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Even coverage is everything

Obviously, in an ideal world, one would cover everything with a thick coating in one pass.

No, I'm not talking about how our famously free press covered the primaries, I'm talking about latex paint!

Bringiton's theory, if I don't mis-state, is that latex paint, being water based, really is like water color, and that one gets even, rich color by laying down coat after coat, like thin glazes.

In the abstract, he's right. And if I'm painting a room for me, that's how I'd do it. But if I'm painting a room as a quasi-commercial proposition, the labor on multiple coats is killing me. Two coats, max, should lead to even coverage -- even when laying down a lighter color over a darker. Is that possible?

Leading me to roller technique. I did my first work on unpainted, bare drywall (with the Zinnser B-I-N-S!) and the drywall seemed to soak the primer up, plus the primer, being shellac-based, was very drippy.

So, the only way I could work with the roller was to really work the primer down into the surface, and keep rolling all of the "ridges" left by the roller edges were flattened out.

I then carried that technique over to the latex -- work the paint into the surface, keep the coat as thin as possible, with the side effect that thin coats mean no ridges.

So we come to the current room, where I'm painting lighter (like semolina) over darker (like mustard). I used the thin glaze technique for the first coat, but the coverage was uneven. When I tried the same technique for the second coat, coverage remained uneven. So, rather than multiple passes over the surface, I tried for minimal passes with a thicker coat, always rolling into the wet edge. Seems more successful, but also uses more paint.

Readers, thoughts?

NOTE As soon as you figure out that paint equals money, the advantages of painting with a Zen-like calm, with no drips, spills, or mess, become evident. Being calm helps when lining in the borders between colors, too. (Tape also equals money.) I tested my new-found skills by painting the wall under some cabinets with brushes and rollers -- over a formica countertop with no dropcloth or newspaper. Not a drop lost!

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Lighter over darker is tough. For me - and I thought we discussed this - the key is to tint the BIN and if the first coat shows through, apply a second coat of primer.

Two coats of latex topcoat should then be enough, unless they're not, and then a third will be needed. Depends on too many factors to predict.

All I've written about is for DIY projects; if you want to go commercial, the considerations are quite different and I'm not going to be much help. Commercial house painters, like every capitalist business, depend on getting the job done quickly and cheaply with just the barest margin of acceptablilty. The goal is to get by and leave a job that will initially please but then fail, ensuring repeat business. My goals, for my own purposes, are different.

Good on you for your steady hand and Zen attitude. Calm is good, for saving paint and cleanup effort and for blood pressure. Very pleased to read of that progress.


Submitted by lambert on

I didn't prime, since the wall was already painted (i.e., not drywall). Is your argument that one coat of primer and one coat of color would do the job, when it's light over dark?

I said "quasi-commercial" -- it's the house I live in, but I'm painting rooms for rental. So, maybe I'm being a bit contradictory, but I want it to look good, but also not lose my shirt painting rooms I'll probably have to repaint and repaint.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Or is it neocommercial?

(Don't you hate the way neo- is getting stuck in front of everything? Becoming like -gate which long since passed ridiculous beyond measure. Neogate. There; done with both of them.)

Where were we? Ah, yes; priming. I always primer with tinted BIN. Yes, it reduces the number of topcoats required to get the desired outcome, and it also greatly improves adhesion. Less chance of peeling means less need for repainting. In high moisture areas, like a bathroom or kitchen, or areas where grease buildup will have penetrated the old paint - again in the kitchen - I always use tinted shellac to seal the old paint in place, secure adhesion and prevent bleed-through even if the color is the same.

Light will penetrate into and through the new paint, and that reflection is what we see as color bleedthrough from whatever is beneath. The titanium oxide in BIN reflects most of that light, hiding the old paint better than without. Adding a tint helps the topcoat hide the white TiO. You may or may not get away with a single topcoat; the way I paint, with a fairly dry roller and brush, I always figure on two topcoats and often lay on a third - but when I'm done, the color pops off the wall and is absolutely true.

Kitchen and bath, use a high gloss finish. Much easier to clean, which means the renters may be tempted to clean more often. Whether they do or not, it will be easier for you to clean when they move out. If you're going to repaint in the future, again use TSP and then BIN even if the color is the same as before.

Good luck with that rental thing. I've rented out properties before and what a disaster. I'll tell all after you get your space rented; if I tell you now, you'll lose your courage.