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Best primer and eggshell for oak-panelled staircase

BIN and Isofix are both a shellac based primer so both should do the same job. Apparently Isofix is easier to use but I havent used it so couldn’t verify that.

Oak can sometimes, not always, cause staining through paint so shellac would be the way to go. It’s not easy to apply smoothly though as it dries really fast. It’s best to put it on as quick as you can. Don’t go back over recently painted areas as it will drag and tear the paint. Put it on and sand it smooth. You will only need 1 coat of shellac, don’t give it 2, you only need this for adhesion.

If you have experience of spraying HVLP is by far the best and most efficient way of applying shellac over large areas. Be aware this route isnt for everyone and extensive masking and sheeting will be required.

Little Greene and Tikkurila Empire eggshells are good products but I wouldn’t overlook water based products either. Tikkurila Feelings and particularly Mylands Eggshell with give excellent results and apply fairly easily.

Shellac primers are compatible with both oil and water based top coats but if you intend to use an undercoat prior to the topcoat make sure that system comprises of the same type of products, ie oil u/c then oil topcoat or water based u/c then water based topcoat.


Evening Peter and Ron of course

IMO Isofix is a far better product than BIN, having used it on several hand painted oak kitchen refurbs the results a much better for me personally than BIN! Isofix has a slightly longer open time, levels out better and is easier to apply than BIN (always get it tinted to match your top coat as this helps with depth of colour)
Although your happy that there is no wax on the woodwork I would still go for a full degrease using either Krud Kutter Original or the Fluxaf Pro Clean (following manufacturers instructions). I would also recommend giving the woodwork a good key up. Although the shellac primers are high adhesion products, for belt & braces you will still need to prep up to give the product something to bite in too.

If your not up for spraying, you can apply the Isofix with a 4" velvet roller, the Foxy orange or Lime ones from MPB will work well and applied right will give you a lovely finish:
Dont try to lay off just brush your mouldings and roll the flats. Once dry I use the Mirka Goldflex 320g available from Hallmark Fraulo: You will have to ask for it as I dont think its advertised on their site. This product is perfect for flatting back Isofix as it is very flexible and doesn’t break the edges like a lot of abrasives will.

Once its all primed up, then go around all your black lines which will now be apparent and caulk up: Soudal and Geocel are also good acrylic caulks.

Once dry you can then apply your choice of product, personally I would go for the water based Helmi Matt finish x 2 coats available from Holman Specialist Paints:

Hope this helps answer your questions, feel free to ask anymore




[quote]Quote from Peter.J on April 13, 2014, 12:43

A little nervous using water-based on suck a large expanse; I know you guys work with it all the time with outstanding results, but is it really that durable? Or is it an agreeable compromise, more to do with the process of application being less pungent and more pleasant for the customer?

I’ve yet to use Tikkurila or Mylands so I’m probably missing something.?


Don’t be nervous Peter, using the methods above you will be fine. The 2 water based finishes you have mentioned are tough, and I believe Mark Nash has the data that shows that the Tikurrila Feelings for instance in a scrub test registers 12000 to Dulux oil eggshell 8000 which is quite a margin of difference.

Oil based paints are more forgiving for building up the layers, all water based systems demand extremely good prep (which is all within our grasp!) With an oil based primer undercoat or in your case the shellac basecoats, you are in a good place to achieve a cracking finish in water based. Hybrid finishes will be closer to oil but whether that makes them “better” than acrylics is one of those never ending questions, except acrylics will definitely not be prone to yellowing.

Peter - water based is not just about the reduced smell. It’s just as much about increasing yours and the customer’s life expectancy :wink:

Good Evening,
Time has finally come to start painting the oak staircase. I wondered about the choice of brush to use for applying the shellac to door frames and mouldings?
Also, bearing in mind the spec’ is primer and two finish coats, I wondered what the difference was between Feelings and Helmi matt, and if one would have greater opacity…which is what I’ll need?

Thanks in advance,

What colour are you finishing in? I ask this because I always tint the white as it makes coverage better. Not used feelings but it will all be Helmi soon anyway.

The colour is F and B White Tie, assume that’s close enough to white to not bother with tinting.
Have just had an afternoon with a paint spayer demo-ing a 3 stage turbine system…very impressed with quality of finish.
I’ll probably purchase, as after a couple of hours practice and tinkering with the set up I was amazed at the quality of finish that could be achieved by someone who hasn’t picked up a spray gun since the early eighties.
I think it will save about three days in the priming.
Does £600 sound about right for a reasonable set up?


Hi, Peter.

If you are looking at buying a new rig, I’d personally go with a Graco or a Wagner. Both are the first choice for professionals. I’ve used a Graco 395 and really enjoyed it. Nice and simple to use, the price is about £1000, if I’m not mistaken.

If you still aren’t sure, I’d ask Tony Pearson-Young who is a TP member. He is a professional in spraying.

Hi Peter

A 3 stage HVLP turbine would be ok if you intend to spray thin shellac or oil primers but it won’t be up to spraying acrylic paints consistently.
The problem is that whilst shellac and oil primers can be thinned for application water based topcoats can’t take the amount of thinning required for a 3 stage unit to spray them. You will lose sheen, durability and the product will run like crazy on difficult vertical surfaces.
I have used 4 and 5 stage units that struggle to consistently spray acrylic. I say consistently because water based paint, particularly acrylic, is highly affected by changes in temperature, humidity and the like. What works one day doesn’t always work the next.
I would hire a 3 stage unit before spending to see if it’s what you need.
It’s a totally different kettle of fish but i would take a quick look at the Graco EasyMax Fine Finish airless for spraying small quantities of acrylic topcoat. You’ll use more paint for sure but if you master it you will get better coverage and do the job a lot faster than with a HVLP. And it will come within your £600 budget if you shop around.
Again its worth a demo to see if it suits what you want. Though if you intend to spray shellac or oil through it you will need to flush it though well as one this is dry you won’t be able to remove it from the internal parts.

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Johnstones do a shellac based primer, not used it myself though

Johnstones seem to do a good range of primers but I seldom see them mentioned around the net, is this because they perform poorly?

I’ve used the Johnstone’s Ultra (Zinsser 123 equivalent) and the shellac primers. The Ultra was good but I found the shellac not as good as Zinsser BIN. It sprayed well but was harder work with a brush.

Thanks for the advice. I think I’ll hold fire on the purchase, in that case. I’ll hire a 3-stage for the shellac and resort to brush and roller for the finishes. Not sure I want the outlay of an airless at present. Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ on the kit and sparing me, what could have been, a frustrating and costly experience.