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All About Paint Primers

Paint primer has a variety of purposes from creating a suitable surface for a top coat of coating to adhere to, to helping cover up imperfections in a substrate. Paint primer can also potentially help keep overall paint usage down as it may not absorb as much as a top coat of paint would into a substrate which can help reduce your overall painting cost. Paint primers are not always needed and will depend on your project, below are a few of the main categories of paint primers

Wood Primers

Wood based primers help create a stable base for a pigmented paint to adhere to and reduce absorption into the wood. The primer adheres better to the wood and paint adheres better to primer than wood giving you a more durable coated surface.  Failure to use a primer on certain woods (like pine) can create issues where the paint absorbs unevenly and creates a poor looking finish. You can learn more about wood primers and whether to use them or not here. There are a variety of primer options on the market today from oil based to the newer fast dry oil and latex products. With certain woods like Cedar or Redwood, you should consider oil based primers because it will penetrate deeper into the wood.

Drywall Primers

Drywall should almost always be primed if it is new drywall. New drywall absorbs paint rapidly and often times without a primer will absorb paint unevenly which can result in an uneven appearance in the finish. If it is old drywall chances are the drywall may have been primed and you may want to consider a primer to cover the original paint more effectively or if it is bare and you are unsure if it has been primed it can usually still make sense to use a primer.

Masonry  Primer

Masonry benefits from primer as the surface can often have issues with allowing proper adhesion. Specifically, the PH will often be high with brick so you should consider a primer made for masonry or a primer that is labeled alkali resistant primer. An additional benefit is that a masonry primer can help reduce the chance of white deposits from developing on the surface of your masonry.

Stain Blocking Primers

These type of primers help cover up a previous stain or discoloration in the substrate that you are concerned will bleed through your topcoat. They effectively hide the underlying stain well and prevent it from showing through. The two common types of stain blocking primers are oil based and water based formulations. Each is better suited for different types of stains. In general water based primers are better at blocking solvent based stains like grease while oil based primers are better at blocking water based odors like nicotine or water damage. These primers typically come in a white color and it can be helpful to have them tinted closer to your topcoat color to better improve

Primers to Promote Binding

Another common class of primers are binding primers. These type of primers are designed to adhere to surfaces that may be difficult for a top coat or regular paint to properly bind with. Common surfaces that this can be true of include plastics or surfaces with high gloss indicating that they may be difficult to bind with.

Primer and Paint in One

These are paints that have the primer built in with the theory being that you would only have to apply a single coating to achieve the benefits of both primer (increased adhesion) and paint (covering the substrate and providing color). While this sounds like more benefit for the same money, there are unique challenges with paint & primer in one. A good time to consider paint and primer in one can be when you are painting an already painted wall which is similar in color to the new color you want to use. If you are painting a wall with a significantly different color or a surface that has not been primed before it is often better to not use a paint and primer in one product. These are broad generalizations and you can always ask a coating representative if you have concerns with your specific application.

Additional information on Paint Primers

Some primers are specified for multiple uses.  If this is the case for your primer make sure it is listed to be used for your surface you are applying it to. Additionally, you want to make sure that the primer has been specified to meet any temperature, humidity, ph, and any additional requirements your surface may require.

Remember in general surfaces that have been previously painted will not typically need a primer but if it is a new surface you will typically want to use an appropriate primer. If you need help knowing the best way to spray your primers to get a job done fast and efficient you can contact us here.

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