Will water based primer raise oak grain?

kimmienfloridaSeptember 10, 2010

Will water based primer raise or swell the grain in oak?

I've read that oil based primers are better at covering oak grain over water base which tends to "swell" the grain.

Where would BIN fall within these two types of primers?

I will be painting my early 90s oak cabinets in the next few months. I planned to use a latex paint over the primer.

Not crazy about oil paint but if oil primer is better and gives a better result then I would go that route.



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Not an expert, but I've always thought that oil based primers are best for stain coverage. You won't get full grain fill coverage no matter what primer.

I used 2 coats of BM Fresh Start on my oak cabinets. Not sure if 2 were actually needed, but the first coat really soaked in. cheap enough and easy enough...

clean, sand and caulk first.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:12PM
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If you are painting over cabinets that were previously stained and poly'd, then the raising of the grain probably won't be much of an issue. Initially, when raw wood is primed, the grain will raise and the wood will become rough and needs to be sanded. After the primer is applied and the wood sanded smooth, it usually remains fairly smooth forever. Your issue with painting over previously stained cabinets is going to be adhesion though. BIN will stick the best, which is a shellac based primer. BIN does a very poor job at filling grain though. I think the only real way to get complete grain coverage is to skim coat or use some FPE Brushing Putty. Personally, I think painted oak looks just fine with the grain showing through, but some people don't.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Hi Kimmie -

Just noticed your post and must tell you that I have had FANTASTIC results with a product from Fine Paints of Europe called "brushing putty."

The stuff in unbelievable! It's specifically made for the problem you're up against - making sure that oak grain doesn't show through for your finish.

Check out the link Brushing Putty and put up a post so we can all see how you've done with it.

I'm sure it's the answer you are looking for. I've found this product to be extremely useful, especially when used in conjunction with their Hollandlac high gloss finishes. Note the gorgeous pictures on their site.


Here is a link that might be useful: Brushing Putty

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 8:12AM
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Thank you all for your input and I have decided to use BIN primer & latex paint.

I don't mind some of the oak showing through. I don't think I made myself clear enough on that.

I am trying to avoid the finish looking like a raised embossed oak look...if that make sense.

Thanks again!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:25PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Kimmie, did you finish you project? If so, do you have tips and pictures to share?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 3:06PM
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