Advice on latex vs. oil over oil-based interior?


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Old 04-17-06, 08:09 PM
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Advice on latex vs. oil over oil-based interior?

First of all, thanks for the great resource. Now on to the questions...

We have recently bought a 125 year old house that is painted throughout with what we've confirmed is an oil-based paint. The house has had 2 owners in it's history and it looks as though most of the rooms have only got 2 layers of oil-based paint. I have not yet had them tested for lead.

We are about to repaint the entire interior - about 1200 sq. ft. - but are unsure about the best way to proceed.

I have always dealt with latex in the past and am just beginning to come to grips with what the ramifictions are with oil-based paint. We have recently learned that the primer we would use to be able to make the switch over to latex is pretty expensive and, as a result, I am contemplating sticking with oil-based - although I am nervous about working with it (the fumes and the percieved cleaning hassle).

We don't move in for another 2 weeks, which means we won't have to breathe the fumes other than when we are painting, but I'm concerned about cleaning and handling the solvents that go along with an oil-based job.

I'm contemplating taking the easy route and getting a contractor to come in and do the oil-based primer and then handling the latex ourselves. That does seem like a bit of a cop out though.

I suppose I'm looking for stories or advice from folks who have faced a similar situation and anyone who could help me to flesh out the pros and cons.

Also, any advice on dealing with cracked areas on the old, possibly lead based paint? I was about to attack with sandpaper before I realized that these surfaces are old enough to present a risk of lead content.
 
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Old 04-18-06, 05:04 AM
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In most states lead paint can be 'encapsulated' by latex (EPA approved)
Flat paints generally do not contain lead
The dangers of lead are in the dust and consuming the actual chips
You should be able to get a lead test from a local paint shop

I think I'd recommend using latex if you are going to DIY it
The proper primer shouldn't be that expensive...or maybe that's just our perspectives-what are you planning to use?

There's nothing wrong with contracting just primer
If you find you do have lead in the walls, they'll know better how to make the primer stick w/o sanding (or safely sanding)
 
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Old 04-18-06, 10:18 AM
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I also recomend priming with a solvent based primer. This way you only have to mess with oil [or shellac] 1 time and can properly recoat with latex.

While solvent based primers are more expensive than their latex counterpart they shouldn't cost any more than a quality flat latex finish paint. Any paint as old as yours would likely need 2 coats of paint anyway so it doesn't really cost more to use the proper primer. As long as the walls are realitively clean I wouldn't expect there to be any problems with primer adhering to the walls.

If the alligatored paint is securely bonded to the wall you can skim it with joint compound to smooth it out. If it is loose and contains lead, use prudent precautions to safely remove it [or have a lead abatement specialist do it]
 
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Old 04-18-06, 02:03 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys.

On the priming front, I'm getting competing recommendations from competing paint shops.

One shop is recommending Benjamin Moore's Alkyd Enamel Underbody (the one that seems exceptionally expensive to me).

Another is now telling me that I should be fine with Benjamin Moore's latex Fresh Start primer. I much prefer this option as it's less expensive, and I only have to deal with latex for primer and color - no varsol and turps. Also it looks like our floors won't be done in time for me to paint walls before moving day, so the fewer fumes the better as we'll be living in the house by the time the primer goes up.

Any reservations to going the Fresh Start route?

Marksr, are you saying I might need to go with 2 coats of primer? My plan was to repair the cracks, clean all with TSP then go with one coat of primer followed by 2 coats of color.

I have bought a home test kit to check for lead tonight. In the event that I do have lead, will Fresh Start serve as a good enough seal to encapsulate the lead paint?

What are the differences between all of these primers? There certainly are a lot of options...

Thanks again guys.
 

Last edited by Lunenbahgah; 04-18-06 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 04-18-06, 07:54 PM
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Well, they're all Fresh Start products

I'm not sure where the latex guy is coming from, I suppose it's possible that the latex FS could go over old oil
It's really not often one runs across this (oil on the walls), and I would tend to use a process I'm familiar with (which in this case, SOP would be a solvent-based primer)
Truthfully I've not heard of someone using the FS latex in this type of situation

Now the Fresh Start Enamel Underbody, that's literally a primer for under enamel paint
It is solvent-based, and if you are top-coating with enamel, probably a good idea

The Fresh Start Oil-based (Alkyd) is what I would think they would recommend, and no-one has yet?
 
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Old 04-18-06, 09:55 PM
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I was just in BM today and they also reccomended Fresh Start Latex primer to go over oil. However, I'm thinking about using a 100% acrylic (General Paint) as it states right on the label that it will adhere to oil.
 
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Old 04-19-06, 08:27 AM
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The documentation for BM's Fresh Start Acrylic Latex states that it is:

"Ideal for painting over oil based coatings with a latex"

http://www.benjaminmoore.ca/pdfs/tds/nonav/en/023.pdf [PDF]
 
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Old 04-19-06, 09:23 AM
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[QUOTE=Lunenbahgah]Marksr, are you saying I might need to go with 2 coats of primer? QUOTE]



1 coat of primer is almost always sufficent. IMO solvent primer should always be used over interior oil base as it has a proven track record. If the primer is tinted close to the finish color, 1 coat of latex should cover well.
 
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Old 04-19-06, 02:42 PM
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Zinsser Cover Stain would also be an excellent (oil-base) primer.
 
 

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