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Thorough stirring of house painting materials: primers and paints

Why thorough stirring is important:

Both primers and paints are comprised of ingredients that must be thoroughly mixed to ensure optimum product performance. Ingredients often separate within the can. Lighter ingredients rise to the top while heavier ones fall to the bottom. The ingredients that fall to the bottom may collect and become solid. For best results, recently purchased primers and paints should be thoroughly stirred, even when they are placed in the paint shaker at the paint store or home center. Stored primers and paints may require additional stirring.

Thorough stirring

Stir from the bottom of the can to the top of the can in a circular motion with a stirring stick. The bottom-to-top circular motion will blend any ingredients that have separated within the can. Stir until all solids are dissolved and the material has a uniform look and feel.

Testing for thorough stirring. Test for thorough stirring by holding the stirring stick straight-up-and-down in the middle of the can. Allowing the stick to touch the bottom, move the stick slowly from left-to-right several times. If you feel the stick move across any solids, or if it seems to drag towards the bottom, then solids are still concentrated at, or near, the bottom of the can. Continue stirring until you can move the stick along the bottom without feeling any solids or bottom drag. After stirring, remove the stick and check it for solids. If solids are found on the stirring stick, place the stick back into the can and continue stirring until the solids are dissolved. If particles or solids are still present after repeated stirring (several minutes), discard previously stored primer or paint in accordance with local law. Recently-purchased primer or paint should be returned to the retailer for a refund.

Contact your local Solid Waste Authority for details concerning the safe disposal of primers, paints and other house painting-related materials and supplies.

Detailed information about interior house painting surface preparation is available in the book:

The Homeowner's Guide to Surface Preparation for Interior House Painting.

All content copyright Steve Broujos LLC