Paint it white
November 12, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

We painted over stained woodwork, but the stain is showing through. Where do we go from here?

We just spent the afternoon painting the woodwork in our dining room. We used an Acrylic Satin Enamel from Hallman Lindsey in white, we were painting over old stained woodwork. We used a paint sprayer. Here's what everything looked like before

Here's where we are at now

Door. Close up.

The paint is white, but what we've got is a cream-ish yellow inconsistent color. We have done several coats with the sprayer. We would like to get this to white. Now having read a little bit online, it seems like potentially using a stain blocking primer might have been a good idea, but we didn't. Can we still? Should we just wait for this paint to cure and then go over it again? Is there something else we should do?
posted by mjcon to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you just need more coats. I painted some stained wood in one room. I did the first side without a primer, and it took five coats. The rest I did with a primer first, and it just took two coats after the primer.
posted by lollusc at 3:36 PM on November 12, 2011

(And your close up is pretty much exactly what my first side looked like after two coats (and still after three, I think.))
posted by lollusc at 3:37 PM on November 12, 2011

From your description, you just painted it? Without primer, or anything?

To paint over stained wood, first use a primer, THEN paint. Some primers are made specifically for painting over stained wood to seal in the stain so it doesn't bleed through.

Don't just paint on more coats of paint! If the stain was oil-based, your acrylic paint is just going to flake off. Seriously, do not do this. You will cry. (I have cried.)

I'm not sure if you can now put primer over your paint or if the acrylic-over-stained-wood will just cause flaking. If that's the case, you're going to have to remove the paint, possibly by using a fine-grit sandpaper. If not, or you're not willing to touch a sander, consider lightly hand-sanding the gloopier areas and then putting on an oil-based primer. After that cures, then paint white.

The Young House Love blog has my favorite DIY on painting wood paneling.
posted by juniperesque at 3:48 PM on November 12, 2011

You can still do a coat of primer but more coats is in your future. The primer + two top coats. Make sure its stain blocking. You can always take a chance and just go with 2 or 3 more coats and see how it turns out. I might do a test on one area to see how many more coats its going to take to get the look you you want.
posted by saradarlin at 3:50 PM on November 12, 2011

I wouldn't suggest putting more coats on it to see if it covers, because suppose it doesn't. Then you're looking at having to prime over three freshly-painted coats, then put the finish coat(s) on it. If I had to get it painted this weekend, I would scuff/sand the large flat areas (door, face of the moulding), then apply a stain-blocking primer, then shoot the finish coat of enamel. This only sounds reasonable to me because it looks like the coat you put on might have been a bit light to start with (little overspray around the edges).

The red flag for me is that you would be priming over fresh enamel which may take longer to cure. The best advice is to contact the rep at the paint store and get their advice on cure time, which primer to use, etc.
posted by klausman at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2011

Don't put more coats without primer; it likely won't work. Even if it works for a while, six months or a year later the paint will soak in and the stains will start showing through again.

You can put primer over paint without sanding. Our house when we moved in had lots of white-painted pine that hadn't been primed, so all the knots and wood grain was showing through; the guy at the paint store suggested spot-priming with white shellac, letting that dry, then painting over that. Worked great.

I've never used a sprayer, just brush and roller, but I imagine it'd be about the same either way.

(He also suggested using a cheap brush for the shellac and then throwing the brush out, because it's a PITA to clean. Which was correct.)
posted by ook at 4:57 PM on November 12, 2011

We had the same problem, and we ended up using KILZ, which, true to its name, killed any of the stain showing through the paint.
posted by brownrd at 5:18 PM on November 12, 2011

Yeah, KILZ works great. Every time I've tried to paint over a stain that's been bleeding through, it's just kept on bleeding through (even after four or five coats!) until I hit it with the KILZ. It's made for exactly your situation and it works great. Comes in both oil-based and acrylic flavors.
posted by Scientist at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Professional painter here.. Everyone that's telling you to prime this is correct. The important part is to make sure you use an oil-based primer.. Even if you find a latex primer that claims to be "stain blocking" -- it's not, unfortunately. KILZ is a good choice cause it's fairly thin and will spray easily for you, but be careful not to over-apply cause it might run all over the place on you. You're definitely going to want to sand with hand-sand paper around 120 grit or so (or a medium sponge-sander..) and then vacuum off the dust before you hit it with your latex top coat.

For really nasty jobs you can look into an "adhesion primer," however, they tend to be difficult to apply and dry real thick and streaky. Anyways, I usually only use KILZ for smoke or water stains, and tend to stick with standard oil-based primers, quick-drying oil primers and white-pigmented shellacs for most jobs. Good luck.

ps. Don't, definitely DON'T try to get away with covering the staining with multiple coats. This job needs some oil primer...
posted by Glendale at 8:12 PM on November 12, 2011

Definitely use an oil based primer. We had the same problem as you, and used a latex primer, and it didn't block all of the stains. We tried an oil primer, and haven't had any issues since.
posted by markblasco at 9:48 AM on November 13, 2011

Thanks so much for your help! We used this primer over our other paint and ended up in pretty good shape!
posted by mjcon at 4:07 PM on November 13, 2011

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