Latex Paint Disaster


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Okay folks, I'm in trouble. My wife just gave birth to our first child (little girl - Josephine) but that's not why I'm in trouble. I built her a bookcase and wanted to paint it so it would add some "pop" to the nursery. It was a quick turnaround so I went with pocket screws, birch ply, MDF for shelves and top, and poplar trim. It looked awesome; it was done in ten days, but the finish ruined it.

I've used latex paint in the past successfully but something went awry and i need help with a quick fix. I sanded to 180, put on two coats of zinser primer and then put on five coats of valspar 'quite red.' i waited 24 hrs. between coats and needed five b/c the color was so dark. tinted primer might've helped.

The finish is still tacky and finger prints are still showing up after two weeks of dry time. granted the humidity is through the roof but it should still cure, right?.

what should i do now? strip? sand? and then how do i make sure this doesn't happen again?



post-68-039332500 1281328937_thumb.jpg

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Looks nice, I think the problem you are having is known as blocking, and can be caused by many things such as applying an overly thick layer of paint, not allowing enough drying between coats, temperature and humidity when the paint was applied or a reaction between the primer and the finish coat can all make it happen. I would guess the paint was recoated too soon, I have heard stories about it taking a few months to stop being tacky! Is it in the AC now, that should help the proccess.

As for stripping and refinishing, I would give it more time before going that route. As long as you don't have any blistering or orange peeling you still have a good chance, if you have patience.

As for what to do so it doesn't happen again, paint when there is nicer weather for it, wait as long as you can between coats (I have heard some people won't even think about recoating until at least a week has gone by, I would guess they had an experience like you), or do what I do-refuse to paint anything :D

Try to look at the big picture, Josephine. Spend as much time with her and forget about the bookcase for a while. Congrats on being a new father, it's truely the absolute best thing ever. I am sure others will chime in with more views and suggestions, keep us posted and enjoy your little girl.

Nate-Daddy of 2

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You've already answered your own question: A tinted primer works marvels for very deep colors such as this.

For the piece in question, it doesn't look like the disaster you described. Set it in an air-conditioned room (or at least a dehumidifier) and forget about it for another week or two. Then evaluate how bothersome those fingerprints actually are. Strong odds they are within tolerances, meaning you can hold off until the little one is in a new room with a different color scheme and then go for the nuclear option of stripping and sanding.

If you've got a newborn, you have plenty of other things to attend to anyway at the moment. Good luck.

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here's another idea: get your newborn to put her hands all over the shelf, while the finish is still tacky. Years later, you can embarrass her by saying "I remember when you were so small... here's the proof."

Sounds to my inexperienced ears like you rushed the painting just a bit. I know you tried to wait, but sometimes kids have their own ideas about time. Getting the humidity away from the shelf while it finishes curing will help. Constant temperature and humidity help with more than wood movement, I've been told. (thank my local Woodcraft for that tidbit, not me.)

Other than that, it looks great! I don't feel like I need to shy away from paint, especially if I'm mixing three different materials such as you did, or working on outdoor projects. Paint is the only way I know of to get a consistent color across a variety of materials/woods, or provide a consistent finish across the entire project in the outdoors.

And welcome to the community, Dad! (step-father of 2: both tweens with teen attitudes... And I wouldn't trade them in for anything. Well, maybe that Tesla Roadster...)

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AJ, if you get that Tesla, plan your trips around RV parks. They're the only ones with the sufficient hook ups. I met a guy last year that trekked from southern California up here through the Tri-Cities, WA and he provided that tidbit. Interesting. Very cool and fast car!!

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