Sometimes on a job, whether big or small, half the battle can be finding the right product to use to get it done properly. Experience or trial and error(!) play a big part but occasionally it’s being pointed in the right direction by good tradespeople. So it was when we opened up the original timber ceiling to the Bathhouse Project, revealing the high gloss varnish finish long hidden by an suspended ceiling. The darkness felt a little oppressive as the idea was to create a lighter, more airy feel to the room, so I specified a new colour to the vertically panelled sections.
But with what? Simply using a top coat straight onto the glossy varnish wouldn’t work as it would literally slide off and not stick long term. Newly developed water based undercoat primers are all very good for bare wood, or sanded & prepared surfaces, but they’re no good direct onto large expanses of glossy surfaces like these ceilings. This was shown to be true when some water based undercoat was mistakenly used on the dark, shiny surface and proved useless, scratching off easily and forming no bond or key at all.
An experienced decorator who had visited was confident, indeed, adamant that the product we needed was Zinsser B-I-N primer/sealer. I’d used it before on kitchen doors and smaller projects but never on anything this big!
I read up on it: “B-I-N® is the ultimate shellac-based primer, sealer and stain killer, perfect for use on interior surfaces and spot priming of exterior surfaces. It offers unparalleled adhesion to glossy surfaces – including glass – without the need for scuff sanding and blocks stubborn and persistent stains. The high adhesion shellac formula seals porous surfaces with excellent enamel holdout, even sealing bleeding knots and sap streaks. B-I-N® works brilliantly on water stains, fungal degradation, nicotine, oil stains, marker pens stains and more.”
Hmmmmm. Magic in a tin, clearly.
It sounded exactly what we needed and, even better, when I spoke with their tech team to confirm the product would be right for our job, they liked the sound of the Withington Baths heritage project so much that they actually donated what we needed!! How amazing of them, and I hugely appreciated this gesture.
So how did it perform?
On the original gloss boards which hadn’t been water-base-coat painted, the B-I-N was perfect, adhering really well to the gloss, giving great coverage and drying very quickly. It dries super fast and can be painted over after 45 minutes because it isn’t an oil based paint per se, but shellac based.
The other boards were more problematic as the mistakenly applied water-based paint first had to be scraped & sanded off. This meant the surface was more unstable and the decorators ended up with a more uneven surface and one which ‘craquelure’d in places. When finally over-painted with the B-I-N though, the surfaces were indeed sealed tight, which just proved that this was totally the right product to specify. We saw first hand the problems caused by not having used it, an interesting series of events which gave me even more confidence in this paint.
It also gives a very good coverage, as you can see below at the stage post-Zinsser but pre-Farrow & Ball Folly Green. Look how much brighter the space feels!
Big thanks to the team at Zinsser for getting involved, supporting this project and also for their lovely comments this week: “We’re looking forward to seeing the new studio once it’s complete and are sure it will be a really popular resource for the local community for many years to come.”
We’re sure of that too 🙂
Brilliant to be using a British manufactured product as well, a company going strong since 1849 and still at the forefront of product innovation. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them, having seen exactly how good the product is and how it worked where others failed.
Check them out HERE if you have a decorating dilemma like ours!