Is tinted primer + one coat of paint enough for repainting walls?

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Unfortunately, cheaper paint is not really an option for two reasons: (1) Having read about the unreliable quality of cheaper paints, I'm really hesitant to try a cheaper paint, especially because I'm a novice at this; and (2) I live in Manhattan and I don't have a car, so I'm stuck shopping at one of the paint stores near my house.
The paint I want to get (Benjamin Williams) runs $42/gallon, whereas their primer is a little over half of that, hence, the temptation to use a coat of primer and one coat, instead of two coats of paint.
I've heard that as a general rule, you should always use primer before you start, but given that (1) you said primer will offer poor coverage of the old, darker colors; and (2) at least two of the rooms (the orange and lime green ones) were painted with latex Benjamin Moore, do you think I should just skip the primer and do two coats of paint?
Thanks to everyone for all the great advice.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes.
R
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do

Yes, I think you can probably get by with two coats. I would use masking tape to tape off a small area - few square inches - in an inconspicuous part of the room - in a dark corner near the floor - and give it two coats with a sponge brush. This will give you a very good idea of how it will turn out. $42.00 a gal. is high - check the 'oops' bin for light shaded neutrals.
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Any ace hardware stores? Or true value. Their paint is ok too.
Of course you are going to hear complaints about Behr paint. A zillion people use it.
$42 for a gallon of BM? There has to be an alternative.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

$42??????? You must be some wealthy yuppie!
1) Benjamin Moore make a line of paint called Super-Hide. You won't see the dealers pushing it because it's half the price but it's what the contractors use. You can have it tinted any color you wish.
2) There is a Home Depot (Behr paints) in Manhattan. Use Google. Personally I don't like Behr because it dries too quickly but Consumers Reports gave it a top rating. I prefer Glidden from HD.
3) Go to Pearl Paint on Canal St. If you don't know Pearl Paint they're a major art supplier but they also have lines of wall paint. Cheaper than both BM and HD. I have their paint in my hall and it looks the same as when I applied it twenty years ago.
4) If you've read about "unreliable quality of cheap paints" it was probably an article (or NG posting) by a seeking-to-justify-existence "real" paint dealer or employee or friend. You should take these things with a grain of salt.
Oh, yeah, and if you're using a roller you obviously don't care about the finish.
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I wish I were a wealthy yuppie. If I were, I wouldn't be sitting here asking whether I can save money by using primer instead of paint. Or, come to think of it, I wouldn't even be painting the walls myself - I would've just hired painters to do the work for me.
Unfortunately, most things in Manhattan are uncomfortably expensive, and not everyone's salary here (including mine, heh) fully accomodates the higher cost of living. I don't even live in a hip, desirable, or particularly expensive neighorhood, at least not by Manhattan standards. It's just the price you pay for living where everyone else wants to live (or at least thinks they do).
Anyways, I digress.. The alternative I have to not painting is living with bright orange paint through the extremely hot, humid upcoming summer, and considering how much heat a color like that could hold, I'd rather cough up the money and do a good paint job. Thanks again to everyone for all the invaluable advice.
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I wish I were a wealthy yuppie. If I were, I wouldn't be sitting here asking whether I can save money by using primer instead of paint. Or, come to think of it, I wouldn't even be painting the walls myself - I would've just hired painters to do the work for me.
Since you seem familiar with the area, I'm sure you know that a lot of basic things can be uncomfortably expensive in Manhattan, especially for newer residents who haven't sifted through the vast amount of retail for the places that offer decent prices.

I'm confused; every how-to guide I've come across on-line recommends a roller. Are you referring to spraying the paint on as a better option?
I also mentioned earlier that I'm not expecting to do a perfect job (especially since this is my first time painting). But you're probably right; I just want to live with a color less jarring than the ones on my wall right now, and I probably wouldn't care if other methods resulted in a better finish.
I will check out those other paint stores, though. And thanks to everyone for all the invaluable advice.
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I wish I were a wealthy yuppie. If I were, I wouldn't be sitting here asking whether I can save money by using primer instead of paint. Or, come to think of it, I wouldn't even be painting the walls myself - I would've just hired painters to do the work for me.
Since you seem familiar with the area, I'm sure you know that a lot of basic things can be uncomfortably expensive in Manhattan, especially for newer residents who haven't been able to sift through the vast amount of retail for the places that offer decent prices.

I'm confused; every how-to guide I've come across on-line recommends a roller. Are you referring to spraying the paint on as a better option?
I also mentioned earlier that I'm not expecting to do a perfect job (especially since this is my first time painting). But you're probably right; I just want to live with a color less jarring than the ones on my wall right now, and I probably wouldn't care if other methods resulted in a better finish as long as I can still do an acceptable job with a roller.
I will check out those other paint stores, though. Thanks to everyone for all the invaluable advice.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes, they will. As long as you don't care about the stippled effect, the roller will be faster. OTOH spatter will be greater.

No. Far too much work for such a small job. Paint pad and brush for the edges. You'll need a brush anyway.
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snipped-for-privacy@NotRealISP.gov wrote:

Roller finish quality is a function of the nap thickness of the roller cover and the paint. Saying all roller finishes are lacking is misleading. In any event, the OP is a tenant, looking to get a couple of years out of the paint job, and is totally new to painting. I'd tend to doubt that she believes that she is going to get a factory perfect sprayed lacquer finish look her first time out. A roller with a 1/4" nap will work just fine.
R
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All rollers regardless of nap length produce a stippled effect; it's the nature of the beast. But you don't need to go to the expense (and skill requirement) of spraying: a smooth surface, especially on a wall, can easily be achieved using brush and paint pad. This method has the added advantage of allowing the application of more paint per coat.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Year after year, Consumer Reports puts Behr (Home Depot) and American Traditions (Lowes) at or near the top of their interior paints lists after testing for durability, fading, and I forget what-all else. I don't remember if they test number of coats needed.
I've used both of those brands in a total of 8 rooms in my old and new houses, and been perfectly happy with them, though the longest I've lived with any of them was three years. American Traditions feels easier to work with than Behr; it's a little less watery and seems to give better coverage on the first coat, but I've never needed more than two coats from either one, with and without primer.
I have seen homes painted in higher-end paints, and I really can't see any difference. Maybe I'll regret my choices in 5 years, but I'm probably going to want to change colors by then, anyway ;)
Painting is so easy, even as a novice, that you'll soon be wondering what the hell was so intimidating about it. It's also serious instant gratification, almost addictive :) Have fun and good luck. -- Jennifer
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For a light color, you don't need a tinted primer. Use white primer. That will allow you to see areas you didn't cover, or didn't cover well, which would be much more difficult with a tinted primer.
One coat may be enough, butr if not, just put on a thin 2nd coat.
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Do I wait for the first coat of paint to completely dry before I put on the second coat? Would this take a few hours, or should I wait a day?
And when I'm applying the second coat, do I cut in around the edges and walls first with a brush, like I'm planning to do with the first coat of paint? Or should I just use a roller the second time around and paint as close to the edges as possible (would that cause lines to appear between the first and second coats around the edges because I didn't cut in)?
Apologies for the ignorant novice questions; I've never painted before. I tried asking the sales clerk at the paint store for advice about these details, but he more or less doesn't know (and unfortunately, doesn't care, either).
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I've painted many a room and this is what works for me.
Cut in first. Roll on one coat of paint. Don't be sloppy, but don't try to stretch the paint either. By the time you get the first coat on, it is dry enough to put a second coat.
If you did a good job of cutting it, you won't have to go over it again. Maybe a light spot will show up, but that is minimal. The second coat goes fast and does not have to be as heavy. An average sized bedroom takes a gallon of paint. If you have high ceilings and large rooms, two may be needed.
It may look uneven at first, but when it dries, it will look OK. If you have paint left over, put some in a jar and seal it well. This will be handy if you need a touchup in the next few months.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'd separate the first and second coats by at least a half day, if it's dry outside and the humidity is low. Open a window and let some air in to speed things up. If you have three rooms to paint anyway, just move on to the next room. What has not been said is that you should use a 1/4" nap roller or even a foam one if the walls are smooth. The shorter the nap, the better coverage you'll have. I'd not fool with a tinted primer- use two coats of paint. Figure about 400-500 sf per gallon for the two coats. You'll probably use a bit more on the first coat and less on the second.
If you're a novice, mask off the important stuff. Use the blue tape and remove it while the second coat is fresh. If the paint sticks a tad, use a razor knife to get a clean "cut edge" against the tape as you peel it off. I also recommend getting many of the cheap, disposable 9 X 12 Visqueen drops and taping them down to keep spatters off the floor, radiators, cabinets etc. It's cheap, and you'll thank yourself. Painting is 25% of the job, the rest is preparation. For goodness sake, remove the cover plates from the plugs and switches and tape over the switch and receptacles. It's also a good time to buy new cover plates- it really makes a job look spiffy.

Yes- cut in first with a brush for each coat, then roll out the rest. Don't fiddle around with a "pump-type" roller. Just get a good 12" roller and pan from the paint store. The roller cover is most important, so get a good one with the shortest nap that will fill any voids. With the high ceilings, you'll also thank yourself if you get a roller extension handle. It's also time to invest in a 6' step ladder, if you don't have one. Keep a lot of paint in the roller and roll SLOWLY to reduce spatter. With a full roller, roll about a foot beyond the last paint, then blend it back into the wet paint. Finally, roll out everything for about 3' again- slowly and avoid any lines of paint build-up by rolling again when the roller is out of paint.
Or should I just use a roller the second time around and

Don't do that. Do it right- cut in each coat and roll out the rest. When you cut in, I never use less than a 3" brush and generally use a good 4" one- except for tight spaces. Use a good tipped and flagged artificial bristle brush with a water based paint. My typical cut-in is about 3" or more. Be aware of how your roller will "fit" into the corner, around the window and down around the baseboard.

That's a shame. If you're paying $42 a gallon for BM paint, you should expect to get good advice at the store.
Mark
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You might want an aluminum trim tool and diagnol brush for edge work. The trim tool looks like a slat from a venetian blind with a handle. Keep the back of it clean and use mininal paint at the edges.
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I suggest that you use at least one primer coat of a pigmented shellac like Zinsser's BIN. While you have to take some simple precautions due to the alcoholic fumes, it has two big positives.
1. It dries quickly so you can recoat or apply your topcoat without making the painting project take a week.
2. It hides the previous surface quite well.
Think of priming as rendering your "canvas" white. Once your wall is white, or pretty close, you should only need one topcoat of even a medium quality paint to completely cover the primer coat(s) and whatever may still be peeking through. Whatever still peaks through will be much less intense and will have a primer coat over it so a topcoat should cover it. I have used this technique on many different colored walls and it has always been successful for me. I admit that I do use a very high quality 100% acrylic paint for the topcoats but I can clearly see that a standard vinyl or vinyl / acrylic blend would work just fine. I can apply two primer coats and one topcoat in one day with no problem. I always wait at least 24 hours before applying a second topcoat.
Good Luck.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You don't normally need to prime a wall that is already painted. Priming is not for color - it is for adhesion and sealing in stains. Buy cheap paint and you will likely need more coats than if you used a quality paint, like Ben Moore. Two coats of paint is normal. Dark color with light over it may need a third coat. You do need to be sure the wall is clean and free of dust. Any good household cleaner, rinse and dry.
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Not normally, but in a case such as this -- where he's painting over a color that will be difficult to hide -- a tinted stain-blocking primer can be a great help.

Absolutely right. Cheap paint is usually more expensive in the long run.

Right again.

Or two coats over a tinted primer -- which may well be less expensive. Depends partly on the size of the room: for example, if one can of paint is not enough for two coats, but two cans is enough for three, then skip the primer.

Amen! Too many people omit this step... then post here wondering why the paint is peeling. :-)
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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