I have a blog over at Posterous where I also post short sharp painting tips…
Best oil-based gloss paint for exterior woodwork on period property
What is the best oil-based gloss paint for exterior woodwork on period property? Is that even a relevant question in eco friendly times?
Increasingly, decorating specialists who repair and paint exterior woodwork on period property (sash windows and front doors etc) use premium acrylic paint and hybrid paint. However, oil-based gloss paint still has its place, for instance, where you want to achieve a superior shiny gloss-painted front door, aka the Number 10 look,
you are a traditionalist, and simply prefer the aesthetic and the performance of high gloss oil paint on your windows and doors, please!
or you live in Holland where all exterior work tends to be oil based.
However, for UK users, not all oil-based gloss paint nowadays is created equal, and with a few notable exceptions listed below, much of the standard trade oil-based high gloss paint and accompanying oil-based undercoat is proving problematic. Basically, since the 2010 VOC regulations were imposed, most trade oil paint is taking longer to dry, which affects how you work in two ways:
you have to wait longer between coats to sand, because the oil undercoat may be too tacky within normal / accepted as normal timescales.
you might have problems closing doors and windows at night, if you don’t get the oil paint on before lunchtime.
Best approach to high quality finishes with oil-based gloss & undercoat
To deliver high quality oil-based gloss finishes in a timely fashion, you have to think a bit beyond going to the store and asking for your perennial favourite brand gloss and undercoat. The following approaches should keep you on track, however, on your quest for oil-based perfection.
1-Oil-based Zinseer Cover Stain as the primer/undercoat, followed by oil-based Sikkens AZ gloss will provide an enamel-like finish.
2 – To paint exterior doors to a Number 10 quality finish to gloss a front door, I would also use Sikkens AZ gloss as the finish, but since the 2010 changes have tended to use Sikkens Rubbol BL Primer, a water based primer/undercoat which dries fast and flat.
And to achieve the harder and exaggerated shiny finish for the Number 10 look, you need more than just undercoat and gloss paint, and that is where a full skim or two of an oil-based fine surface filler and surfacer like Gras a Laquer comes into its own. Not dissimilar to Swedish Putty or Kodrin Spachtel it is the secret… As Patrick Baty pointed out, the Dutch have been using this technique for years, as witnessed by the superb doors in Amsterdam.
There is a whole raft of information on the assorted oil based filler-surfacer products on the market.
3 – Painting exterior woodwork on period property with designer oil-based undercoat and oil-based gloss. Using designer “posh” paint from companies like Little Greene and Paint Library is like a calm step back in time, when all was well with the world of oil paint. They look great and behave as expected ie they apply and dry. From undercoating, through to top coats, in normal conditions, the undercoat can be thoroughly sanded next day, and a topcoat, if applied in the morning, should tack off nicely by closing time the same day.
4 – Scandinavian oil paints The weather doesn’t get much more extreme than Finland, and the Tikkurila Otex and Miranol approach to durable and high sheen exterior oil paint certainly translates well to UK conditions.
Those 4 options work reliably, in an unreliable paint world to give you a top quality finish! And in Holland, exteriors are painted in oil gloss, no ifs or buts, so look at Sikkens and Sigma and Wijzonol (the paint behind US-based Fine Paints of Europe.).
So in summary:
If you use standard trade oil-based gloss and undercoat on exterior woodwork, and want to maintain high trade standards, especially where filling and sanding between coats is concerned, you will probably need to allow longer between coats than ever before.
use quick drying basecoats and finish oil glossing before lunch time / leave doors etc ajar till very late.
The above approach and information will probably hold true for a good while, but as acrylic paint gathers momentum, there will be a shift and fewer and fewer decorators will stay familiar with the finer points of using high gloss oil paint. However, decorators specialising in period property painting and decorating will be keeping oil paint firmly in their sights, specifying and applying it professionally, when the occasion demands.
Or should we roll over and let nature take its eco course and forget how to use oil-based gloss? What do you think? When was the last time you used oil gloss? It would be interesting to hear from US painters how they found it, adapting to the decline, and near extinction, of oil paints in their market.
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