Latex paint not adhering as I expected

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 05-16-2017 06:24 AM 614 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

335 posts in 2274 days

05-16-2017 06:24 AM

I feel that I have significant experience with, and understanding of, wood finishes such as stains, dyes, and varnishes along with their different bases – alcohol, oils, water, etc. Additionally, I am quite a fan of water-borne clear finishes. My two go-to’s are Varathane Water-borne poly, and General Finishes Enduro-Var. (for the record, I’m not a die hard water-borne finish guy…it depends on the project… I’m simply stating where my presumptions about latex paint are rooted)

However, this latex paint project is proving that I am more of a doofus than I realized.

For these doors, I assumed I could treat Latex just like the Varathane and EnduroVar I have used many times:
  • Scrape, then scuff sand
  • Apply a 1-2lb cut of Dewaxed shellac ++
  • scuff sand
  • Apply paint (ColorPlace Grab-n-go Satin, if it makes a difference)

++I’m painting these doors for a friend who bought a fixer-upper. The previous owner apparently smeared oily crud on these doors for years. These doors had nasty who-knows-what caked on them in some places and packed in the oak pores. I feared that washing the doors would not get the oil from the pores, which would negatively react with the latex paint. Therefore, the DW shellac is serving primarily as a sealer to help make the paint stick.

Tonight, I was using my card scraper to lightly scrape the dust nibs off to prepare for the final coat of paint, and the paint is peeling way too easily.

After seeing this, I used a ROS w/ 180g set super slow on the rest of the doors to knock down the dust nibs.

Before I apply the final coat of paint, I really want to figure out why the heck it’s peeling.

  1. My scuff sanding was not aggressive enough to leave deep enough grooves for paint to latch onto.
  2. Insufficient shellac in some places, so maybe I missed some spots and the oils prevented adhesion
  3. My application of the paint was bad. (I did apply super thin coats and allow plenty of dry time between coats)
  4. Latex paint is a different animal than other water-borne finishes.
What do you think?
  1. What could be the cause of poor adhesion?
  2. Is there anything I ought to do now to attempt remedy?

Pictures below: current peelage, crud that was built up by previous owner

yeah, I gave up on sanding real quick.

-- Keith | Subscribe:

1 reply so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5932 posts in 3104 days

#1 posted 05-16-2017 11:06 AM

Latex paint (as in wall paint) is indeed a different animal and not very good for much else. You’re using the wrong paint, latex has a property called “blocking”, which basically means it sticks to stuff when in contact for a while. So the door will stick to the seal if it stays closed over time. You’re thoughts were good, going with a coat of shellac then painting. Shellac is the great go between, pretty much adhering to anything, and the reverse…most anything will adhere to it. I’m a little worried about what was on the doors, but I still think the shellac is your best shot. So; get it back to square one and apply the shellac. No need to scuff the shellac, it’s fine unless you want to smooth it out…you could also use shellac based BIN primer. Then paint…but with something that labeled “100% acrylic”, they are sometimes also labeled “latex”, but if it’s 100% acrylic, that’s what you want.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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