what happened? primer running off/streaking off wall!

mommabirdOctober 15, 2012

This evening I painted a small wall in my kitchen with Kilz latex primer. The wall was painted red before, with latex eggshell paint. I wanted to prime it before I paint it a different shade of red, so the older, darker red doesn't interfere with the new color.

HOLY SMOKES! I went in the kitchen about 15 minutes after finishing. The Kilz was running off/streaking off the entire wall! It looked like something out of a horror movie! I grabbed a handful of paper towels, wet them, and started scrubbing it so the wall didn't dry uneven. I spent about 1/2 an hour and a whole role of paper towels, but I finally scrubbed it all off. The process did leave a very thin layer of Kilz on the wall so hopefully I can try to re-prime tomorrow and it will stick to that layer.

What did I do wrong? I thought latex-on-latex is OK. Should I have used oil based primer? Was it because the old paint was eggshell? Is that too much of a sheen for the Kilz to stick?

I appreciate any help. I don't want to make the same mistake again!

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Did you CLEAN the wall first?
Did you SAND the wall first?
Pitch the Kilz crap and go to a real paint store and buy the appropriate primer for the job
The people working there will give you all the help you need.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:56AM
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No, you don't need an oil based primer. And lots of people use Kilz products.

Especially given that it is a kitchen, it sounds like there may have been something on the wall that stopped the primer from attaching. Even if you don't do any deep frying, it seems as if oils still manage to get on walls. You should have cleaned and lightly sanded the eggshell paint to give the primer something to grip onto.

Kilz makes both a latex and an acrylic primer. I don't know when you would use one versus the other. A call to them would not hurt:
For Technical Service:
1-866-PRIMER-1 (866-774-6371)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Thanks for the replies. I did wash the wall first but I didn't sand it. It sounds like I should have sanded it down before putting the primer on.

I've used Kilz for years in many different areas of my home and never had a problem before. I have always been happy with that brand of primer because its thick and very highly pigmented.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

To each their own.
I get paid to paint peoples homes. Have been doing it successfully for almost 30 years. I do not use Kilz primers, except for the original oil, that one actually works well, the rest of them, not so much.If you all are happy with it, thats all that counts.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Christopher - can you tell what brand you use? I am willing to buy another brand to get this wall to turn out nice.

I wondered if the fact that the wall was painted red mattered. I know there are different bases for different colors. Would something in the red base have caused this?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 6:03PM
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More to the point-

* What exact product, brand/liquid/powder, was used to wash the wall??
* Was it rinsed (if directions required it)??
* Which exact Kilz-Latex(?) primer was used??
* Normally, a lower-sheen like Eggshell doesn't need sanding. It's just not that shiny!
* Existing color makes no difference....SHEEN does!

I'm willing to bet here that it's a cleaner issue...!


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

As Faron and graywing said getting the wall prepped properly is the REAL issue.
Personally, I use Zinnsers 123 for most any priming( but each situation is different)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 5:49AM
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I suspect that a large portion of the population uses paint as a substitute for cleaning. While I have never been a painting contractor, I have done quite a lot while rehabbing properties. In a few instances, a good cleaning revealed that repainting was not needed.
Without cleaning, the new paint is adhered to a coat of dirt and grease.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 7:34AM
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I got the Zinnsers primer yesterday. It is great! The wall looks wonderful. Thanks so much, Christopher n, for that advice.

At the hardware store the Zinnsers display had a chart comparing it to Kilz. In the 'adhesion' line, Zinnsers was "excellent" and Kilz was 'poor.' I can attest to that fact! The Zinnsers adhered very well and covered the red wall 100%. It seems even more saturated with pigment than Kilz. I have a new favorite brand now.

AND it was significantly cheaper than Kilz!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

There you go!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

I seriously doubt the primer was the problem. Lack of prep was the problem. Applying another coat of primer over a poorly prepared wall will always improve the condition.

I use Zinsser 95% of the time, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable or works better over a dirty wall.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

What he ^ said is very true

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 4:40AM
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You should have tinted the primer though towards grey or red. Thinking that you need to go back to white is really the wrong logic. A red will have the hardest time covering a white than any other color.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Mamabird, that's quite a story regarding the paint that didn't adhere to your kitchen wall. Without doubt, grease/grime was the culprit. For what it's worth, I use a micro-sponge to clean my walls and ceilings in preparation for painting. It's shocking how much invisible dirt comes off on the sponge! After that, I wash walls and ceiling with Soilax, an old time product known to facilitate paint adhesion. The Soilax label claims that one washing is sufficient for excellent paint adhesion, but I seldom wash the walls/ceiling less than three times. This might sound like overkill, but it works.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 7:42PM
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