

Primers and Sealers
Primers and sealers are made with a high level of binders and are made to perform a variety of functions. All primers and sealers provide maximum adhesion for finish paints and make the appearance of the finish coat even and uniform, offer durability and mildew resistance, and seal surfaces to keep paint from being soaked up by the surface. Some specialty primers and sealers include those designed as stain blockers, rust inhibitors, vapor barriers, useful in rooms where moisture is present, and for bonding, useful for slick surfaces like glass, tile, Formica, or vinyl panels.

Latex primers and sealers may perform as well as oil primers and sealers except on severely stained and heavily chalked surfaces. Breathable alkyd primers and sealers offer far better adhesion than acrylic latex primers and sealers and are highly recommended for any paint project, including new or previously painted or weathered wood, or new or previously painted ferrous metals. Rust inhibited primers and sealers are highly recommended for metals. Breathable alkyd primers and sealers will also penetrate wood surfaces better than latex paints and are crucial for protecting wood from water, because the alkyd binders form a tighter film of paint. They should be top coated with one to two coats of acrylic latex finish paint to minimize the risk of water penetration and surface bleeding. This coating system also gives the longest term protection against chalking by protecting against the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Homeowners may want to consider tinting primers and sealers the colour of the finish paint. This will allow the finish paint to cover more easily.

Acrylic Latex Finish Paints
Acrylic latex finish paints dry quickly, provide great adhesion on new and repainted surfaces, exhibit better colour and gloss retention, offer better resistance from blistering, chalking, fading and mildew. Additionally, acrylic latex finish paints offer long term flexibility, giving better resistance to chipping, cracking and peeling, resist alkaline deterioration found in masonry, can be applied directly to galvanized metals without a primer (although a primer is highly recommended ), and will provide overall lower maintenance costs.

Vinyl Acrylic Latex Finish Paints
Vinyl acrylic finish paints are usually found in interior grade latex paints. Never use vinyl acrylic finish paints as a substitute for exterior paints or on masonry. The alkaline content in masonry will degrade vinyl acrylic latex finish paints and cause peeling.

Alkyd Finish Paints (Oil)
Alkyd paints offer good adhesion and can be applied at lower temperatures than acrylic latex paints. They provide excellent adhesion which is crucial for durability, especially on heavily chalked surfaces, and interior and exterior surfaces with multiple coats of paint. Alkyd finish paints are extremely durable on interior trim. Some disadvantages to alkyd finish paints when used on exterior surfaces are that they can get brittle and crack over time, they have a tendency to turn yellow, they take longer to dry than latex paints, and they do not hold colour retention or resist mildew as well as latex paints. However, alkyd finish paints are extremely durable on interior trim where they are not exposed to the weather conditions. Alkyd finish paints should never be used on new masonry or metals.

Paint Sheen
When homeowners are selecting a sheen for interior and exterior paints, they should consider how much use or weathering a particular area is going to get, and the look they are trying to achieve. Flat sheens are considered the least washable, and on exterior surfaces are not as mildew resistant as glossy paints, but they are the easiest to touchup. Flat paints are also great for hiding imperfections on surfaces. Glossy sheens are considered more washable than flats, but show touchup marks. Any level of gloss will show touchup marks and imperfections in the surface. The use of a top quality acrylic latex primer will help in reducing the sign of imperfections. Two coats of a non-yellowing polyurethane is highly recommended for interior surfaces, after painting is completed, for homeowners who want outstanding washability and durability. The durability of a non-yellowing polyurethane with eliminate the problems of touch ups and keep the final paint project durable and looking new for a long time.