We are using Benjamin Moore low VOC paints, their “Eco-Spec” line. When the tinted primer was applied to a new drywall job, it smelled almost like sewage and made the crew feel awful. It flashed off within 24 hours and the next day they sprayed the color coat, which had no odor whatsoever. It was a streaky, uneven mess. Since then, they have applied two more coats, with no better results. Was the primer bad? Theoretically, there shouldn’t have been any smell at all. Is this a “shelf-life” problem?
There was no mineral oil in the sprayer, and the crew are pros. To their credit, BM is working with us trying to solve this dilemma. The drywall came from Lowe’s and was labeled, “Made in America”. The drywall crew used both quick drying mud and regular mud. We are totally baffled. Please share your insights and wisdom.
The primer is bad! You're correct that the primer shouldn't smell like that. The drywall had no effect on the outcome, no worries there. Most likely the primer was old and simply rotted in the bucket(s). I have had PVA primer that smelled like this, too bad it wasn't noticed before application.
The only way to fix this is to reprime with a shellac primer, 2 coats. The painters could try oil base Kilz but it probably won't seal this stuff completely.
Ask Benjamin Moore what they are going to do about it and suggest they supply the new primer and some cash for fixing this mess.