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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a job to refinish oak bannisters for two stair cases. The homeowner wants to get rid of the dated orange oak and have them painted. HO picked a black color from Benjamin Moore so I plan on using their advance enamel in semigloss as the topcoat. So far Ive sanded off all of the gloss finish first with 150 grit and then 220 and decided to go with Zinsser Cover Stain as the primer. The BM employee recommended BIN but the Zinsser rep I spoke with recommended cover stain. Long story short I’m not happy so far with the section of cover stain I brushed on. I used a white china Wooster brush. The brush marks are evident, even after thinning it with mineral spirits. I’ll give it 24 hours and then give it a light sanding with 220 grit to hopefully smooth out the brush marks. The job is for two staircases and a cat walk so ideally I’d like a primer that I don’t have to work too much. That being said, would you guys recommend I switch over to BIN instead of CS? Or any other bonding primer for the rest of the job?
 

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I wouldn't use BIN on that at all. I've never liked working with that product, as the solvents evaporate way too fast which means taking a long board across can create lap marks, bumpy finish, etc.... Plus, it becomes brittle over time and can crack open/begin peeling. For the occasional stain to seal in, sure. But for a full bodied primer? Never in a million years - for me anyway. I would use the Benjamin Moore oil based primer, as it's one of the best in the industry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Much to my surprise three of the BM dealers near me don’t carry that oil primer. Wondering if Maryland regulates it. Any other alternatives you guys can recommend? I definitely don’t want to go with a water based primer since some areas of the bannister were inadvertently sanded down to bare wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I did find this one in stock. I believe it’s 024. Appears similar to the 032, it’s just not labeled as an undercoater, labeled as a general oil primer. Description though says it’s good as an undercoat and has good enamel holdout. Will this suffice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Resurrecting an old post I had. You guys were a big help with recommending Benjamin Moore Freah start 032 primer for an oak bannister paint job I had. I was finally able to find the 032 at a local vendor and used it instead of coverstain. Once it was sanded down I applied two topcoats of Advance and the customer and myself were happy with the finished product. However, I must admit, even after thinning it with penetrol, stirring it frequently and brushing with a white china brush, I had tons of brush marks that I needed to sand out. I spent hours sanding to smooth it out. Granted I’m not a professional painter, but can you guys recommended any other tips for laying oil primer down more smoothly when brushing? Should I apply it more thinly so it’s easier to sand? I did not notice that when I applied the primer more heavily, the brush strokes were more prominent. I only work in about 6in sections per loaded brush.

I’m planning on painting my own oak bannisters over the winter and would like to cut down on the hours it takes me to sand down the primer. I was thinking of going with a rattle can of coverstain and masking off the floor but would the overspray get on the walls?
 

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Resurrecting an old post I had. You guys were a big help with recommending Benjamin Moore Freah start 032 primer for an oak bannister paint job I had. I was finally able to find the 032 at a local vendor and used it instead of coverstain. Once it was sanded down I applied two topcoats of Advance and the customer and myself were happy with the finished product. However, I must admit, even after thinning it with penetrol, stirring it frequently and brushing with a white china brush, I had tons of brush marks that I needed to sand out. I spent hours sanding to smooth it out. Granted I’m not a professional painter, but can you guys recommended any other tips for laying oil primer down more smoothly when brushing? Should I apply it more thinly so it’s easier to sand? I did not notice that when I applied the primer more heavily, the brush strokes were more prominent. I only work in about 6in sections per loaded brush.

I’m planning on painting my own oak bannisters over the winter and would like to cut down on the hours it takes me to sand down the primer. I was thinking of going with a rattle can of coverstain and masking off the floor but would the overspray get on the walls?
As unpopular of an opinion as this is, I think Kilz oil, if you can find it (I can still find it in quarts at Walmart...) brushes a lot better than Coverstain. It's thinner but not as smelly and levels a lot better, and just easier to brush. Coverstain arguably used to be better at covering stains than Kilz, but now I think it's legitimately worse with the low VOC change to Coverstain.

How would you personally rate the BM primer compared to Coverstain? I think Coverstain levels and brushes like crap, and the newer formulas especially do. The latest "low VOC" Coverstain I used in 2019ish smelled absolutely vile and made me cough, but it's "low VOC" but apparently worse for human health. I'm assuming the BM oil primer was better, but by how much? I've heard the issue is oil primers with the VOCs taken out level worse, but I also kind of wonder how much the love of oil for everything a lot of old timers have is rose colored glasses about the past, as quite a few latex primers I've used now level better than anything oil I've tried.

I think now in a scenario with bleeding oak, since I dealt with two rooms of bleeding oak paneling a while back, I'd go one coat of BIN, then one coat of a latex stain blocking primer like Fresh Start 046, but done 16-24 hours apart. Some stuff will even bleed through BIN, so thus the second coat of the latex primer. The latex primer also has more body and has some degree of grain filling action going on, but while it won't stop stains as well as oil, still has some power to prevent stain bleed through. At least to me this approach seems most logical. I dunno.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As unpopular of an opinion as this is, I think Kilz oil, if you can find it (I can still find it in quarts at Walmart...) brushes a lot better than Coverstain. It's thinner but not as smelly and levels a lot better, and just easier to brush. Coverstain arguably used to be better at covering stains than Kilz, but now I think it's legitimately worse with the low VOC change to Coverstain. How would you personally rate the BM primer compared to Coverstain? I think Coverstain levels and brushes like crap, and the newer formulas especially do. The latest "low VOC" Coverstain I used in 2019ish smelled absolutely vile and made me cough, but it's "low VOC" but apparently worse for human health. I'm assuming the BM oil primer was better, but by how much? I've heard the issue is oil primers with the VOCs taken out level worse, but I also kind of wonder how much the love of oil for everything a lot of old timers have is rose colored glasses about the past, as quite a few latex primers I've used now level better than anything oil I've tried. I think now in a scenario with bleeding oak, since I dealt with two rooms of bleeding oak paneling a while back, I'd go one coat of BIN, then one coat of a latex stain blocking primer like Fresh Start 046, but done 16-24 hours apart. Some stuff will even bleed through BIN, so thus the second coat of the latex primer. The latex primer also has more body and has some degree of grain filling action going on, but while it won't stop stains as well as oil, still has some power to prevent stain bleed through. At least to me this approach seems most logical. I dunno.
even though I still had a lot of brushstrokes to sand out, I found that the Benjamin Moore 032 was much more user-friendly when applying compared to the coverstain.
 

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even though I still had a lot of brushstrokes to sand out, I found that the Benjamin Moore 032 was much more user-friendly when applying compared to the coverstain.
did you say you are not a pro painter in a previous post?
Just a reminder that some people on here are BM salesmen, so it may be necessary to take their advice with a grain of salt.

I would assume sanding after priming would be SOP for a handrail/bannister regardless of what was used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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did you say you are not a pro painter in a previous post?
Just a reminder that some people on here are BM salesmen, so it may be necessary to take their advice with a grain of salt.

I would assume sanding after priming would be SOP for a handrail/bannister regardless of what was used.
I’m a contractor and occasionally get asked to do a painting job here and there. Thanks for the tip about the BM sales reps on here. I wasn’t aware.

I always sand any primer prior to top coating. I just found at least for myself, that the the 032 primer went on with less brush strokes then the coverstain but I still had many I needed to sand down.

one other question, in the past I’ve used BMAdvance for customers cabinets and hand rail but I’ve never top Coated them. Seems there is conflicting opinions on whether it’s necessary or not. I’m currently painting a bannister in my own home with advance and was considering top coating it with Benwood stays clear about a month or two after it’s painted. Is this overkill? I have young kids so I’m looking for the most durable finish possible.
 

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I’m a contractor and occasionally get asked to do a painting job here and there. Thanks for the tip about the BM sales reps on here. I wasn’t aware.

I always sand any primer prior to top coating. I just found at least for myself, that the the 032 primer went on with less brush strokes then the coverstain but I still had many I needed to sand down.

one other question, in the past I’ve used BMAdvance for customers cabinets and hand rail but I’ve never top Coated them. Seems there is conflicting opinions on whether it’s necessary or not. I’m currently painting a bannister in my own home with advance and was considering top coating it with Benwood stays clear about a month or two after it’s painted. Is this overkill? I have young kids so I’m looking for the most durable finish possible.

Clear coat not needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Clear coat not needed.
Clear coat not needed.
Thanks. In hindsight I wish I went with a urethane enamel paint instead. I’ve enjoyed using SW emerald urethane enamel on trim and doors. I’ll be painting my own kitchen cabinets in the spring. Planning to brush and roll the boxes and spray the doors. For the best durability which paint would you recommend, emerald urethane?
 
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