Zinsser Primer Too Thick: Here’s What You Should Do

The purpose of primers is to bind to the underlying layer and provide a consistent surface on which the finish coat can be applied. Finish coats attach to the primer; primers adhere to the surface. This kind of substance permeates unpainted surfaces and fills up any pores.

Whether latex- or oil-based, wood primers feature particular chemicals that topcoats do not usually have or may have in lesser quantities. For example, stain-inhibiting tannin preservatives found in primers are made to penetrate raw wood and seal it, preventing the tannins from penetrating and staining the finish paint.

Similar specific chemicals are used in primers for many other different surfaces. Sometimes the primer might become chunky and thick, making it difficult to apply on surfaces. In this guide, you will learn what steps to take to solve this issue and the ways to prevent it from occurring. These are the areas that will be covered:

  • Types of Zinsser primers
  • What if the primer is too thick?
  • Reasons for thickening of primer
  • Restoring primer when it thickens
  • Preventing thickening of paint

Main Types of Primers Zinsser Provides

There are three primary categories of Zinsser primer, each with distinct characteristics and ideal application surfaces:

Shellac-based Primer

The original shellac-based primer by Zinsser is Zinsser B-I-N. For ages, people have used shellac-based primers to protect the wood as well as other surfaces. They are arguably the greatest stain-blocking primers for interior paintwork, functioning effectively on serious water and smoke-damaged surfaces.

They are highly adhesive, dry quickly, and function well on wood, plaster, metal, and also plastic. The shellac Zinsser B-I-N is 100% white pigmented. It adheres firmly to glossy, thick surfaces and effectively repels the worst odors and stains.

In addition to sealing new wood, B-I-N also seals in knots, grease stains, sap streaks, and fire odor. No other primer works as well or dries and cures as rapidly as it does; it takes only 45 minutes to dry.

Water-based Primer

With excellent flow, leveling, and a versatile acrylic formula, this high-end whole-house Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer offers exceptional performance both inside and outside. It adheres to the glossiest finish and prevents tough stains from showing up on the painted interiors and external surfaces.

Water-based primers work best when preparing drywall that has not been finished for painting. Water-based primers are more flexible, have a quicker drying time, and are less susceptible to peel or cracks. Additionally, they work well for priming masonry, concrete, and softwood (like pine).

Water-based primers even out patched or mended surfaces extremely well. They are less adept at concealing stains than oil or shellac-based primers, while they can also mask and seal in prior light stains from smoking, lipstick, and crayons, among others.

Water-based primers are a healthier option because cleanup is so simple, and most have low- or no-VOC formulations.

Oil-based Primer

It has long been the norm in the business to use oil-based primers. They are perfect for indoor and exterior use, can be used on various surfaces, and perform well with both water-based and oil-based paints.

Oil-based primers have a higher VOC output, tend to dry more slowly, and need paint thinner to tidy up. They are suitable for interior and untreated surfaces. They are more effective at repelling water-based smells and stains, such as those caused by rust, smoke, nicotine, wood tannins, and water.

Zinsser’s oil-based primer is a special oil-based primer that has been designed to dry quickly while remaining elastic and resilient enough to use on a range of interior and exterior surfaces. It works well as a stain barrier and works well on external surfaces. It will produce top-notch effects and offers excellent application properties for those who favor and require oil-based performance.

What to do if the Primer is Too Thick

Primers can become too thick to apply, similar to paints, and you may need to thin them a little to get effective results. Most primers do not need to be thinned at all because they are designed for spray application, while others become less effective when they are.

If the oil-based Zinsser primer is hard to apply with a paintbrush, you can thin it with mineral spirits. Start out cautiously with the mineral spirits ratios. The primer should be simpler to use and leave fewer brush strokes by reducing drag marks.

The consistency of Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 is quite thick. Undoubtedly, some individuals dislike this quality because they believe the primer becomes more challenging to brush out, and it is the truth.

If thinning is required, mix well and add up to 10 fluid ounces of fresh water for each gallon. The primer’s ability to repel stains may be impacted by thinning. Start by lowering the primer by 10% when spraying it on building or home projects.

Additionally, remember to read the primer can’s label for thinning guidelines. A paint and thinner ratio, such as the parts priming to water, may be specified on the container. You should ensure that the right volume of primer and the thinning agent are mixed together. These two should be stirred to properly distribute the ingredients.

Zinsser Stain is made to be applied directly without being thinned. Use a rag dipped in mineral spirits to wipe up spillage and drips. Mineral spirits should not be used to thin Zinsser BIN Primer. It is a shellac-based preparation with alcohol as the thinning agent. You can use mineral spirits in small quantities to retard the drying time of shellac.

What Causes Primer to Thicken?

When you purchase new primer paint, you may find that it is a little thick; dealing with this is pretty simple. Several good stirs of the primer paint should remove the lumps.

For primer that has been sealed and sitting, this is typical. Assess the container for damage if the paint chunks are tough and seem dry. Look for any indications that the can has already been opened on the outside. You might have to take it back to the shop.

When primer sits for too long, it might become lumpy. If the primer paint is left partially exposed, it will dry out and thicken because it spontaneously dries when exposed to air. Again, contamination can also cause paint to chunk up.

Additionally, no matter how young the paint is, repeated freezing and thawing can cause it to degrade. There is still hope if your paint has lumps and pieces in it.

Tips for Restoring Primer Paint

Straining paint involves removing material such as dust and grime, as well as clumps and blobs of dried primer. The paint is put into a clean container after passing it over a filter or screen. The strainer collects the debris.

The primer paint in the clean container is uniform and free of dry chunks. When you reopen the primer can, dried paint pieces fall into the paint from the cap and rim. Those bits will find their way into your brushes or roller. The paint chunks are then transferred to the surface you are painting.

A paint job that is uneven and rough does not appear professional. Worse, hardened paint chunks might jam your paint sprayer. Then you will have to pause, clean the sprayer, and restart.

How to Prevent Primer from Thickening

The easiest approach to avoid chunky or thick paint is to follow proper can opening, use, and sealing practices. This will keep dirt and other pollutants out of your paint. It can make a significant difference. If you have leftover primer from a project, this will help keep it useful.

You can use a flat instrument like a screwdriver when opening the paint. Begin in one spot and make your way around the can’s circumference. Remove the cover and store it somewhere it will not get soiled.

It is critical to store your primer paint properly. The disintegration of paint can be greatly influenced by temperature. Ensure that you keep it in a temperature-controlled environment. Paint lumps and chunks can also be caused by freezing and thawing. If this occurs, you must dispose of the paint. There is nothing you can do to salvage this situation.

Final words

In summary, the primary function of primers is to adhere to the substrate surface and give a uniform surface for the final coat to adhere to. Finish coatings stick to primers, whereas primers attach to the surface.

Zinsser provides three kinds of primers to their customers • Shellac-based, oil-based, and water-based primers. On occasion, you might find that your primer develops chucks or thickens, which might affect the final appearance of your project.

Although the oil-based Zinsser primer is difficult to apply with a paintbrush, it can be thinned with mineral spirits. Begin slowly with the mineral spirits proportions. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 has a thick consistency. If thinning is needed, thoroughly mix and add up to 10 ounces of water per gallon. Thinning may affect the primer’s capacity to prevent stains.

In essence, proper storage of the primer can help in reducing the chances of thickening. When the primer lid is not tight, it can result in the primer paint being contaminated by dust and particles, making it chunky and eventually affecting the paint job.