Primer Recommendations for Exterior Doors

      Architectural woodworkers list their favorite exterior primers. March 12, 2014

We are building two commercial entry door systems from solid African mahogany (khaya). They are mostly glazed, no wood panels. They will be delivered to the GC primed for field installation and painting. We do not know what kind of paint they will use.

Can anyone offer recommendations for a reliable sprayable primer (will use conventional air spray in a spray booth)? I have talked to the reps, poured over product data sheets, gone through the Knowledge Base here and nothing jumps out at me. The SW store rep recommended their solid stain as a primer, which seems odd - not interested in experiments!

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor B

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I've been using SealGrip from Pittsburgh Paints for years. It is an absolutely outstanding latex primer. I am usually using it in situations where it is brushed on but have sprayed it a few times over the years.

That said, it is not likely to do a great job as a sanding sealer. You would have to do a bit of testing to see how well it will sand out. Also it is a very heavy bodied paint and will take some thinning for any equipment other than airless sprayers. As the name implies, though, it has great grabbing power on raw wood.

Also, Zinser 123 is interior/exterior and does sand out decently. Widely available at paint stores and lumber yards.

From contributor R:
We have had great success with Fine Paints of Europe. They do both an oil-based and a water-based primer. It looks like a finished coat.

From contributor L

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Ben Moore Alkyd stain block primer.

From contributor A:
Mathews epoxy primer is the best exterior primer. Expensive but bomb-proof.

From contributor F:
I have use SW quick dry oil primer. Blocks moisture well, dries fast and sands nicely. All I need.

From contributor M:
Zinsser Smart Prime. Much better than Bullseye 123.

From contributor T

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I have used Zinser for the exterior finish and they are really good. For better protection from the climatic conditions, these are the best and also the re-sanding is easy with that.

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