Painting is a great way to refresh the look of any surface, but it’s important to do it right. One of the questions that often comes up is whether or not you need to prime before painting. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of priming and whether or not it’s necessary for your painting project.
What is primer?
Primer is a base coat that is designed to be applied before a topcoat of paint. It is used to prepare the surface for painting and to help the paint adhere to the surface. Primer is typically a lighter color than the topcoat, but can be tinted to match.
Benefits of priming
There are several benefits to priming before painting:
- Helps the paint adhere better: Primer creates a smooth, even surface that helps the paint adhere to the surface. This can result in a more even finish and a longer-lasting paint job.
- Covers stains and imperfections: Primer can help cover up stains, marks, and imperfections on the surface you’re painting. This can be especially useful if you’re painting over a dark color or a surface that has been damaged.
- Saves time and money: While priming may seem like an extra step, it can actually save time and money in the long run. Using primer can mean fewer coats of the topcoat paint, as well as a longer-lasting paint job.
When to prime
While priming is not always necessary, here are some situations where it is recommended:
- Painting over a darker color: This helps achieve the color you desire by toning down the dark color so that it doesn’t interfere as much.
- Painting over a gloss sheen: Primer can help with adhesion, especially when using a bonding primer or in combination with sanding.
- Using water-based paint over oil-based paint: Primer significantly helps with adhesion.
- Unfinished wood, wallpaper, or masonry: Primer significantly helps with adhesion, and fills in pores to create a smoother surface.
- Stained, dirty, or damaged surfaces: Primer significantly helps with adhesion.
- Painting over a skim coat or new drywall or plaster: Primer significantly helps with adhesion, and fills in pores to create a smoother surface.
When priming may not be necessary
Primer is generally a good idea, but there may be situations when it is not necessary:
- Repainting an already-painted surface: A new coat should adhere well, especially if the paint and sheen are the same.
- Painting a small area: Primer may not make a big enough difference.
- Using a paint and primer in one: This formulation is meant to do both jobs.
While priming is not always necessary, it is beneficial in many situations. By taking the time to prime when necessary, you can ensure a smoother, longer-lasting paint job.