Is primer necessary over oil-based paint when repainting?

NewEnglandSaraJune 24, 2014

Hi All,

We are remodeling a house that was built in 1941. The house has not been painted in years, and all of the trim is oil-based paint. We are going to be painting over it with zero-VOC paint by Safecoat. We are gathering estimates now, and the painting estimates are varying dramatically! Some painters have told us that we need to vigorously sand and prime the trim before it can be painted. Others have said that we just need a light sanding and no primer. I want to find a good price for the painting, but I also want to make sure that the work is good quality. Any input on the best way to handle painting over oil-based trim? (One painter also suggested using a chemical that roughs up the trim on its own, but I am not too keen on that idea since my husband has chemical sensitivities.)

Thanks in advance for your help!

Sara

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Lightly sand, clean, apply a quality bonding primer like ( Fresh Start, Zinsser 123) would be the BEST way

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 5:50PM
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paintguy22

I have painted over oil based paint without priming many times and it comes out just fine, but I sand very well so that the trim is totally dull. In the perfect world where everyone has unlimited money and time, priming is certainly the best route, but it's not required. The painter that wants to use the deglosser just wants to do that because he doesn't want to sand because that creates dust or isn't really a fun job. Sanding is better than deglossing in my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 1:06AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Sanding is better than deglossing in my opinion.

absolutely

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:02AM
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sjerin

Whoo boy, can I ever answer this. In our 18 years here we have painted three times, due to extreme peeling. The first guy insisted he had the answer, but his job lasted about 5 years. The second guy did as quick a job as possible and his lasted 6 months before it started peeling. Guy #3 seemed truly interested in our problem (original coating seems to have been oil-based,) so we are crossing out fingers that this is the charm. He blasted the heck out of the paint--it looked like it had snowed in June--then applied elastometric (proper name?) primer on the stucco before painting. This was not the trim but rather the body of the house, though that shouldn't make much difference. Better safe than sorry!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:15AM
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NewEnglandSara

Wow, this is all super helpful! It helps me narrow my decision on painters, even though the lower prices are tempting! I really want the paint job to last.

Thanks so much!

Sara

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Cheap price generally means cheap work.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:01PM
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rwiegand

Use an oil enamel to repaint and avoid the issue entirely. It will be easier to apply, look, and wear better to boot.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 2:02PM
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paintguy22

Oil paints yellow over time and are significantly harder to apply in my opinion.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:40AM
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vedazu

Just a comment--as a DIY I've almost always used oil on trim and cabinets,,,,and find it much, much easier to use...latex just dries so fast and it drags. And I have yet to see this yellowing that everyone talks about....maybe in 50 years, but most people repaint in less than 10 years, anyway.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 11:06PM
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wormgirl

I think the OP's issue is the husband is chemically sensitive, so oil paint would not be a viable option. My general opinion on trim is, it's a big pain to paint, so if you're going to bother painting it, use a neutral color and do a great job so it lasts forever!! I agree it needs to either be sanded or primed with a bonding primer. When I went over glossy oil painted walls, I used Zinsser Bulls-eye but it is oil based and stinky. With trim my tendency would be to sand. Good luck and let us know how the Safecoat works out! I can also recommend Glidden Professional Lifemaster as having zero Vocs and basically no odor!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:40PM
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LuisHinkle

According to me experience and knowledge I think you have to use both first sanding and after that premier before it can be trim. For the price of paint you must talk to painting contractor.

Here is a link that might be useful: painting company

This post was edited by LuisHinkle on Thu, Aug 28, 14 at 9:12

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 2:28AM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)

What about lead?! Oil based paint prior to the early 60's is likely to have lead in it, which in teeny tiny concentrations is very toxic. I'd be very careful about sanding or otherwise disturbing that layer of paint unless it has been tested and you are hiring professionals to take the proper precautions. You don''t want that stuff leaching in to your soil or into your air system.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 2:36AM
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Baby G (Z10, 300?CH, SoCal-LA)

What about lead?! Oil based paint prior to the early 60's is likely to have lead in it, which in teeny tiny concentrations is very toxic. I'd be very careful about sanding or otherwise disturbing that layer of paint unless it has been tested and you are hiring professionals to take the proper precautions. You don''t want that stuff leaching in to your soil or into your air system.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 4:12AM
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paintguy22

Your information is a little off. Prior to 1978, there is a 25 percent chance your home was painted with lead based paint. The older the home, the more likely lead based paint was used.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 7:48AM
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coll_123

I'm glad to know you guys don't like deglossers over sanding. I'm a professional decorative painter and always choose hand sanding on furniture pieces but have been tempted a few times to try a deglosser. I also agree that sanding and thoroughly cleaning trim in preparation is not a fun job, lol.

A few years back I had a client who had a paint crew come on and put latex over oil painted trim...absolute disaster....ended in a lawsuit.

I have pretty good luck with sanding and a bonding primer like 123 or C2... But a recently repainted a cabinet that had been done in oil and I did have some adhesion issues....I remember wishing I had just repainted the darn thing in oil.

I believe one of the companies makes a non smelly oil based primer now, but I tried one and didn't care for the way it laid out...brush strokes. 123 levels out nicely, which is why I use that a lot. I would think using an oil based primer would be another way to eliminate sanding, though. Many of the oil primers say they can be topcoated with latex. Which always seems odd to me too! Maybe because they dry to a flatter sheen, gives the latex something to grip.

I agree that the easiest thing is to thoroughly clean and repaint with oil like Ben Moore satin impervo, but aside for the yellowing factor, the op was considering a zero voc paint so oil is not gonna give you that....and the whole hassle of cleanup, of course.

Oh, and when you see a primer that says it requires no sanding- ignore that. If you want to ENSURE latex sticks over oil, sand, and clean well. I was lazy painting over my own oil trim with 123 primer, and where I sanded it stuck well, and where I omitted the sanding, it didn't.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 1:24PM
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NewEnglandSara

Thanks for the additional great tips! The painting starts next week, and this thread has been super helpful. :-)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 1:32PM
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