Best paint and prep for interior wood

27 Nov 2015
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United Kingdom
I've not painted a lot of interior wood so I'm trying to work out the minimum required work to get a decent result on my banister.

It's currently painted in white gloss that's starting to bubble and peel, revealing old gloss paint underneath. In well worn parts you can see small strips of dark wood.

I was thinking of using Johnstone's Aqua Gloss (open to alternative suggestions), but what should I do before I get that far?

I'm thinking of:
- lightly sanding and filling chips where needed
- washing to remove grease and dust
- priming with Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 primer/sealer (one coat)
- undercoat with Johnstone's Aqua Water Based Primer (one coat)
- gloss with Johnstone's Aqua Gloss (two coats)

Does that sound like a reasonable plan? Or is it overkill/cutting corners? Do I need both the primer/sealer and the undercoat?

If this goes okay I'm thinking of doing the doors, skirting etc, so I want to get the right combination up front.

I'm leaning towards gloss because it's harder wearing - any thoughts on gloss vs satinwood?


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I'm not knowledgeable on paint, but I have read reams and reams about it on the internet. Here are a few recurring themes that may have a kernel of truth:
1) Zinsser BIN appears to all-round more useful and superior to 123. Basically the BIN will seal anything and stick to anything. But it's not water based.
2) Oil-based brilliant white gloss will yellow, eventually. Off-white possibly won't -I'm not sure about this. Satin and water-based gloss don't. Satin is also very trendy at the moment, which means it will soon look dated. Gloss is harder wearing.
3) You can't have enough prep, so yes a primer and undercoat is essential, the more the better. It is of course much less effort to put on many coats of water-based undercoat than oil-based undercoat.
4) Water-based undercoat is a good idea because both water-based and oil-based paint will stick to it. Some water-based paints won't stick to oil-based undercoat.
If you want a good finish then either strip back to wood or give it a good sand and fill chips, I like johnstones aqua I would undercoat x2 sand with 250 grit in between then 2 x top coat. It does benefit from a bit of floetrol in the paint, keeps it working a bit longer and helps to eliminate brush lines

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