Brushed Finishes for On-Site Work

December 1, 2009

I currently do a lot of projects that require a final site brush coat of an oil base paint. To this point I have sprayed, with an airless system, one primer coat of Zinser gold label primer, one sprayed oil base top coat, then apply the final coat with a brush onsite with all the appropriate prep work. I am interested in lacquer based primers or waterborne and then brush the top coat on site with the oil based paint. Any thoughts on what primer to use and perhaps color matched lacquer second coat? I'd like to be able to do 1 brushed coat onsite without touching the backs of doors.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
Do I understand that you want to brush on a final coat of lacquer in the field? The Zinser primer is about as fast at drying as any lacquer based primer, maybe a hair slower but not much. Itís been my experience that brushing a lacquer coating is nearly impossible even with a lot of retarder added to it. What exactly are you trying to accomplish by changing the way you currently applying your finish?

From contributor S:
I believe he wants to finish on site with oil based. My question is, if you're interested in going waterborne, why not go waterborne for the final coat? What are you painting? Kitchen cabinets or millwork or?

From contributor G:
Using water primer for wood is not real good because of the natural oils in wood will bleed through. If youíre finishing with oil base youíll be fine, but using a water base finish can cause the bleed through to continue through the finish coat. I recommend using a colored lacquer primer or the primer you are using now. The use of oil for finishing cabinets is ok. Hopefully you donít mind the fact that they can discolor as quick as six months. I recommend breakthrough paint which is a water base paint that is fast drying and has good color retention and is also brushable (if youíre fast). Itís very easy to spray with airless or HVLP at 25% reduction. I have done about 800-900 kitchens with this product and never had the need to repaint on site as it drys real hard like a baked enamel. Minor touch ups are all I have ever had to do.

One more thing - if you spray onsite do very thin coats on vertical surfaces until you get used to how the product will work in the climate youíre in.

From contributor A:
Zinsser "gold label" is Coverstain. That primer is slow drying and doesn't sand well. It was designed for oil based house painting where you don't do much sanding. Zinsser BIN white shellac primer is a much better choice. It dries in 15 minutes and sands pretty well.
A lot of guys have had good results with BIN and Muralo Ultra waterborne house paint. It brushes better than any other waterborne. It dryís fast enough that you could field brush two coats in one day easily. It also sprays very well. Field brushing with a decent oil based paint like BM Impervo gives very good results as far as looks. The durability and dry times are a pain.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the replies. The reason I would like to change the products I'm spraying is because I'm not getting the results I'd like. I'm using a 309 tip on a good airless system. This finish is going on kitchen cabinetry. I'm a cabinetmaker and have never been trained as a finisher, getting most of my info from word of mouth and forums such as this.

I found with the Zinser gold label that there is some orange peel affect that requires way too much sanding to get out. It could be any number of problems, operator included. Also, I want to get out of spraying oil based paints (I have been using Ben Moore) as it makes quite a mess. I like the final finish a brushed oil base paint leaves.

I don't like the dry time of oil base. I don't mind it in the field since it isn't going anywhere but with my turnarounds I need to get it out of the spray room and installed quickly. There are always trouble spots that get mushed or finger printed requiring more prep in the field.

Ultimately, the final look/result we are going for is a seamless, fine brushed finish with a satin sheen. I'm not married to any particular products. I will look into the Muralo Ultra. What tip is recommended with an airless sprayer? How much thinning and of what should I use with this product?

From contributor S:
Muralo Ultra Satin will give you all you are looking for and more. It can be tinted to any BM color. It sprays and brushes beautifully once you learn its tricks. If you want brush marks you will have to make it leave brush marks by doubling back as it naturally lays out silky smooth. Experiment on a sample first and you'll get it down in no time. For prep use Muralo Spackle and water based Universal Primer. I can't help you with the airless tip.

From contributor A:
The problem with the primer is that it is not designed to be sprayed in quality manner. It would be just about the worst choice of primer. You cannot orange peel BIN unless you applied an 1/8" wet. I will be using the BIN, Spackle, Muralo Ultra system, tomorrow on a seamless window seat installed in an alcove.

From contributor P:
Try doing all the finishing in the shop, where you can lay things flat. I use Sherwin Williams primer, white vinyl sealer tinted to color of choice. You can stop there, but I put on clear coat after the color coat. Doing all the required sanding makes it easier, faster, better.

From contributor J:
To contributor P: who tints your white vinyl sealer - SW Chemical Coatings division, SW Industrial division, SW Retail store, or other?

From contributor P:
Well if itís a large amount or a dark color I'll let SW do it and then make slight corrections when I get it. They donít see color as I do. I've been a colorist for 30 years. On smaller batches I'll tint myself using 844 tints that SW gives me.

From contributor J:
Thank you contributor P. We are planning to open up a sister company in an area not serviced by a decent coatings distributor, so I'm looking at options besides our current SW Chemical Coatings making our pigmented CVís. I suppose we will have to consider tinting vinyl in house.