Painting Your Prepped Wood Furniture- Part 2
Now that your piece of wood furniture has been prepped and repaired, it is now time to prime it for paint! There are three basic types of primers. They are either oil based, water based (latex), or shellac based. All brands add this or take out that to make their products more appealing to consumers. We are just going over the basics here and I will recommend the brands I prefer from experience.
Let’s start with my preference, and my favorite brand, Kiltz Original oil based primer. Oil based is the standard for the industry and has been for years! Oil based primer is the only type that can be used with oil based and latex paint. It can be used on many surfaces such as painted or bare wood, metal, drywall, paneling, plaster, wallpaper, masonry, brick, and properly prepared glossy surfaces.
Oil based primer is also excellent at blocking heavy stains and odors. It blocks smoke, water, rust, tannin, ink, pencil, felt marker, and grease stains. It effectively seals smoke and pet odor. It is great at preventing further paint peeling, cracking, and blistering. It can be used on interior surfaces with no issues and exterior with a proper top coat. Oil based primer dries to touch in 30 minutes and can be recoated in one hour. Drying times vary due to humidity. Unfortunately the only drawback of it is it contains harmful vapors so use in a well ventilated area or use a respirator mask. Clean brushes with paint thinner. Kiltz Original dries to a smooth surface with excellent paint adhesion and usually only requires one coat! It costs around $15.98 for a gallon.
Latex primer is a water based primer mostly used on unfinished drywall before painting. It isn’t great for using on older stained wood furniture or previously painted wood. It is more flexible than oil based which can reduce the risk of peeling and cracking. Latex primer is typically used on soft wood, brick, concrete, and galvanized metals. Latex primer is preferred on drywall because it smoothes out the surface. It is effective at blocking minor stains. The benefit of latex is that it is low VOC and easy to clean without harsh chemicals.There is also an acrylic-latex primer that is more expensive that regular latex but works much better.
The third type of primer is shellac based. It is probably the best at stain and odor blocking and excellent for sealing wood. It is used on all the same surfaces as oil based and blocks the same stains. It is fast drying, highly adhesive, and can be used with both latex and oil based paints. The downside is shellac based primers are not as versatile as latex and oil based. It also gives off more fumes than oil based. Shellac based primer can be cleaned up with denatured alcohol. Now that you have primed, allowed it to dry, and lightly sanded if needed, it’s time to paint! Finding the right brush is about personal preference and how much you are willing to invest.
There are some really nice quality brushes $15+ and there are some that get the job done just as good for a fraction of that price! One of my favorite hardware stores is Harbor Freight. They have great brushes for less than a dollar a piece! Can’t beat that with a stick! I also am a fan of the cheap chip brushes you can get from most any hardware store. They seem to shed less than some other cheap synthetic ones. My two qualities for picking faves are minimal shedding and smooth application! Purdy, Wooster, Blue Hawk are three good brands you can buy from Lowes. Purdy being the higher end and Blue Hawk being the more affordable option. I also like an angle brush. For most small to medium projects I use a 1″-2″ brush and smaller specialty brushes for small details. I am not a fan of rollers or cheap foam applicators. I do like the thick foam brushes but they are still only good for one project.
There are many different paints out there. I want to keep this basic so let’s go with general types. Oil based paint, like any other product is best for wood. But, if you have used oil based primer to seal the wood, it won’t matter as much if you use oil or latex paint. Oil based paint of course has high VOCs which are those smelly toxic fumes. They have made oil based paint and other products that are slightly more environment friendly. Some cities have banned oil based paints from being sold so it is getting harder to find. Also for painting with a brush, oil based paint is not your best option! It is harder to work with and leaves brush marks. It is also not so fun to hand sand when dry. But it is much more durable than latex without a top coat. Latex paint is water based, a lot more environment friendly, much easier to work with. In fact, some companies now make it 100% VOC free. Better for people with allergies and health in general. Of course there are many varieties of water based paints. Just read your labels for what application your paint is used for. To keep the confusion to a minimum, just grab high quality interior house paint! I typically use Valspar from Lowes. Remember, they sell sample sizes for about $3 for small projects or to see if you like the color.
Now to pick your paint’s finish……well, it depends on what look you want. If you are going for a soft, shabby chic style or distressing, try a matte or satin. If you want a modern, sleek, and more durable look, try a semi gloss or gloss. Again the safe choice here is satin. You can always intensify the finish with your clear coat. There are glossy paints, like enamels, that wouldn’t require a clear coat. Paint in thin coats, allow to fully dry between coats, and pay attention to directions on the package! You may need to sand lightly with a fine sand paper between coats. Remember oil based paints require paint thinner to clean up. Always keep your surface clean and dust free before applying coats. Be aware of the climate you are painting in as it can affect drying times. Check my other posts for topics of specialty paints and faux finishes.
There are also many options for adding that protective clear coat to your piece. I have tried many myself and there are many I despise! So to keep it simple, the two I use most are polycrylic and wax. Minwax is an affordable brand that carries both of these that I have used and work well.
Clear furniture wax is best wiped on thin with a lintless cloth. You just use enough that the wood absorbs it. If it feels tacky after applying you have used too much. Take another lint free cloth and buff that thing with all you have (after it has dried to a haze). The more you buff, the more sheen. This leaves a soft look, water repellent, but not super protective against scratches and dings.
The better protection alternative I personally prefer is polycrylic. It is a clear, water based, top coat that dries hard. It doesn’t turn yellow like polyurethane so it’s better for painted surfaces. It comes in different finishes. Can be applied by roller (only for large surfaces), paint brush, foam brush, or sprayed. I will be writing a post on spray guns if you are interested in that application! Stay tuned And happy painting!