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Latex paint

After a splendid undercoating with Bringiton's Zinnser B-I-N shellac-based primer -- and what, after all, are a few brain cells lost to the fumes when what's at stake is a really smooth surface -- I laid down the first coat of color today, and had an insight of a sort. (This whole process is hard for me, since my father taught me how to paint when I was a kid, and the last time I did any real painting what my father taught me was still true; but not so now.)

Work with me on this:

Oil-based paint is like oil painting.

Water-based paint (latex) is like water-color.

Painting with oil is all about pushing the paint into the surface (canvas or wall) so that it bonds; it will then smooth itself out. It's possibly, and because of labor, desirable, to get the final color done in one pass over the primer.

Painting with latex is like water-color: The color is built up with a series of thin washes, one over the other. It's not about bonding with a surface at all. If there any brush-strokes show, you've laid it on too thick. Ditto rollers: In fact, I'm evolving toward a "dry roller" technique that puts the absolute minimum film down. Different from oil, again, where the object is to get a maximum down.

So, the trade-off, leaving aside the environment, is oil, fewer coats but nasty clean-up; latex, more coats but much better cleanup -- and probably, since the applicator of choice for latex seems to be not the brush, but the roller (or even, shudder, the spray gun), one coat of latex goes on faster than one coat of oil.

Don't know, I'm not a professional...

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I accept no liability.

Not to worry about losing a few brain cells, only the weak ones die and then you grow new ones. What could go wrong?

It is so very different, but in a good way. I don't miss oil-based wall paint, not one little bit. Thinner coats but more of them is the ticket. After you feel more comfortable you'll add more paint to the roller - there is a Goldie Locks level. Have fun, post photos.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

other half recommends better rollers. You want to get 1/8 or 3/8 inch nap roller cover. He says lay the paint in an X shape, in a 4x4 sq ft box. Then fill in the box. Blend the wet part of the paint into the next box. If you are working down the wall, the bottom edge of the box needs to be wet, when you begin the next box down. If you are working up, leave to top edge wet.

Hope this helps!

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

You can't imagine how confused I was reading this and the morel. I thought, my god, Larry's gone soft on me.

Now, that I've recovered. It's nice reading all this late at night. :)

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

Details. I'm trying to figure out what shade of red to paint my dining room. I found one I like but it's $88 a gallon. Figures.

I think I need one of those color consultants because I'm so design impaired.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

It's about $40/gal, and they'll mix it to any color you want.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

Even if it comes from another brand? Hmmmm.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

that their computer can automatically mix, but they can adjust the tint to get the color you want.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by lambert on

I am using that brand, and a premium brand, though I can't tell if it's aura, because -- silly boy, paint is money -- I've got dripping down the side of the can. And I can see that if my roller skillz were perfect, I could get the job done in one coat (given the superb Zinsser shellac-based primer bringiton advised me to use....)

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Why skimp? What's the point? If you're going to go to the trouble to paint a wall, don't you want it to look good great fabulous? Two coats. Sometimes three.

One coat will never give the coverage of two coats, plus you have to fight it the whole time you work with it. Sketchy coverage with bonus frustration. Yay!

I'm not a professional painter, but my uncle was. Actually, he was an artist, but that's tough to make a living at so he painted houses for cash and landscapes for joy. When one of his drunken helpers would bail I'd sometimes get drafted; you can learn a lot from a crusty uncle, eight hours at a stretch, even when you hate being there. I became a fanatic about the prep work, makes all the difference in the final outcome, and a lesson that as it happens applies to much of life. Many things would have gone better than they did had I only spent a little more time on the prep.

After the primer dries, and you've sobered up, the finish coat is easiest to apply with a relatively dry roller - as in saturated but not dripping - and then - another of life's little secrets - adjust your expectations downward; don't anticipate complete coverage. Think of this coat as another layer of primer, another step on the road to glory.

If you give yourself this permission, that it is OK to not get complete coverage on the first finish coat, a chore becomes a pleasure. You can hustle right along, not worried about every little spot or swath of less-than perfection, knocking out huge sections of wall in just a few minutes, feeling real damn good about how its all going. Plus, fewer drips.

I'm an "M" man myself, for the starting pattern. I know, there are some people who think that a "W" is better; I'm sure they are earnest and sincere and overall perfectly fine folk, but I simply can't agree. Think of "M" for Magnificent and "W" for George Bush, and I think you'll see my point. I have Canadian friends who insist on a “Zed” but that is, I'm sure, just cultural obstinacy.

The second finish coat is like sex with an established lover, smooth and nearly effortless as you're consumed with the sheer pleasure of a thing done right. Take your time, all the little flaws from the first coat disappear and perfection emerges. The evenness and freedom from defect that you'd have to fight for with one coat will simply appear on its own with two. Joy, that's what two coats will bring you.

With some dark colors over light, or light over very dark, I think a third coat is the right thing to do. Especially in a room that gets a lot of light, because the rays will penetrate a little ways into the paint before they reflect and leave the color less than true. The third coat, although it may seem superfluous, is the difference between a merely great-looking paint job and one that pops, one where the color is just what you wanted it to be. One that people see for the first time and say “Oh, now that looks nice!”

Make sweet love to the wall; give it every consideration, don't skimp on preparation, take your time and be thorough - lay on that extra coat. When it’s done, you'll both be satisfied.

Enjoy. Send pictures.