Need help painting unfinshed wood

suzanne6August 1, 2009

Hi. My husband just finished getting one of two loft beds made for our daughters. I'm in charge of painting them. We used pine, totally unfinished wood. I want to do it right but am not sure what steps I need to take. I'm assuming I'll need to sand, prime and then paint (we're going with white). What I'm not sure of is what kind of sanding paper, primer to use and the steps involved. Any help would be much appreciated!

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It is very easy to over-sand pine. This can result in high and low areas around the annual rings. You do want to remove the mill (planing) marks, if any, that will give a washboard appearance. Sanding beyond 120 or 150 is pretty much overkill.

For a primer, I like BIN by Zinsser. It is a shellac-based primer. Shellac is the only thing that will keep the resins in knots from bleeding through the paint and leaving dark rings.

For paint, avoid latex paint at all costs. You can use a high quality w/b acrylic, but a better choice, if you can find it is oil-based paint. It will be harder and will flow out better. Adding Floetrol (for water-borne) or Penetrol (for oil-based) additives will also greatly help flow out. I would apply a couple of coats of paint after the primer.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 10:33PM
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I disagree that oil is a better choice. The difference is so minimal and the latex is a whole lot easier and less messy, why would anyone want to use oil base these days? Anyway, that's my opinion. If Suzanne is not a veteran painter, which she obviously is not having the need to post the question, I don't think she's going to want to start out with oil base paint. A good way to sour her on ever painting again.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 11:22PM
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Oil based was recommended due to the propensity of pine to cause latex paint to bubble/peel due to sap/moisture in the wood.

When I paint pine, I go a step further than oil lased and use an alkyd paint-----which is MUCH more difficult to apply than regular oil based paint.

The advice to use Penetrol will make the oil based much more user friendly.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Thanks for all your comments! After some discussion my husband thinks we should just stain the loft bed. He thinks painting it is going to be a real pain! Is staining pine a lot easier than painting pine? I am in the sanding stage right now so I have a few days until a decision has to be made.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Latex paint has one major problem : blocking.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 10:19PM
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Pine is prone to blotching, uneven absorption of stain due to local variations in density and grain orientation of the wood. This is particularly true of some of the consumer-grade stains, typically found in yellow cans. Some people recommend wood conditioners, I don't think they work all that well, especially so when used as directed (see link). A good gel stain might be a better choice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood conditioners

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 3:47PM
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