For any painting project, primer is an essential first step. As a base coat, it will turn your walls into a smooth surface that’s ready for paint. The purpose of a primer is to provide the best coverage for the topcoat and to help conceal stains, nails and other uneven areas. There are so many different types of primers, but you should depend on a professional painter’s advice on which one will work best for your paint project.
Different Types of Primers
Stain-blocking primer, which is available in oil-based and water-based versions. The oil-based versions give off an odor and require paint thinner for cleanup, but they are definitely more reliable for blocking odors and stains like rust, nicotine, smoke, wood tannins and, of course, water.
Water-based stain-blocking primers are easier to clean up, have low odors and come in low and no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) formulations. These types of primers work best to block solvent-based stains like crayon, grease, ink and scuff marks. Both versions typically come in a white color, so it’s smart to tint them gray or a color close to your topcoat, especially if you’re using a dark-colored paint.
The Primer’s Impact on Drywall
When drywall is mounted, the mud used on the seams are essential, but those areas are not as porous and they absorb paint differently. These areas can often look blotchy, causing an inconsistent sheen. This problem can be prevented by using a drywall primer-sealer.
Even if your drywall appears perfectly smooth, it probably has some tiny pockmarks, fine ridges and scuffed paper from sanding. These minor imperfections can be concealed with a “high-build” drywall primer-sealer. Although it may be more expensive, this type of primer-sealer works best at leveling and filling in rough or uneven areas.
If your topcoat is going to be a flat paint and your drywall is relatively smooth, you could skip the primer and use two coats of self-priming, water-based flat paint. The paint resins in self-priming paint provide a nice seal on the surface and flawlessly fill imperfections.
If you have old plaster walls, any plaster repairs you make will need a coat of oil-based stain-blocking primer. Without the primer coat, lime stains will form around the repairs and will bleed through the topcoat.
Your painting professional will know this, but you should be aware that it’s best to paint your topcoat within 48 hours of priming. The reason is that most types of primers are specially formulated to bond better if you paint within that time frame.
If you’re aiming to paint your home and you’re not sure where to begin or which types of primers to use, call our Color Experts – they can help you plan out your painting project and guide you wherever you need it.