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Q: In what situations do you need to source a specialty primer?
A: Answer courtesy of Dan Frost of HDF Painting in Concord, Mass.: Like most paint contractors, we stock and carry one house primer that is an all-purpose latex that we can use on most small-scale priming needs for both interior and exterior incidentals. For that, we like a primer that works well on anything from interior cabinet face frame dings to exterior trim repairs. These types of primer products can be very good at lots of things, but they generally have some sort of weakness, such as hiding stains.
Exterior trim is one area where we bring in additional primer products. When you scrape and sand old exterior trim down to bare wood, those surfaces can be bleeders that are difficult to seal. Because exterior trim is often painted in lighter colors, we need to make sure to block out any potential for wood bleeding to show through the paint coats.
At HDF Painting, our solution for this problem is to use C2 Guard primer to seal the raw wood. This product is easy to work with and really stabilizes exposed wood surfaces. Then we do another coat of primer, with a coat of Mad Dog MDP500 primer. This way, we get great adhesion to the substrate and a very solid base on which to apply our topcoat.
At the other end of the spectrum, on old cabinet refurbishment projects, we run into the same issue of old wood that is difficult to seal and prevent bleeding. For these situations, we use KILZ primer, either for occasional spot priming or as a base layer. In more extreme bleed risk situations, we use California Grip Primer because it bonds really well and successfully buries old wood risks. It is a urethane modified water base, so it is user friendly.