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Best primer and undercoat for Little Greene eggshell


Need a bit of advice. Trying to expand my repertoire, I have splashed out on some Little Greene water-based eggshell and Floetrol in place of my usual Dulux Trade Satinwood to paint a couple of built-in alcove cupboards. But it’s proving tricky…

Basically, I’m on my fourth coat, and it’s not really covering, and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. First two coats, I eyeballed the Floetrol. It went on like silk, but in hindsight I may have added too much. I’m applying with a Purdy Monarch Elite, btw.

To rectify this, next day I took to work a measuring jug, tablespoon measure and latex bowl-scraping tool. Added 10%, and definitely thicker than previous two coats. But I’m still ladling this stuff on (see pic), with a brushload going half the width of the cupboard top in a strip the width of the brush, but when I lay off it’s just pulling paint away either edge.

I’m also painting three rads with it. I thought it would be a good way to try it out, plus sell it to my customer as a “no-smell” option. But after three coats the rads still haven’t quite gone. It’s taking me an hour to put one coat on the rads, and 45 mins to coat each cupboard. I’m not the fastest painter, but I am trying to be careful.

I wish I’d just used Dulux Satinwood… I’d be done by now, and I can’t fairly charge my customer for my time taken on top of two coats.

But… but… I want to crack this! What am I doing wrong? When laying off, I’m applying literally no pressure, just the weight of the brush. I’ve tried a really oblique angle, and nearly 90 degrees, but it still pulls away at the wall. I know I can’t just paint a strip across the grain to counter this (can I??).

I also get that I should probably be applying this by roller. Fair enough, I’d be getting a more even coverage. But, to be fair, given the amount I’m putting on (more with a brush, right?), it should be covering.

My prep was immaculate: light rub down with 240 grit, vacuum, tak rag then degrease with meths cloth. I’m wondering if I should have started with some form of Zinsser; where I’ve shut the cupboard and a door has caught the frame, a small strip of paint has come off. Not the end of the world, but still, that means something hasn’t stuck, right?

On the plus side, the paint does go on beautifully, it’s silky smooth and so is the finish. I’m getting some ridge lines after a few coats, but I’m a little wary of sanding down too hard on these and taking too much paint off. As long as they’re properly covered, my customer isn’t going to be running a nail over them.

Or perhaps it’s just that LG paint takes many coats to cover properly. I’ve read here that kitchen painters typically start with a coat of Zinsser then add three of LG by roller. Is four coats typical then?

I would love to get on top of this and take my painting to the next level, but the frustration and also time pressure of not knowing when my cupboards are actually going to “go” is not making me a happy bunny right now :frowning:

Any advice gratefully received (I think the pic is three coats btw)

Here’s my typical brushload. Not holding back!

Typically an acrylic eggshell requires a bridging coat over previously painted oil paint. I would envisage no problem with coverage or adhesion with a first coat of LG acrylic undercoat tinted to the colour of the topcoat plus 2 top coats of the eggshell. It applies so fast and as you say, not a bad finish.

High obliterating high adhesion water based primer is Mythic, or a coat of oil based Zinsser Coverstain tinted to the colour of the topcoats would also work.

That is possibly the root cause of your issue.

An hour for a rad, sounds like a column radiator?

It’s not Little Greene Shirting by any chance is it?

Hi Andy, thanks for your reply. The cupboards needed four coats in the end, and the tops of them five to finally kill the pullaway marks on the sides.

Rads needed four coats too. They were three small rads, hour in total to coat all three.

Going forward, I have seven of my own hallway doors to paint, and am keen to try Little Greene again. Few questions:

  1. Would you recommend LG oil-based over water, and if so, why?
  2. Zinsser seem to make three products (Coverstain, BIN and 123) that all do the same thing, the only difference between them being their base of oil, meths and water respectively. And price, of course; I have no idea why BIN is so expensive. Does any one product have any particular merit?
  3. I always carry a tin of BIN as my go-to stain block, and increasingly as a knotting agent, though it is a pain to avoid brush marks and clean out properly afterwards. Could I just use the water-base instead?

Fresh: I’m pretty sure it’s not Shirting, that’s not what I asked for, but I’ll check…

Hi David

I would use maybe a water based primer where appropriate, but for oil based eggshell finish stick with oil through the coats. Otherwise don’t bother and use all acrylic undercoats and acrylic eggshells.

Zinsser primers do have different properties. On simple priming of bare wood, you could use any of them with equal success, but once you have difficult substrates to deal with (knots, tannin, flaking, shiny) you need to pick and choose a bit. The combinations are endless, but the main thing to bear in mind from my own experience anyway, is that 1-2-3 isn’t a stain blocker to anything like the degree of the other two, and as you say, BIN blocks anything but is not that user friendly. Coverstain tends to be the favourite for most situations, but you know, they didn’t make all 3 types for no good reason, they all have a job.

Zinsser do quite a good product spec book, ask Tor Coatings maybe send you one.

Also BIN is pricey because of a lac beetle shortage.

Hi David,

  1. I personally prefer to use LG Oil-based over its own u/coat or ZinBin if Im painting wood/lacquered kitchens. you could use it over 123 if and where as Andy states, it is appropriate.
  2. Zinsser make far more primers/sealers than the 3 listed and each have their own use:
    Coverstain - can be used internally and externally and has much better elasticity than its shellac based stable mate ZINBIN, which should only be used for spot priming externally. I wouldn’t personally use 123 as a primer, sealer or stain blocker other than on new MDF or Douglas Fir timber OR confined spaces where low odour primers are required
    The price of BIN shot up in 2010 due to poor harvests of Lac beetle’s secretion from which it derives:
  3. Try using the BIN aerosol for spot priming or keep a container / empty BIN tin with a little BIN in the bottom and some meths, keep your brushes in it and a lid on it so its ready to use s and when. No need for washing brushes out. This is how fellow TP painter Jason Walker and myself store our BIN brushes.
    You can order your free spec book here:

Hope this helps

Regards Russ

Lots of good points here - the most useful for me is Russ’ tip for keeping bruhes in BIN and a little meths. I’ve been wastefully throwing away brushes after using BIN as trying to wash them out with meths doesn’t work that well and uses quite a bit of meths, which is poisonous too! Thanks Russ.