Why Using a Primer Coat Before Painting is Important

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Young inspired girl dunks a paintbrush into the paint in light studio

In 2005, the public voted Turner’s “The Fighting Temeraire” as Britain’s greatest painting. This choice was likely influenced by the painting’s powerful subject – the HMS Temeraire being towed away with a beautiful sunset backdrop. However, the quality of the painting itself is exceptional.

While I’m not particularly into paintings, I do appreciate Turner’s work, especially the way he captured moods with layers of colours in his sunset.

When it comes to industrial painting, it may not be as glamorous, but there’s a good reason for using more than one layer of paint, including a primer coat. Applying a primer coat with the right thickness can help hide surface imperfections.

Also read: 5 Time-Saving Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Primer Coat Overview

A primer coat, as the name suggests, serves the purpose of preparing the surface before applying the actual paint. Think of it as the base layer for your paint job. At its core, primer is a type of paint that enhances the adhesion of the finishing paint to the surface. In simple terms, it helps the final paint stick better.

When you’re dealing with surfaces like concrete and wood that have pores or imperfections, primer becomes essential. It evens out the surface, making it smoother and more uniform for the final paint. Usually, primer coats are white, but you can add pigment to match the final paint colour, which is especially useful for lighter tones.

The Benefits of Using a Primer Coat

A primer coat serves a key role in making the surface ready for the final paint. Not only does it make the paint stick better, but it also seals cracks and holes in porous materials.

Moreover, for surfaces that are not naturally resistant to water, the primer coat adds an extra layer of protection, especially if the surface will be exposed to the elements for an extended period.

Side view of focused caucasian man and cute boy painting with brushes on canvas at studio. Qualified teacher helping little student in creative process during lesson.

Certain primers come with stain-blocking properties, which can hide unsightly marks like mould stains and discolourations once the final paint is applied. When dealing with previously painted walls, especially if the old paint has a glossy finish that doesn’t adhere well to new paint, the primer coat is quite handy. Different types of primers are available for different purposes, so choose the one that matches your specific needs.

For surfaces that are frequently touched, like doors and windows, oil-based primers work well. However, they can be a bit tricky to work with, as they require mineral spirits for thinning and cleanup.

In addition to that, oil-based primers are commonly used on sensitive wood surfaces like cedar and are effective in covering stubborn stains from sources like smoke and crayons.

Water-Based Primer: Your Go-To for Wall Prep

Water-based primers, sometimes called latex primers, are commonly used on surfaces that have been patched. However, when applied to wood surfaces, they may cause the grain to rise.

To prevent this on bare wood, test a small, inconspicuous area first to see if it raises the wood grain. Water-based primers are also great for blocking stains and work well on new drywall.

Paint and Primer Combo: Does It Hit the Mark?

Paint-and-primer combos aim to provide both surface sealing and the final colour in one go. The catch is that they achieve this by making the paint thicker, rather than being a dedicated primer.

These combos do an okay job on new drywall or previously painted surfaces. But for tricky surfaces or when you need solid stain-blocking such as your kitchen renovation using a separate primer is a better choice.

In Conclusion

Primer coats play a vital role in preparing surfaces for painting. Whether you opt for a water-based primer, also known as a latex primer, which is great for patch-filled surfaces, or choose a paint-and-primer combo for convenience, it’s essential to select the right primer based on your specific needs.

Water-based primers are excellent for sealing, and blocking stains, and are suitable for new drywall. However, be cautious when using them on wood surfaces, as they may cause the wood grain to rise.

On the other hand, paint-and-primer combos offer a time-saving solution, providing both surface sealing and colour in one product. While they work well on new drywall or previously painted surfaces, they may not be the best choice for tricky surfaces or those requiring strong stain-blocking properties.

Ultimately, the choice of primer should be based on the unique characteristics of your project. Selecting the appropriate primer can make a significant difference in the final quality and durability of your paint job, ensuring a smooth and long-lasting finish.