What type of a primer should I apply over an oil-based wood stain before spray painting a top-coat?

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Forum topic by TiffanyJeanne posted 07-30-2009 03:58 PM 10960 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 3218 days

07-30-2009 03:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oil stain primer spray paint

Hi everyone!

I’m hoping that you can give me a little advice. I recently decided that I’d like to paint an Acacia-wood outdoor double rocking bench that we recently purchased. The Acacia-wood double rocking bench has been previously oil-stained (not by me, but factory stained…) in a natural wood color, but does not appear to have any type of a sealed (there’s no shine to it) topcoat. The wood is actually slightly dull in appearance and a little rough in texture to the touch. I was thinking that I’d lightly scuff-sand the wood, and then apply a good Black-tinted RustOleum Spray Primer to the surface of the piece, before spray-painting it with two coats of RustOleum Black Gloss Paint. I was wondering though, if I would need to use a different or a more case-specific primer to create a more solid barrier between the existing oil-based stain, and the new spray-painted black gloss top-coat? Or do I already have the right idea with the RustOleum Black Primer and Black Gloss Paint combination? I just want to make sure that I do this right, because I don’t want to have a big peeling mess on my hands in four-six months. You all know how THAT goes. lol

I’ve never had to spray-paint over an oil-stained piece of wooden outdoor furniture before, so this is a learning experience for me, to say the least.

Any advice on how I should proceed, and with what type of primer I should put my trust and my time into?


-- Tiffany Jeanne Balk ~ Labor, Live, Love, Learn, Repeat.

12 replies so far

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3431 days

#1 posted 07-30-2009 04:47 PM

I must say I have never attempted to try this specifically, (a double rocking bench to paint black) but there should not be any problems, you would be on the safe side if you sanded lightly say around 180 grit, but thats all depending on the type of surface you are looking for, does it need to be high gloss or just black. Acacia wood is open pored so you will definetly see the pores and grain of the wood if you do not use some sort of filler. So keep that in mind.

The main thing is that the surface of the wood is set up, as in the stain must be dry…. then it does not matter what kind of Lack or paint you use on top. I assume its an older piece and you just want to spiff it up. Although there might be others here who are more familiar with RustOleum Black Paint in a spray can, I have never personally used it. but as I said as long as the previous coats of varnish, stain or what ever, water, oil based or whatever are dry, then paint away.

Hope I help a bit!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View TiffanyJeanne's profile


60 posts in 3218 days

#2 posted 07-30-2009 05:03 PM

Thanks Nicholas,

I believe I have 180 grit in the basement, so that’s perhaps one less item on my DIY shopping list this week. lol

We just recently got the bench, so it’s new, but who knows how long it’s been sitting in its warehouse, right? That oil stain was likely applied to it some time ago, so I’m sure it’s pretty dry. The wood is indeed quite porous in appearance, which does give it some of its charm. I’m not totally sure on the sheen I’m using yet (gloss or matte) but I definitely want it to be black with a lighter wood-colored seat, to match the other rocking bench that we have arriving soon. This stained bench was shipped to us by mistake, and was slightly damaged, so they didn’t even want it back. I plan to repair it, and then I’ll paint it to match the correct one that they’re sending us this week. Then, with a little handy-work, we’ll have two matching rocking benches on our front porch, for the price of one! You can’t beat that! I just have to wait for the other one (black) to arrive, before selecting the black sheen that I want to put on the oil stained (brown) one.

It will be worth the work when it’s done, that’s for sure!

Thanks again,

-- Tiffany Jeanne Balk ~ Labor, Live, Love, Learn, Repeat.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3282 days

#3 posted 07-30-2009 06:19 PM

If it’s only stained and totally dry, I don’t think it matters much what primer you use. The stain really shouldn’t affect anything at this point. Just be sure the paint is exterior grade, and meant for wood. Sanding is a good idea though.

Good luck with your project


View TiffanyJeanne's profile


60 posts in 3218 days

#4 posted 07-30-2009 07:04 PM

Thanks Kent,

That’s what I hoped to hear from someone. It seems that the stain has likely been dry for quite some time, despite our having just recently attained the bench itself. I will definitely sand it first, and I’ll make sure to tack off the dust before priming. I’m going to go to Home Depot tomorrow evening to look for my primer/paint supplies. I’ll be sure to get exterior grade. With any luck, this will be a weekend project, at best!

Thanks again,

-- Tiffany Jeanne Balk ~ Labor, Live, Love, Learn, Repeat.

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3314 days

#5 posted 07-30-2009 10:15 PM

I hate paint. Refinish maybe????

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3715 days

#6 posted 07-30-2009 11:05 PM

I always use the Bins, Kilz, or Zinser types of primer from Home Depot. They seem to specialize in primers and have more titanium oxide in them, which makes for better coverage. I almost always apply two coats of primer to allow the top coat to show its proper color tone.

Hope this helps.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View TiffanyJeanne's profile


60 posts in 3218 days

#7 posted 07-31-2009 02:56 AM

Milo, I absolutely LOVE paint! lol It looks like we’re at odds now. ;)

Rich, Me too. I typically use Zinsser from Home Depot, at least that’s what I’ve used for my interior painting projects, and on our front porch rail that we just built. This bench I’m redoing has some pretty tight spindling on its backrest though, which is why I am leaning towards a spray-primer with a spray-paint top coat rather than the traditional brush-on method that I would normally use. Two coats is a terrific idea though, I’ll keep that in mind! Thanks! :)

-- Tiffany Jeanne Balk ~ Labor, Live, Love, Learn, Repeat.

View ChuckM's profile


608 posts in 3662 days

#8 posted 07-31-2009 04:37 AM

I used Kilz original sealer – primer – stainlocker (Interior oil-based) from HD with good results for an indoor project. Just one primer coat and lighting sanding needed. Perhaps you might check at a HD store to see if there’s one for outdoor project and may be in spray form, too?

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#9 posted 07-31-2009 04:43 AM

Hi Tiffany
A safe sealer between all finishes is De-waxed shellac it’s the do all for changing the types of finishes were using. Welcome to Ls

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3953 days

#10 posted 07-31-2009 06:16 AM

When your at HD don’t be sucked into buying the “tack cloths” they sell..they will leave a waxy buildup on your piece that could mess with your finish. I always use a rag dampened with mineral like a charm!


View BobLemon's profile


8 posts in 3233 days

#11 posted 07-31-2009 06:23 AM

Tiffany, I hate to throw any negatives at you, but I think black would be a bad choice for a number of reasons. 1. Nothing gets hotter than black when exposed to the sun. 2 Extreme temperature swings that the wood will go through will cause the wood to expand and contract and strip the paint off. 3. Any shellac based primer should not be used out doors. 4. Light colored exterior gloss made for wood would be a better choice. 5. Most gloss finishes do not hold up under extremes for more than 2 to 3 years.

Whatever you choose, make sure it has UV inhibitors and is designed not to ‘chalk’. (Finishes that chalk will come off on your clothing.) Good luck!

View TiffanyJeanne's profile


60 posts in 3218 days

#12 posted 07-31-2009 02:01 PM

Chuck, thanks! I’ll be sure to check when I go there this evening!

Jim, I’ll definitely look into the De-waxed shellac, too. It’s what my grandpa used for EVERYTHING, and he was a terrific carpenter/finisher. I remember the smell of that shellac perfectly, from all the projects he and I did together when I was a kid! :D Thanks again… for the tip, and for bringing back a good memory!

David, thanks for the advice on the tack cloths. Sad to say, I have never “typically” tacked off anything that I’ve sanded. I actually have always used a dusting cloth, and just rubbed over the sanded surface in small circles, while holding a blowdryer on the “high” setting, and just using “wind-power” to get the loose dust off. lol It’s always worked for me just fine, but my method probably sounds like it should be in a circus side-show. ;) Perhaps I’ll try the rag dampened in mineral spirits. lol

Bob, Hey… don’t worry about it! I appreciate the advice! Actually, the reason that I chose black is for actually several reasons: 1. I’m attempting to match another bench that is identical, but is black with an oak colored seat. I want them to be the same! 2. The benches will be out of sunlight and up off the ground on out concrete-based front porch, where they will generally be weather-protected. We also plan to bring them in over the winter, to avoid serious temperature damages to the paints surfaces over time. Our porch rail is ivory, and the black benches behind it are going to “pop” and be just gorgeous on the porch as well as from the street view. I will be sure, however, to look into UV inhibitors, specifically! Thanks again for your advise! :)

-- Tiffany Jeanne Balk ~ Labor, Live, Love, Learn, Repeat.

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