clear coat over water based enamel - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-26-2016, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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clear coat over water based enamel

Hello,

I find myself in a bit of a bind. I am refinishing a dresser for some friends. They want it painted with white enamel for a baby's room. They already had the paint which they had used on the wood trim in the room. They said it was oil based enamel and I had no reason to question that.

Anyway, I stripped and sanded down the dresser because it had many layers of different finished on it and the finish was not very stable. Plus, I wanted to make sure there was no lead paint in any of the layers because the dresser was old. I sanded down to 220 grit and put on two coats of Zinsser oil-based primer sanding in between to 330 grit. I had a nice smooth base to work with at that point. My plan was to put on 3-4 coats of the enamel sanding to 400 grit. After the final coat, I wanted to sand to 400 grit and then add 2-3 coats of enamel clear coat with 0000 steel wool in between. I find this to be a good way to get a nice color that is solid and clear with no brush marks. It is also durable and washable.

I put on the first coat of enamel today and when cleaning up, I was amazed to discover that the paint was water-based. I didn't even know you could get water-based enamel. To me, that is a contradiction in terms. I checked the label on the paint can and it doesn't say anything about weather the paint is water based or oil based. It doesn't say what to use for cleanup or for thinning. They seem to have gone out of their way to hide the type of paint it is.

My primer is fine as an undercoat for water-based paint (at least that is what I remember), but I have no idea what to do about the clear coat now. Can I still use a spray on oil-based enamel clear coat over my water-based enamel? Is there some different clear coat that I should use?

I am in a bit of a bind here and can't believe I was stupid enough to put that paint on without checking. I could have just gone out and got a quart of oil-based enamel an been fine. At any rate, suggestions would be very much appreciated.

LMHmedchem

Last edited by LMHmedchem; 04-26-2016 at 04:01 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-26-2016, 08:33 PM
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You're alright to put a waterborne enamel over the oil based primer so long as it has dried well. What I wouldn't like is putting a clear over the enamel. I would just use the correct enamel for your needs and be done with it. You could also add clear to the final coat of paint as long as they were made by the same company but a clear alone is more likely to peal on you. I'm sure you see cars every day with the clear pealing off. For the most part it's from waterborne finishes.

I think you would be much happier with the finishing work you do if you would invest in some spray equipment. If you have a compressor all you would need is a cheap harbor freight sprayer and a pressure regulator. Probably for 30 bucks you could eliminate brush marks forever.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-27-2016, 10:00 AM
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What Steve said +...I would consider just switching to Oil Base enamel at this point. Let it dry a few days and use same primer and then oil enamel.
Since 1980, you have not heard of water base enamel.?
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-27-2016, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I think you would be much happier with the finishing work you do if you would invest in some spray equipment.
I do actually have some spray equipment. I have a compressor and a Kolbalt paint sprayer. I also have a gravity feed sprayer. At the moment, I really don't have a very good place to set up and use the spray equipment. Also, the Kolbalt sprayer is for latex paint and I don't know if that makes a difference. I decided to work with foam pads an foam rollers because I have only got a nice finish from spraying when I have been able to take the time to set up in a really clean area and practice a bit to get the flow right an such.

If I just can't get a nice finish, I may have to get out the spray tools, of just buy some cans of spray for the last coat.

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Originally Posted by jorma View Post
I would consider just switching to Oil Base enamel at this point
So do I understand correctly that you would,
- wait another day to make sure the coat of water-based enamel has completely dried
- sand with 330
- apply another coat of the Zinzer oil-based primer and allow to dry
- sand with 330
- apply an oil-oil based enamel with the desired finish
- skip the clear coat

I thought that Steve Neul was recommending that I just stick with the water-based enamel at this point (and also skip the clear coat). Am I understanding this correctly? I would rather not make another mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jorma View Post
Since 1980, you have not heard of water base enamel.?
Yes, apparently I have missed quit a bit over the last 35 years. I guess I never went looking for a water-based enamel. For that matter, when I looked at the paint can again last night, there in small print it says "100% acrylic". How can the paint be "enamel" when it's 100% acrylic?

From wikipedia,
"Typically the term "enamel paint" is used to describe oil-based covering products, usually with a significant amount of gloss in them, however recently many latex or water-based paints have adopted the term as well. The term today means "hard surfaced paint" and usually is in reference to paint brands of higher quality, floor coatings of a high gloss finish, or spray paints. Most enamel paints are alkyd resin based. Some enamel paints have been made by adding varnish to oil-based paint."

To me, the term enamel refers to the components that are used to make the paint. Enamel was originally glass powder that was baked on to a surface. Then it was glass powder and pigment suspended in an alkyd resin. The glass powder was the basis of the very hard finish. Apparently the term enamel now only refers to the finish or look of the paint regardless of the composition. This is the part I seemed to have missed. I would suggest that the water-based paints that are referred to as enamel are not enamel at all but high gloss or semi gloss acrylic. I think that some of this is to confuse the customer into thinking that they are getting what they remember as an enamel paint when they are not. The water-based enamel I used yesterday is no where near as easy to work with as oil based enamel, which is part of the point of enamel.

...anyway, don't take this as a rant because, as I said, this is on me for not paying attention. I should have known what the paint was the minute I opened the can. the above information is for anyone reading who likes thorough information like I do.

I want this to turn out nice for my friends and their new baby, so I really do appreciate the help.

LMHmedchem

Last edited by LMHmedchem; 04-27-2016 at 01:32 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-27-2016, 01:33 PM
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I did not read The Whole Thing up there ^^^^^^^^^
There is nothing wrong with Steve's suggestion.
You had seemed disappointed (and the owner thought they had oil) in it Not Being an oil based product, and were wanting to top it with oil varnish...so I was merely suggesting one extra step and switching to oil enamel.
Certainly, if it looks good, the easiest thing to do is leave it alone. Water base semi-gloss can be a perfectly good finish. :smile3:
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-27-2016, 08:22 PM
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You're not suppose to put an oil based enamel over a waterborne paint. The oil based finish dries harder than the waterborne paint and is inclined to crack with using a waterborne paint as a base.

If the tables were turned you could put a waterborne finish over oil based enamel if you use a oil based primer to make the transition. It otherwise wouldn't adhere.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-28-2016, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Well I seem to be in a bit of trouble. The water-based enamel (semi-gloss acrylic) doesn't seem to want to dry. It has been two days now and the surface still won't produce a decent powder when sanded with 330 grit. There is a little powder but the paint is gumming up into little rolls. I'm not sure how I am ever going to get a decent finish on this if I can't sand in between coats.

I can let it go another day or so and see if things improve but I'm not feeling great about this at the moment.

Any suggestions?

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post #8 of 10 Old 04-28-2016, 04:10 PM
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Some paints just dry slower than others. You just have to be patient and allow it to dry. Weather can have a profound affect on the drying time too. If it's cool and or damp that can make paint take twice as long to dry as other times. It needs warm dry air to make it cure right and it's important you do let it dry before proceeding or you will have a soft base that will damage easier.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-28-2016, 05:19 PM
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That probably IS dry for "Latex Enamel".
If you have never worked with it before, you are in for a surprise. It Does Not powder up like oil base does.
The most you can hope to do is to just scuff it up for the next coat. You are applying what amounts to "hard" Rubber/Acrylic. It will never dry hard and cure through like oil enamel.
That said, if you are just sanding by hand, the 320 should not be rolling up too much finish, unless your are pressing rather hard on the paper.
Of course, we can not see what you have in front of you.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-01-2016, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Well I am feeling a bit better about this. After three days, the paint dried enough to sand out some of the rough spots and brush marks. Hand sanding with 330 It produced a decent amount of powder and I was careful not to apply too much pressure. It still rolled up a little here and there but I think these were areas where the paint was a bit heavy.

I have a second coat of the water-based enamel on and it's starting to look decent. I have no idea how I am going to get a good final finish on this. I have tried foam rollers, 1/4" and 3/8" nap smooth finish rollers, foam pads of various widths, and a few paint brushes and all of these leave marks of one kind or another that don't settle out. I did the best with the 4" foam pad, which is a first. The rollers were the worst and left a stippled surface that I had to brush out. I will go an get a new brush for the next coat and see if that helps.

I guess I can't expect anything like a furniture grade finish with this miserable paint that was made to roll on plaster. It looks alright if you aren't too close so I will try one more coat with a new paint brush and if it still looks messy I will try to set up my sprayer in a good enough place to try for one decent final coat.

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