No, we aren’t going to start writing about snowboarding here. This is about the new generation of waterborne primers for wood. These primers are different from their oil based counterparts that most of us have used for decades.
Different in process, that is, but waterborne primers can be used to accelerate through the prep/prime stages and get to spreading paint faster, and get you to a finished product that is near indistinguishable from former systems that started with oil primer.
In most cases, when exploring new primer (or paint) technologies, we are looking for answers to the following questions:
-How does it brush?
-How does it spray?
-How does it dry?
-How does it sand?
-How does it hide?
-How does it adhere to the substrate?
-How does a topcoat adhere to it?
In other words, how does it drive the process in its capacity as the foundation of a finish system.
[Related: To Prime or Not to Prime?]
Our waterborne primer testing is chugging along into the cabinet grade finishing portion of it’s program. So, we thought we would share some preliminary findings on best practices for working with them.
Here are some tips on waterborne primers:
- Apply liberally, but appropriate to application method
- Do not overapply
- Allow for reasonable dry times, determined by drying conditions
- Sand at about 150 in prep for paint
- Expect to achieve the same smoothness as with oil, and without punching through
The key to success with waterborne primers is to understand that they dry fast, but are not cured upon drying. You can push the envelope when finishing with a compatible paint base, but knowing the boundaries is completely driven by how and when you sand, which again, is driven by the conditions you provide. In most cases, if you set it up right, you can be sanding within 2-4 hours. This would be mostly out of the question with oils.
For instance, if you are spraying on site and the drying conditions are a “wet” heat source, and you overapply and sand too soon, you will have a miserable experience, just as you would with oil or any other previous generation of primer.
You have to set waterborne primers up for success, and if you do, the results are desirable, and you can move signficantly faster through the finish process than you would with oil primer. Yet another example of how a product becomes profitable. These days, that is what it’s all about. The more I talk with professionals from trades outside of painting, the more I realize that all craftsmen are faced with that same challenge: moving away from (or at least modifying) outdated products and practices, and integrating technologies more conducive to today’s processes and tools.
Read more here about what we and many other pros have to say about flattening out the learning curve to gain the benefit of today’s new waterborne paint systems.