Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>What type of primer to use on old doors?
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What type of primer to use on old doors?

Hello all,

I am renovating a 40 year old house. I have ten wooden interior closet slat doors that need to be refinished and they have many coats of old paint on them. I started my prep of light sanding, and as I began, the top coat of paint began to peel under the sander. The paint was coming off in small to medium sized sheets.

It appears that the top coat(s) of paint is latex, and the bottom coat(s) is oil. I did the rubbing alcohol test and the top layer rubbed off, the bottom did not.

So my question is now that various surfaces are exposed all over these doors, some which is latex, and some which may or may not be oil, is there a primer that will seal both surfaces completely so that I can start from scratch? I would like my final topcoat to be latex.

Is a bonding primer recommended? I have also read about acrylic primers being good candidates to use over both oil and latex paint.

Thank you so much. Painting ten slat doors is hard enough...let alone the possibility of having to redo if they don't come out right the first time. :)

A. Spruce
Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

Definitely, positively, absolutely apply a primer, Zinsser Bull's Eye 123 is a good choice. After that, apply your top coat of choice.

One thing, it is possible that the paint you've been sanding is lead based, so use EXTREME caution when doing work on older homes, mostly pre1978, but lead and asbestos has persisted in some aspects since then.

Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

What Spruce said plus there are lead testing kits available at hardware stores. You cando the test at home in a few minutes.

Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

In such cases, my primer of choice was Moore's Oil Enamel Undercoater. It has great adhesion and can help "glue" down the various layers of paint. It is heavy bodied and sands easily to help feather out the imperfections. It is compatible with either oil or acrylic finish coats.

Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

Of course, primers are the best option to go as it will seal both the surfaces perfectly that you want.

Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

Paint adheres to what is underneath it so the finished job is only as good as what is underneath it. Thus, all the paint that is not well-bonded will need to come off first. My preference on doors is a good oil-based alkyd enamel as it is far more durable than any water-based product but if you want to go with latex you will need primer to allow for good bonding. Having done enough of the wood louvered doors already, I don't envy the amount of time you're going to be putting into prepping these. All I can suggest is wire brushes and [email protected] to get the delaminating paint off so your new paint will adhere. Maybe a commercial furniture stripper can dip these for you. However you go at it there's a lot more work to it than with a standard door which is one reason these fell out of favor a long time ago!


Re: What type of primer to use on old doors?

There are so many types of primers are available in market but I am exactly sure which will suit best for you. If you read about acrylic primers then I think you should for them.

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