To prime or not to prime has been a hot topic of conversation for many years since the avid and beginner do-it-yourselfer has been following the home trend of recycling old furniture into new looks. Many products have hit the marketplace claiming “no priming” needed, and this is true for the adhesion aspect of these products. However, for those of us who have been painting furniture for decades, we know that some old furniture we desire to transform has led a dark life before we have required it. Who hasn’t had that table or sideboard you’ve been dying to rescue and cover all those imperfections, only to be disappointed by a recurring stain or bleed through that just won’t go away, regardless of how many layers of latex paint you tried to heap on?
Priming with big box hardware store primers wasn’t the answer you wanted, since most of the time distressing and ‘speed-aging’ is the look we all love, and seeing the white primer underneath just didn’t cut it. Many of us resorted to shellac to seal these problems, but that just doesn’t smell good at all. Waxes were also used to avoid surfacing any stains, but most are difficult to manipulate and don’t offer enough protection, along with needing to be reapplied over time. And so we got discouraged and felt defeated, now what?
Clear Primer to the rescue! Shabby Chic® Paint by Rachel Ashwell line of products now offers a Clear Primer. It is easy to use, ultra-low VOC, and goes on smooth and quickly.
After cleaning your piece thoroughly, simply brush on Clear Primer, covering all surfaces that you will be painting. Multiple coats can be used to block stubborn stains. If you miss any areas while painting, and a bleed through continues, Clear Primer can be applied directly over the offending stain to block, before repainting as needed.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding priming or not:
Why do we even get bleed through and staining while painting? The pieces you are coating contain water-soluble tannins, some treated with water-soluble dyes and others with water-soluble wood treatments. All these water-soluble moieties, if not frozen by a specially designed stain blocker, are very mobile and will seek water. They will seek water first in the paint, then when you apply a waterborne finish all these water-soluble moieties will travel even more to the top of the paint, producing brown spots.
How do we stop it? Our waterborne Clear Primer uses hydrophobic latex, the stain initially will go into the primer but after the water evaporates the water-soluble stain will get “frozen” or “arrested” within a hydrophobic (water hating) matrix of latex. Now, the water-soluble moieties are surrounded by hydrophobic polymer and therefore lose their mobility. They go nowhere, hence the stain is blocked.
Do I have to prime everything I paint? Of course not! First, many pieces won’t bleed and you can paint and go on your merry way. The more you clean your piece, this does help to remove the dirt that causes some problems. Also, painting over previously painted old finishes will not produce a bleed and are best if left alone and not sanded, as many were done with lead-based paint. Second, sometimes a little bleed through can add to the look if you desire a distressed, aged and authentic look. Lastly, most people want to paint over wood and many have tannins and stains in the wood that will bleed and discolor any water-based paint that is used.
Why clear primer? As stated, most of us are looking to age and distress or newly painted piece to achieve an authentically old look. A clear primer enables you to distress through your paint, and still see a desired wood tone under your finish that adds to the beauty of the look.
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Blog post and photos provided by Bungalow 47 Distribution