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Undercoat Paint

Undercoat paint can provide a layer of protection and make the surface more adhesive prior to applying the main coat. Please note that this shouldn’t be applied to new surfaces, you should only use it if you have previously covered the surface with primer or paint. It’s best to use the same colour undercoat as your main coat. The professional solutions are easy to apply and guarantee excellent opacity. There are water and solvent options available.

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Frequently asked questions about undercoat paint

  1. Can you use emulsion as an undercoat?

    Undercoats are specifically formulated to create a uniform, adhesive surface to apply paint or gloss over. Emulsion is a topcoat. If you use it as an undercoat, it might dry to a smooth finish but it will not be long-wearing and you are guaranteed to have to reapply the paint again. If you are decorating for customers, it is important to do the job properly and not cut corners for the sake of speed or short-term costs. Using an emulsion as an undercoat will cause the paint to fade or chip quickly and put any repeat business at risk.

  2. Can I put undercoat on bare wood?

    No. If undercoat is applied to bare wood, it will quickly peel. Applying an undercoat to bare wood will quickly absorb any moisture and not allow the paint to effectively absorb into the timber. This causes the paint to dry on the surface and not adhere to anything which results in peeling.

  3. Can you put a water-based gloss on oil-based undercoat?

    Water and oil do not mix. We do not recommend applying water-based gloss over an oil-based primer as they are not designed to be mixed and will not wear well over the following years.

  4. How long after undercoat can I paint?

    Some undercoats have a maximum time frame for curing before it loses its ability to get a chemical bond with the paint. Applying after this timeframe might result in peeling so we would recommend checking each undercoat’s datasheet. If you choose to leave your undercoat for a few days, ensure that the specific product’s datasheet allows this. For an even finish (especially if you have undertaken other work in the room such as new plaster, carpet or woodwork), be sure to give the surface a quick wipe with a slightly damp cloth before applying paint. This will remove any dirt or dust.

  5. Can you undercoat over varnish or rust?

    You can apply undercoat over varnish as long as the varnish and underlying wood is in good condition. If the varnish has damage or cracks, you might need to strip the varnish before applying an undercoat. Be sure to meticulously check the underlying wood. If it has any damages, splinters or rot, this will need to be fixed before applying an undercoat. We stock a wide range of wood treatments that can help with this.

  6. Can I use undercoat instead of primer?

    If you are painting a surface that has been painted previously, you can use an undercoat instead of primer. However, if it is a new surface, we recommend using a primer beforehand.

  7. Can you use undercoat as a top coat?

    When undercoats are used as top coats or left uncovered for long periods of time, they will tend to deteriorate and chalk. Without a top coat, an undercoat left will hold dirty marks and be difficult to clean. On doors, in particular, an undercoat will show finger marks and dirty handprints easily.