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Need Primer Primer
Old 06-14-2008, 06:55 PM   #1
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Need Primer Primer

Curious about paint primers. I got some white rustoleum primer to touch up some dings on my white bike. I assume primers adhere better, but why can't all paint be a primer? Any reason to paint over the primer paint with non-primer paint?
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:04 PM   #2
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Primers primarily work as sealers. But they aren't durable as paint so you have to use paint on top.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:40 PM   #3
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When painting metal a primer is needed to help the paint adhere. Paint won't bond to bare metal very well without a primer. It also acts as a sealant and helps smooth the surface. Or at least that's what I remember from back when I worked on cars a long time ago.

These are the steps I remember from when I last painted a car (well, I prepped it and had someone else actually shoot the paint).

Clean the surface thoroughly without leaving a residue.
Wet sand to a smooth surface (fine grit paper, change direction a lot).
Apply primer.
Sand dried primer with even finer sand paper.
Repeat last step if needed.
Pay some dude who knows what he's doing to shoot the paint.

That's the right way to do it. Or you can be like my wife, who wonders why two years after she painted the patio furniture black with Rustoleum, there are a hundred places where the old green paint is showing through. I think the only prep work she did was to knock the dirt off with a swipe of a rag.

To answer the second half of your question, I think you should apply paint over the primer. Paint is more durable and provides better protection that primer will by itself.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:09 PM   #4
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Hey TromboneAl,
I have just restored several antique metal lawn chairs. They came out really nice. Based on my research, the best way to deal with metal surfaces is to first prepare by scraping, sanding, and then washing the item. Then apply a coat of primer. Finish off with two coats of paint. IMHO oil based paint is best even though it's a bit more work.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:31 AM   #5
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If you looked at a primed surface under a microscope, the primer would look like fabric with all the fibers at right angles to each other increasing the surface area and grip to the base material. If you looked at a painted surface, the fibers would appear to be parallell (sp), thus giving a smoother finish and better appearance. It would flow into the nooks and crannies of the primer, taking advantage of the additional grip available. I don't know how the sealer function works, but probably not so important for painting metal as porous objects.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:34 AM   #6
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The primer's function is to seal and adhere to the underlying material and to provide "tooth" for the paint to adhere. As Leonidas said proper preparation is crucial; the actual painting is the easy part.

I've spent days prepping a model airplane for paint (or months actually; prep begins with construction) and the actual painting was done in ten minutes.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:53 AM   #7
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Primers are usually epoxy based and have poor UV (sunlight) durability, but offer superior rust prevention (prevents moisture / oxygen getting to metal). As others have stated it also acts as a better adhesive for top-coats versus top-coats to direct metal. Also as others have stated, PREP IS KEY for durability. Top-coats give UV protection as well as additional barrier to other moisture /oxygen (just not as good overall as primer).
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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If you have $20 to spend on paint, I'd spend more on a good quality primer and less on the paint rather than the other way around like most folks. I see a lot of people over at home depot with a cart full of cheap primer (and not enough of it) and big expensive buckets of paint.

Of course, the better of both is ideal. But dont go cheap on your primer coat.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:32 PM   #9
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if you get good antifouling paint with cayenne pepper in it, barnacles won't grow on your bicycle.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:47 PM   #10
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Yeah, but Bobby Flay will keep coming over to your house and scraping some of it off into his food. I think thats a creativity win on Iron Chef.
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