Best primer/paint for wood stair treads

templemorrisNovember 27, 2012

I'm going to paint the unfinished wood treads of our staircase, but have gotten conflicting advice about what to use for maximum durability. The guy at Benjamin Moore said to use Fresh Start Oil Based Primer, followed by BM Alkyd Porch and Floor.

A professional painter told me NOT to prime, saying it wouldn't dry hard enough. He rec'd a thinned coat of BM Porch and Floor, followed by 2 regular coats. HELP!

Do I prime or not? Any other advice re: typed of paint, brands, etc.?


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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Listen to the painter

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:47AM
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Christophern, Thanks for your reply. Can you explain why his advice is better? I'd really like to understand why I'm doing what I'm doing :)

Also, how much do I thin the paint? And with what?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:36AM
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I was told by a paint guy never to prime a foot traffic surface. It was something about primer not being designed for the type of twisty traction involved in shoes walking/scuffing around on flooring.
The newer floor paints are wonderously durable- I have an outdoor staircase and porch painted three years ago that still looks brand new, treads and all.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

What he, she, said^
as to thinning, it will tell you on the can
I would go with the Ben Moore

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Thank you both for taking the time to help me! Cearbhaill, what brand of paint did you use on your porch? I have to paint that too...
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I used Ben Moore Floor and Patio paint for my wood front porch floor in late summer. It hasn't been on long enough to evaluate it, but so far so good.

I would have preferred to use the alkyd version rather than this epoxy-reinforced latex, but it is not sold here. Interestingly, the can directions tell you to use primer, then the paint, and not to thin it. But the people in the Ben Moore store told me to simply thin the paint with water and use that as the primer, so that's what I did.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:57AM
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My porch paint is Sherwin Williams Porch and Floor Enamel.
Only because Benjamin Moore is too far away :) and the old timers at my very close SW store are extremely helpful.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:42AM
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