How To Choose The Right Primer For Painting

How To Choose The Right Primer For Painting

Americans renovate their homes every three to five years; this includes minor changes such as painting a room. That means knowing how to renovate correctly becomes all the more important. 

Painting a room sounds simple enough. But if you're painting over rugged surfaces or painting outside, getting that paint job to look smooth will be difficult. There are a lot of factors that play into whether your paint job is amazing or less than ideal; one of these factors is if you used a primer. 

Are you a homeowner planning to paint your house yourself? Do you need help figuring out what primer is and how to use it? Thankfully, we've got a comprehensive guide to everything  primer. Continue reading so you are an expert at painting a home!

What Is a Paint Primer?

Primer is a preparatory coat that readies the surface for paint application. Think of primer as the base coat, and your regular paint as the top coat. Primer is an essential step many people skip for the sake of efficiency.

However, skipping primer may be the reason your paint job doesn't last that long. Primer is made of synthetic resin, additive agents, and solvent to help smooth out any surface. It also provides a subtle adhesive so your paint doesn't chip. 

There are certain times when using paint primer is essential, and other times when you can go without. A good rule of thumb is to always have primer on hand. Even if you don't think you need it, use it anyway! It will only improve the paint job. 

Benefits of Paint Primer

Priming wood isn't a pointless step, no matter how much you might feel it is. There are plenty of advantages to taking primer applications seriously. Here are a few benefits of primer to convince you: 

  • Brings wall color to neutral

  • Seals pores in unpainted areas

  • Ensures new paint sticks to the surface that your painting (no peeling)

A primer sets your paint job up for lasting longer.. There is nothing worse than paint peeling after a hard day's work. Avoid those problems by using a primer when you're painting substrates that require a primer for the reasons listed above.

When Do You Not Need a Primer?

The main moment where you won't need paint primer is when you're dealing with previously painted surfaces. For example, painted drywall needs no primer. These surfaces have already been sealed and they don't need a paint primer. The only time you'll need to use a primer is if you see substantial stains, smoke damage or if you're covering a dark color with a lighter color. 

Types of Paint Primer 

Primer paints are in three different forms. These forms are important depending on what type of surface you're painting. Look at the three types of paint primer and figure out which one is ideal for your situation:

Latex-based Primer

Latex-based primers are perfect for beginners due to their flexibility. It's easy to clean, remove, and experiment with. They are water-soluble and dry quicker than oil-based. Another pro is that latex-based primers have lower VOCs, meaning it's fine to inhale without health concerns. 

Latex-based primer is going to be ideal for drywall, pine wood, brick, and concrete. They apply in light coats so they aren't ideal for covering large stains. They cover minor stains rather than any deep discolorations. 

Lastly, this primer type isn't going to perform well on hardwood or metal. Unless the metal is galvanized, you should avoid using this paint primer on those types of surfaces.

Oil-based Primer

Versatility is golden in the painting industry, and oil-based primer provides nothing but adaptability. Oil-based primer is the most used primer due to the fact it's a great primer for professionals and beginners. It also has fewer limitations and is great to use on many surfaces.

Priming over oil base is effective with almost every surface, but wood is the most compatible. You should invest in an oil-based primer if your surface is cedar, red, weathered, or unfinished wood. The only surface that doesn't work well with oil-based primer is masonry.

This primer dries slowly and is difficult to clean up. It also contains VOCs, meaning you should wear breathing protection in a ventilated area. 

Shellac Primer 

If you're dealing with some heavy-duty surfaces, then a shellac primer is ideal for you. Shellac is the best stain blocking primer on the market. It's perfect for priming smoke damage or preventing rust or water stains. 

This primer is best used indoors rather than out. You use it on wood, metal, or plastic surfaces. They dry fast and can be paired with any type of paint. However, you must wear an air mask and be prepared for an intense cleaning session. 

How To Choose the Right Primer for Painting

Now that you know the three types of primer, it's time to figure out when to use them. These are the main things you should take into consideration when choosing a paint primer. 

1. Surface Type

Is your surface drywall or bare wood? Does it have a lot of pores or is it mostly smooth? These factors will determine what primer is ideal for your situation.

Drywall or Bare wood 

Drywall is going to need only latex primer. Latex evens out the surface and allows for quicker drying. If  the drywall is new with new texture a PVA primer will be the primer to select for this situation. Bare wood, however, can take latex or oil-based primer.

Stain-prone and Moisture-prone Surfaces 

A stain blocking primer is going to reduce any problems you have with staining or mildew. If the surface is solvent-based, use a latex-based primer. If it's water-based, an oil-based primer will work fine.

Painting wood and metal surfaces also work well with oil-based primers. Oil primers are versatile and flexible, so they can be used on any surface but drywall or masonry.

2. Paint and Primer in One

When choosing paint, always look at the label to determine if it is a self-priming paint. This is when the paint already has primer in it, meaning you don't need a separate product. The obvious pros to this are that you spend less time and money.

However, paint and primer in one aren't always ideal. You should only use this type of paint if your surface is not bare or stained wood. Previously painted surfaces work well with paint and primer in one. 

3. Exterior or Interior

Where you are painting is an important aspect as well. If you're painting outside, you should never use shellac primer. Latex or oil-based primers will tell you if they are meant for interior or exterior surfaces. Outdoor walls will experience more long-term damage, so ensure you're buying paint correctly.

When it comes to exterior projects, you may find it easier to contact a residential painting company. You'll be working in the hot sun and dealing with more than just paint. To avoid mistakes or stress, consider researching local painting services!

How to Apply Paint Primer

Applying paint primer is the same as painting regularly. You don't need to know how to paint to perfect this! If you want to maximize your paint job, follow these steps:

Clean the surface: Wipe down the wall from grime, dust, and other particles that could disrupt your paint job. You don't want these particles to get trapped in your paint and make a bumpy surface.

Ventilate your area: Unless you're using latex-based primer, you should always ventilate the area. VOCs are dangerous and need to be taken seriously. Open a window and invest in a breathing mask before priming.

Start painting: Start from the ceiling and get to work! The primer does not have to be applied perfectly. Priming wood already isn't easy if you're dealing with a rugged surface. Instead, make sure the primer is smoothing the surface and is applied everywhere.

What Is Professional House Painting?

Let's be honest; certain surfaces aren't fun to deal with. For example, priming stucco or a surface with severe damage is hard work. That's when you might want to invest in professional house painting!

TRICO PAINTING believes in painting reimagined; you'll receive fine craftsmanship when you leave the work to reliable businesses such as TRICO. This professional painting contractor dedicates itself to high-quality work and high-end finishes. They connect, collaborate, and deliver to give you peace of mind! 

TRICO PAINTING has been family-run and operated in California since 2009. When house painting gets too rough, TRICO can take the torch and finish the job. Sit back and enjoy a day off as we bump your house remodeling up a notch!

Make Time for Prime Today!

Applying paint primer is a step you should never skip, especially if you're all about perfection. Your home's walls will be stain and chip-free for years! When things get tough, consider contacting a professional house painting business such as TRICO to ease your stress.

TRICO PAINTING has a gold standard in residential painting services. Book a consultation so you can revitalize your property today!