SW Proclassic Semi-gloss - too many brush marks, what to do?

snowangApril 18, 2014

My carpenter built two built-in bookcases with bottom cabinet doors for my basement and I researched high and low for a good paint that will come out smoothly and professionally. Based on the recommendations of many posts and blogs, I went with Sherwin Williams Pro classic semi-gloss water-based. My carpenter applied one coat of SW Premium Wall and Wood Primer, and two coats of the Pro classic, and sanded after each coat. He used the best brushes for this type of application (not sure of the brand). The result looked awful, with many brush marks. I went back to SW and got some XIM x-tender and a Purdy 2.5" brush. He tried adding a little to a lot of the x-tender and that didn't make much difference. The paint still goes on too thick and sanding (using fine sanding paper) doesn't seem to smooth it out. What other techniques should we try? Now that we've done 2 coats, would a third coat make any difference? Try spraying just for the doors (would be too messy for the frame but those aren't that visible in normal light)?

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    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 2:15PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Pro Classic is supposed to go on thick and it's self leveling. Over brushing it will leave brush marks.

The picture looks more like raised woodgrain than brush marks. What species of wood is that?

If those are brush marks, you'll need to wait for paint to cure (about 30 days) and sand it smooth before repainting.

Pro Classic has a learning curve. Don't hire carpenters to paint. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:01PM
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I think it's birch. Is it better to brush on and use a roller to smooth it after each stroke, to avoid overbrushing? The SW sales guy said it'll work but we haven't tried.
Thanks greatly for the advice to wait for curing. No wonder we couldn't sand it properly now. It's either me or the carpenter doing the painting and neither of us had used pro classic before. I hope we end up learning it, not giving it up :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:28PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I have ( not always) used the roller first and then brushed it , quickly

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 3:11AM
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In my opinion, the paint brush era is over. Modern day paints just dry too fast for you to be dipping your brush, brushing out an area, dipping again, etc. By the time you are travelling your brush to get more paint, it's already too late. It's hard for seasoned painters to use a brush and not get brush marks these days. I roll everything now. I use little 4 inch pro dooz sleeves, or Wooster velour or whizz rollers. Also, even though Pro Classic is marketed as self leveling, I find that it really isn't the best self leveling paint around. I struggle to get that paint to lay down, so I really can't imagine how hard it must be for a carpenter or a homeowner painter (same thing really). I have also tried XIM, and while many painters around the globe swear this helps, I find that it doesn't do anything to control brush marks. Also, I worry that once you have brush marks, they are there forever...not sure you can sand them out unless you go back to raw wood.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:48AM
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Paints nowadays really are terrible.
I haven't tried the ProClassic but did try the BM water Impervo which, I think, is about the same. It was like painting with pancake batter.

Anyway, I've been using BM Advance lately and it does level and flow better than those acrylics. (Using a microfiber roller). You can't dittle around with these paints. Put it on wet and keep moving. If you go back over it, your screwed. Seems the same with touchups after the coat is dried. Just doesn't blend right.

So, I really have no answers (other than buy or rent a sprayer). Paint nowadays sucks...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:56AM
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I'm an amature woodworker - been doing it for 50 years - I've applied a lot of finishes. IMO, the Sherwin Williams enamels I have tried (years ago) gave the same poor results as your pictures.

It seems to be 'sticky' paint. Never have liked the way it flows.

I'd wait a couple weeks, sand down the paint with a palm sander - 120 - 150 grit - and get a quality solvent based semi-gloss paint. Use a foam brush. You can save the brush for another coar by wrapping in foil or plastic.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Thanks for all your comments above! At least I know there are people out there sharing the same pain. I talked my husband into painting these built-in bookcases white instead of staining so they would match other white trimming, when he was skeptical about the brush marks and imperfections with painting wood. I promised to find a high quality paint for a professional look and thought I did when my research turned up so many people raving about ProClassic, including this one: http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/02/pedestal-table-with-overlays/
They made it sound so user-friendly and I believed.

I think I'm going to wait a few weeks and ask my carpenter to sand it. If we can get it back to a smooth surface, we'll use the roll and brush technique as you guys recommended and also described in this earlier post:

"I roll a line of paint down the length of the cabinet about 4-5" wide (about the width of the mini-roller), then go up and down a few times with the roller to make sure the area is fully covered. Then take your brush (the first time, get a little bit of paint on the end of the brush but not too much-a totally dry brush gums up a bit) and go from top to bottom or bottom to top once or twice at the most). Keep a very light touch with the brush and try to hold it more parallel to the surface than perpendicular. Then reload the roller and roll another strip, slightly overlapping the previous one, then brush. Continue until finished.
When dry, lightly sand with 220 grit, wipe clean and apply another coat. It goes very quickly. Just don't take a break until you've fully finished your surface because you want to keep a wet edge."

BTW, is this the correct 4" roller to us? http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wooster-Pro-4-in-x-1-2-in-High-Density-Woven-Fabric-Roller-Cover-0HR2780040/204354021

If we want to skip the brushing, would rolling alone almost always cause orange peel?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:55PM
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Paintguy, if you come back to this post - what would be YOUR recommendation for the easiest for the DIY'r?? Cabinet painting is in my near future, so just trying to learn all I can.

I did use the Pro-classic on a vanity and it turned out great, but I remember having to work fast and efficiently! No room for dilly-dallying :)

I was extremely pleased with the final product - i.e. hardness, toughness, cleanability so want to same quality end results, but if there is something easier, I want to hear about it.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Tuesday_2008, just curious, did you brush only? Any tips? Many thanks!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Yes - I used a good quality 2 inch angled brush (Wooster, I think). It was an older oak cabinet with the raised panel, arched doors and I really needed the angle brush. The first coat looked terrible as I was applying, but it truly is self-leveling. Second coat looked better immediately - I can't remember but I may have done three coats.

My daughter painted her cabinets after seeing my vanity and she used a small good quality foam roller as she had more flat surface. They turned out very nice....I think you can see a very subtle "stippling" from the roller, but still a very professional look.

I think I remember thinning the paint with just a tiny bit of water, which to the pros is probably a no-no. Floetrel is recommended but I didn't have any....googled quickly and read that water was OK. In the future, I will make sure I have Floetrel on hand should I need it.

Like I said earlier, I found it slightly difficult to use and would like to try something that might be easier, yet give top quality paint job.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:25PM
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I think it's hard to tell a DIY'er what to do because they paint differently than a pro. I pretty much roll everything I can now and do not backbrush. I just leave the slight stipple. The key there is to put the paint on heavy enough so that the stipple pretty much goes away, but as a pro, I know how to roll an area out and move away from it. DIY'ers tend to roll too much, or not put enough paint on so that the stipple will stay there after the paint dries. Also, I don't think that Pro Classic is the worst paint out there...I just think it's not the best at self leveling. If I were to use 10 cabinet type paints, the brushmarks or stipple left behind by the Pro Classic would be the most noticeable IMO. This means that for a DIY'er, brush marks would be totally unavoidable.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:16AM
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