Apr 12, 2007

Wall Primers Tested

The purpose of this test is to provide an adequate understanding of the benefits, expectations and limitations of using latex wall primers in bare drywall environments specific to a goal.

Will a primer coat under an eggshel finish yield better results vs. 2 coats of 1410 eggshel finish paint over bare drywall?

Seven Primers Tested
ICI 1010 Prep & Primer Stain Jammer
ICI 3210 Prep & Prime Gripper Multi-Purpose Primer Sealer
Kilz 2
Sherwin Williams PrepRite Classic Primer
Zinsser Bulls Eye Water-Based Primer
Also see Wall Primers UPDATED

Product Descriptions:
Sherwin Williams PrepRite Classic Primer
Sherwin Williams according to their website states, “What do primers do? Primers make the finish coat beautiful, smooth and long-lasting by Covering stains and discolorations, Blocking out odors, Anchoring the finish coat so it “sticks” better, Ensuring a rich shine for enamels, Hiding surface marks and darker colors, Filling and leveling out uneven surfaces, Sealing porous surfaces, Making the finish coat smooth and uniform”. PrepRite Classic is their best general-purpose product according to Sherwin Williams.

ICI 1010 Prep & Primer Stain Jammer
Our professional best water based acrylic stain killer primer for use on all wood, masonry or previously painted surfaces. Features easy brush and roller application and excellent sealing and enamel holdout properties. Dries quickly to proper hardness for easy sanding. Provides excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces including drywall, wood, cured plaster and masonry. An excellent stain killer for water stains, lipstick, smoke, ink, crayons and knots or sap streaks. May be topcoated with latex, oil or alkyd products.

ICI Glidden 1410 ULTRA-HIDE® Interior Latex Low Sheen Eggshel
Known as the “Workhorse”, our professional grade interior low sheen eggshell wall and trim enamel specially formulated to meet the high production requirements of painters, remodelers and maintenance professionals. This high-hiding, easy-to apply interior wall and trim enamel delivers superior touch-up over conventional eggshell finishes. Recommended for all commercial, maintenance and residential applications where a uniform, high-touchup interior eggshell finish is required.
NEW SURFACES: Drywall - Prime with this product, GRIPPER® multi-purpose primer sealer (3210 or GL3210) or latex primer (1030 or GL1050).

How we test
Paint performance used to be measured with synthetic tests that had little or no bearing to in-the-field applications. Even worse, when paint manufacturers started tailoring their paints for the synthetic tests, the performance dropped. Granted, we know paint manufacturers have contractors sample their products but what good is that if the paint contractor is not skilled in a way to adequately perform a valuable test with real results and observations. We use tests that reflect professional, progressive painter contractors performing in everyday real environments.

This test was performed on new drywall, test platform measuring 8’ in height by 22’ in length on an open ended wall joined by an outside window wall with high daylight visibility. The 1st primer, No. 1 was placed in the first 22” of the open end followed by approx. 12” of bare drywall. Each test strip went from floor to ceiling. Primer No. 2 was placed in the next 22” followed by 12” of bare drywall, repeating this process for each primer tested. The last test strip was 1410 over bare drywall. We left a minimum 3’ of bare drywall between the last strip of 1410 and the corner near the window.

On day 1 we applied all 5 primers and the test strip of 1410 using a 9” roller with a ½” nap pro doo z cover. Day 2 we rolled the entire 22’ wall with 1410 using an 18” roller with ½” nap pro doo z cover. Day 3, we applied a small strip of 1” masking tape to each of the 6 test strips and pulled the tape back off. All five areas with primer failed to adhere to the bare drywall surface resulting in partial and/or full tear-back of the drywall paper surface. The 1410 test strip without primer removed cleanly, adhering best to the wall. Using a magnifying glass, there was noticeable penetration of the drywall surface upon close inspection of the 1410 area after the 1st coat was applied more so than any of the primer areas leading us to believe the primer areas dried mostly on the surface of the drywall vs. penetrating it, perhaps by design. Possibly the focus of the primers listed are geared a bit much on the uniformity side vs. the adhesion side.

We understand fully applying masking tape to a freshly painted surface after only 24 hrs dry-time is potentially inadequate but was not the case for 1410.

Final Results
Optimum uniformity and adhesion was achieved with two coats of ICI 1410 vs. one primer coat and 2 finish. No advantage using primer with 1410 was observed, in fact it was to our disadvantage for three reasons; 1) cost, 2) labor and 3) the primer did not adhere to drywall.

Other Observations
No noticeable difference or advantage in sheen level or uniformity using one primer and 2 finish coats. One primer coat of ICI Gripper and one finish coat of 1410 produced best uniformity results across the primers tested.

About this test
Each test pattern strip measured 22-24” x 8’
Drywall brand – USG Sheetrock
Mud used – USG Topping (Blue)
Each test pattern stripe was performed over a combination of bare drywall and drywall topping and one taped joint.
Sanding between coats using 180 grit paper on a sanding pole.
Test performed on a highly daylight reflective wall with a window no further than 3’ from the corner providing optimum reflective light.
This test was performed in the winter months in a dry environment with natural gas heat set at 72º
One coat of all primers tested over patched areas provided no better patch hide over 1410
One coat of 1410 over patched areas did show signs of patched areas through the dry finish

There is no 1 coat primer, 1 coat finish system on this planet that will work with eggshell for professional results. The problem is, after you touchup a wall that has 1 coat of each, the touchup will become shinier due to the fact that area now has 2 finish coats over 1 primer.

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