It’s All About The Base

Paint base that is. I had a conversation with my foreman the other day and we were discussing how badly some colors cover or hide when in a neutral tint base.

Often the reason for this is the color base that is being used. The culprit is what is called a neutral tint base. It is essentially clear and all the color and hide comes from the colorant or tint being put into that gallon of paint. The base itself has no hide what so ever. I have a standing order at my supplier to Never give me a neutral tint product but sometimes one slips by. Argg

The reason there are neutral tint bases is that some colors can only be mixed up in a neutral tint base or a base for that color. For example red is often a color that is difficult. It is either mixed up in a neutral tint base or a red base. If your paint supplier has a red base you have no problem. If they don’t then be prepared for many many coats of paint.

The single biggest expense on a paint job is labor. If someone has to paint something several times it will cost the employer more and the customer more.

One time many years ago. Actually a couple decades ago we were painting a Wendy’s restaurant. It had a green band and a red band going around the top of the restaurant. No one in Omaha at that time had a red paint base. I knew we were in trouble but had no idea how bad. I had two guys start at the front of the restaurant. One went left the other right. They passed each other at the back of the restaurant and kept going round and round. I lost count of how many times they circled that place but it was many. A lot of coats. We were going over a white primer we actually tinted a bit red kinda knowing what was coming.

The point is neutral bases suck! Avoid them at all cost. When you have to load lots of tint into a paint to achieve a color not only do you loose hide but you loose many of the components that make a quality paint because they have to make room for all that colorant.

Another quick example is one time we needed to paint a door black. Black is traditionally a factory mix color. It’s already black just needing to be tweaked a bit. My supplier didn’t have a factory black so they loaded a neutral base with black. Big big mistake. There was so much tint the paint would never dry. It never did. Days later it was still a tacky mess. I wasn’t directly involved with that project so I didn’t know there was a problem until it was brought to my attention. That customer got a new door at the paint companies expense.

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