Primer Basics

Examples of what type to use, and when to use it


Just like finish paint, primer comes in latex (water thinned), or oil-based (solvent thinned). The purpose of this material is to provide a blister proof, high-hiding base that promotes excellent adhesion and durability.

In other words, the finish paint should adhere to the primed surface really well, is tough, and should result in a smooth and consistent looking surface.

There are different types, which are specifically made to work for different applications. Everything from bare or rusted metal preparation, to priming aluminum siding, to priming old peeling bare woodwork in an old house.

You name it, if it needs to be painted with a finish coat, it probably needs to be primed first. This will allow for long-lasting durability and good looks.

Some Examples

  • When you want to hide water stains, use an oil-base because of it's superior high-hiding capabilities to hide tough stains. Why oil? With latex, water staining tends to 'bleed' back through when drying. Even after several coats, staining may still be present because of how deep in the surface layer it may be. Stick with oil here.

  • Painting over new drywall or bare wood? Then use a muti-purpose latex. Here you're just wanting to seal the drywall or wood so that a good adhesion can be accomplished. One coat is fine, but two coats are certainly better.

  • When you want to paint over vivid colors, be sure to use tintable material. It can be tinted nearly (75% strength is optimal) the same color as your finish paint.

  • Deep, dark colors require a high-hiding latex. Again, use 75% strength of finish paint color. A good, high quality high hiding material will cover even the darkest colors. Using the good stuff will mean less finish coats.

  • On exterior wood, use oil, or multi-purpose latex. Better to use two coats over anything on exterior surfaces if possible.

  • If you are going to paint over glossy surfaces such as ceramic tile, use a multi-purpose bonding latex material.

  • Painting cement or stucco? Use a specially formulated bonding material that can penetrate and seal these type surfaces with new technology involved now on the market. You'll find it under Masonry primer.

  • When painting over rusted/bare iron or metal,, use a sealing - type primer made for bare metal that, when prepared correctly (sanding out rust, etc.), will last a long time in any kind of weather. Usually meant for exterior purposes bit will be fine with interior as well.



Remember to use high quality material before you finish the wall or woodwork, because, like you're finish paint, the surface will only look as good as the material that goes on them. Don't "go cheap" here.

And one more thing, after priming a wall, always lightly sand the surface of the wall to get the best results for a smooth finish.




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