I have a new door that was installed a year ago. The frame is raw wood and I didn't paint it until recently. The wood is basically untreated. It hasn't been exposed to water much because it is under a shallow roof.

I primed it one time then painted it with a water based white paint the next day. As I was painting I noticed that there was a yellow tint on painted wood. (The paint is actually a year old too).

When the paint dried the yellowing was very noticeable.

Why did this happen? Was it the wood or the year old paint?

How do I rectify? I primed it again today and the yellowing is mostly gone. I can see a slight hint of it. I will probably prime another coat tomorrow.

Should I buy new white paint?

This is photo of the frame before priming and painting.

before priming and painting

This is it after painting, discovering that it is yellowish and then priming again! I can still tell that it is on the yellow side. You can see it compared to the white door.

door after prime-paint-prime

  • What color was the door originally? If you have yellowing that "comes and goes", run do not walk to the nearest paint store and get a paint chip for "pure white" or "snow white" or whatever they choose to call their actual white (Munsell N10). Hold that up against the door as a reference. It is normal for ambient light to color-shift things, often significantly. Mar 31, 2018 at 22:58
  • 1
    Stop adding prime coats, once you have primed bare wood you don't need to prime it again except under specific special circumstances. Either your paint is bad (as in not tinted properly or too old) or some incompatibility with the primed surface is occurring. Apr 1, 2018 at 5:33
  • The original door frame is raw wood I believe. It looked like pine or something...a light wood.
    – milesmeow
    Apr 1, 2018 at 7:16
  • What kind of paint , Latex ,Acrylic or Oil based. What sheen ? Did you use stripper on that frame ? was it stained previously or is it now stained?
    – Ken
    Apr 1, 2018 at 8:59
  • Not stained previously. Used water based flat white paint. Low VOC.
    – milesmeow
    Apr 2, 2018 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


I have seen primers allow wood tannins to bleed through, I use a schellac probably misspelled but standard primers being water based allows the oils in the wood to bleed through. I have used zinser and kilzs with success over wood and rooms that had smokers to stop the bleed through.

  • 1
    Zinsser B.I.N. shellac based Primer. The shellac seals the wood stopping the tannin's from bleeding through.
    – Alaska Man
    May 8, 2019 at 18:19

I notice your stucco surrounding that frame is YELLOWish and it looks like a direct path to sunlight upon that door as well - judging from the shadowing and the light.

What surface type was your paint ?
Semi-Gloss or Glossy , what ???

What kind of paint, water based , oil based latex etc..

Your wood frame - you do not state if it was stained previously or stripped of paint either ? If so you should prep it for painting and not just prime it.

So the possibilities here : 1: With that stucco surrounding the frame the color appears to be yellow because your eyes are being deceived. (Natural occurrence - nothing abbie-normal with you). 2: Your wood framing boards are treated with checmical's (like a stripper) and bleeding through - get an after strip paint prep chemical.

Just an FYI I have had several white paints - Glossy and Semi Glossy , possibly others for more than two years old (maybe 4 now) Behr, Valspar, I think Sherwin Williams as well but I would need to go double check that. I stir them and the stuff on the bottom I mix it up really well and not a single one of them has ever had a yellow tint or any other tint.

So I suggest you paint a separate piece of wood just like you paint the frame. After it dries look at it indoors - is it yellowed ? If not set it next to the frame and see if it is yellowed .. if the latter is true you have your answer ; Optical illusion it only looks yellow on account of that stucco.

  • He wood frame was raw wood. Looked like pine. The paint is a matte white water based paint. I totally understand the interaction of color as an optical illusion but this is not the case. It is pretty clear that the color is off. I wish I had taken a photo before I primed over my first coat of paint.
    – milesmeow
    Apr 1, 2018 at 21:43
  • @milesmeow try painting a small piece of pine with your paint and see if it behaves the same - if so your paint perhaps has separated. Check the bottom of the can for clumps of paint that has settled tot he bottom of the can. If that is the issue and you do not want to spend $16.00 for a quart or $34 for a gallon - get two samples of the paint for $3.00 each at the big box hardware store.
    – Ken
    Apr 2, 2018 at 8:31

Pine is often used due to its cheap cost.

It soaks paint and primer into the wood, and does so somewhat unevenly. This lets the "yellow" in yellow pine show through the portions of the primer that are less on top of the wood (and more within the wood).

You need to prime it twice. The second coat will soak into the wood less, as the pores are filled a bit by the prior coat.

Also use a shield to protect the wood from the reflected light of wall next to it (a piece of cardboard will do) to see the true color of the frame without the reflected light.

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