Everything You Need to Know About Paint Primers Explained Here! (2023)

What is a paint primer?

Paint primer, otherwise also known as an undercoat, are painted onto the surface before the colour paint is added. There are three main reasons for using a primer on a surface. It provides strong adhesion that acts as a glue between the surface material and the paint. It is an extra layer between material and the paint. This allows the finishing paint better durability and protection on the material. It also blocks any smell or stain from the material from surfacing.

How is primer different from paint?

Without delving deep into the nitty-gritty stuff, the difference between primers and paints lies in the chemicals inside them. Primers contain resins that allow them to provide a chemical bond between the surface material and the paint. Paints contain pigments that provide them colour along with the durability to perform better under certain conditions and weather.

Everything You Need to Know About Paint Primers Explained Here! (1)

What types of primer are there?

Essentially there are three types of primers that you need to know. They are oil-based, shellac primer and latex-based. These types of primers can be found from your local hardware stores such as Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Bowens. Before you start randomly purchasing the first primer that you see, here are some things you need to know before selecting the right one for you.

  • Oil-based Primer

Oil-based primers are very versatile because they work well with both latex and oil paints and can be applied to a large number of different surfaces. The most common of all is wood and timber (interior, exterior, bare, finished, painted and unpainted). This is because oil-based primers are able to seal the porous surface of the wood and provide the paint with a better surface to paint over.

Other materials that oil-based primer works well with are metals such as steel. They are good at preventing stains from appearing through the new paint on the material. It should also be mentioned that oil-based primers can prevent or slow down paint peeling blistering and cracking.

However, the biggest downfalls of oil-based primers are that they take a long time to dry as well as releasing a lot of harmful chemicals in the form of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when exposed to for a long time.

  • Shellac Primer

Shellac primer, on the other hand, is not as versatile as an oil-based primer. They work well to seal in odours and smell from stained surfaces because they are made of denatured alcohol. Surfaces such as smoke damaged walls or severe water that requires the smell or stain to be sealed can be effectively done so by using a shellac primer. They also work on materials such as wood, plaster, plastic and metal.

Shellac primer is much quicker to dry than oil-based primers because they don’t penetrate the wood surface deeply. They are also the only primers that can be applied in freezing temperatures. Due to their ability to soften under high temperature, they can only be applied to certain areas on the surface in small patches, also known as “spot-priming”.

  • Latex-based Primer

Latex-based primers are water-based and are popular with priming unfinished drywall because it does a good job at smoothing out the surface for painting. They are flexible and quick to dry. Because they are quick to They also expand and contract along with the wood at various temperatures. Latex-based primers also perform well with soft-wood, galvanized metal and concrete.

Unlike oil-based primer and shellac primer, latex-based primers don’t prevent the appearance and sealing of stained surfaces as effectively as the other two. Furthermore, they also come as low-VOCs primers which makes them more healthier and safer to deal with.

Do I need primer?

While priming may seem unnecessary and a waste of money and time where you are basically doubling your workload for little to no benefits. However, priming is essential to preparation, and preparation is key to painting. So, when do you know if you need to prime your surface?

You need to apply a primer when:

  • Painting over a darker colour – You may find it difficult when deciding to change your wall colours from a dark tone to a lighter colour. Using a primer will absolutely be necessary to help you make the transition.
  • Painting latex-based paint over an oil-based one – Using a primer will help you gain a better adhesion between the two different paint based chemicals.
  • Painting over metal or plastic – Painting over metal or plastic surfaces can be frustrating. A primer will allow you to protect against rust as well as providing a strong foundation for the paint.
  • Painting a new wall – All new wall surfaces, especially drywall and bare wood, will require priming before painting. Wood is a very porous material and will absorb the new coats of paint if a primer is not applied to prevent it.
  • The walls are unattractive – Stains and damaged walls can be sealed in both appearance and smell by primers. More effectively by some than others as previously discussed.

You don’t need to apply a primer when:

  • The walls are in good shape – If your existing walls are in good condition without any significant stains or damages, then you a primer may not be absolutely necessary.
  • The new paint matches the existing one – A primer can be skipped if the new paint colour matches the old one.
  • Using self-priming paint – New paint these days are often mixed with primer so there is no need for you to purchase a primer separately.

Everything You Need to Know About Paint Primers Explained Here! (2)

How much paint primer do I need?

Estimating the amount of paint needed for a job that you don’t often carry out can be tricky. It can be frustrating to find out that you didn’t have enough paint, or you simply have too much. As a rule of thumb, a 4-litre bucket of primer will be sufficient to cover an area of 46 square metres, enough to paint a bathroom. It is recommended that you ask for professional advice to help you better estimate the amount of primer and paint that you will need as you will need to consider an extra coat or paint.

How many coats of primer should you do?

Primers don’t always cover the surface material completely. Because of this, you may need to apply two coats of primer when changing from one colour to another. For the most part, a normal drywall room should only require one coat of primer. Using a paint roller will allow you to gain good coverage.

If you are are trying to paint over a darker colour to a lighter colour, it is a good idea to tint the primer to the colour of your new paint. This will reduce the number of priming coats needed and will be more effective to cover the existing colour and stains.

Consider waterproof paint when painting ‘wet’ rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. There are many advantages of using waterproof paint that can save you money and time.

How long does primer need to dry?

Most primers will require a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour to dry before another coat can be applied on top. However, you should not begin painting until the primer has completely dried which can take up to 3 hours. So, if you are looking for professional results, it is best to wait for the primer to dry thoroughly.

Therefore, it is ideal to properly prepare the project before you get started as you may end up wasting time and worse, taking longer than needed. This is one of the advantages of hiring a professional painter.

Get the professionals to do it for you

If you aren’t exactly sure how much paint primer or paint you need for your interior home painting, you should always seek professional advice such as from Newline Painting. We have been providing high-quality interior painting for Melbourne residents at competitive rates. Our professional painters each have more than 10 years of industry experience and can provide you with valuable information.

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What are the three basic types of primers? ›

Types of Primers. There are three basic types of primers: oil-based, latex and pigmented shellac primer. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and works best on certain surfaces and in particular circumstances.

What you should know about paint and primer in one? ›

Paint provides color, hiding, sheen, scrub resistance and protection against the elements. Primers seal the substrate, help provide uniform coverage, provide adhesion (between the substrate or wall and the paint) and block stains. In other words, a primer prepares the wall you are about to paint.

What kind of paint primer should I use? ›

If your paint job entails indoors and outdoors, an interior/exterior primer is good to use. Otherwise, use separate primers formulated for indoors or outdoors. The best interior paint primer to use depends on the surface you're painting and what type of paint you're using.

How many coats of primer should be used before painting? ›

You will want to use 2-3 coats of primer to ensure there is a good bond between the new paint and the wall, and also to cover up any previous colors, especially if they are red, orange, or a strange outdated color. In short, you will typically need 2 coats of primer for most painting projects.

How do I choose the right primer? ›

Look for primers with words like “hydrating,” “soothing,” or “replenishing.” Pick a mattifying primer if you have oily skin. If you struggle with excess oil and shine, you want to combat this with your primer. To do so, your best bet is a great mattifying primer that will reduce your skin's oil production.

What do the different colors of primer mean? ›

Like prepping walls before a paint job, primers help fill in fine lines to create a smoother surface, so makeup glides right on. The new tinted versions have added benefits: A pink hue gives luminosity; yellow tones down ruddiness; purple brightens and reduces sallowness; and peach cancels out hyperpigmentation.

Do you need 2 coats of paint over primer? ›

On a new wall, you'll want to follow the rule and apply two coats of paint after primer. Follow the same standard for drywall. If you're repainting a wall, you'll only need one coat if you're using the same color and it's a quality paint.

Should I sand between coats of primer and paint? ›

Primer should also be sanded before the paint goes on the wall; for a top-notch job, sand between paint coats, too.

Do you need two coats if you use primer? ›

Depending on how strong or bold the previous color is, it may be necessary to apply more than one coat of primer. However, it is not necessary to over apply the primer with so many coats. As long as the primer applies uniformly over the previous color, then one or two coats should be sufficient.

Should I prime over old paint? ›

Most projects where you're going over a previously-painted surface do not require the use of a primer. In many cases all you'll need to do is spot-prime any bare areas that need to be addressed before applying your finish.

How long after priming can I paint? ›

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR PRIMR TO DRY? Most latex primers dry to the touch in 30 minutes to one hour. But for best results, don't paint until the primer completely dries—which can take up to 3 hours, depending on temperature and humidity. Once the primer is completely dry, it's prime time for painting.

How long should primer dry between coats? ›

A good rule of thumb is to wait at least three hours to recoat your paint or primer if it's water-based. Waiting 24 hours is best for oil-based paint and primer.

Do you need to stir primer before painting? ›

2 – Stir It

Just as is the case with paint, it's important to give the primer you use a good stir before applying it. Even if it says this isn't necessary on the can, it's still a good idea to grab a stick and give it a stir.

Which brand primer is best? ›

  • Best Overall. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer. ...
  • Best Budget. Honest Beauty Everything Primer Matte. ...
  • Best Splurge. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. ...
  • Best Smoothing. Tarte Cosmetics Poreless Mattifying Primer. ...
  • Best for Large Pores. Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Face Primer. ...
  • Best Mattifying. ...
  • Best Illuminating. ...
  • Best Vegan.
Dec 5, 2022

Are more coats of primer better? ›

Generally, one to two coats of primer will suffice for painting interior walls, but how many you'll need depends on the wall material, the paint color, and the type of primer used. Keep reading for the magic number of primer coats for all types of interior painting projects.

Is white or GREY primer better? ›

--For covering up walls that are dark, or rich in color, a gray colored primer works best. This hides the tone of the color underneath best. With a white primer you will need 2-4 coats of primer, to cover blacks, and reds.

Does quality of paint primer matter? ›

The right primer can accomplish a lot that self-priming paints can't. They can seal fresh drywall, wood, and MDF. They can improve adhesion to metals and plastics. They can block stains from tannins in wood, water damage, or smoke.

Why use pink primer? ›

Pink primers add luminosity to every skin tone and make the complexion look all-around healthier. We're obsessed with Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base in Lavender Pink because it also disguises fine lines and large pores.

What happens if you apply second coat of primer too soon? ›

Applying the second coat too early will result in streaks, peeling paint, and uneven color. Not only will this ruin the entire project but it'll cost additional money to get more paint in some occasions. It's best to wait for the first coat to dry.

Should you sand after primer? ›

Sand the Primer

Let the primer dry completely, then sand it down before painting. Use very fine 220-grit sandpaper, and apply light pressure to prevent gouging the primer.

How thick should primer be applied? ›

For a normally clean environment, a coat of up to 50 microns is considered adequate. For a dusty or humid location requiring constant servicing and cleaning, a thicker coat, say, up to 70–80 microns, is considered to be adequate. A thickness of up to 50 microns is possible through one coat of primer and paint.

What grit to use before primer? ›

What grit sandpaper should I use before primer? When looking to sand a surface before applying primer, the best grit sandpaper to use is 320 to 400. Both these grits can effectively remove the existing primer and help you flatten the surface.

What grit should I sand after primer? ›

After the board is hung, finished and primed, remember to lightly sand the primed walls again before finish painting. Now you may be thinking "SAND AGAIN?!?" after just finishing the messy drywall stage, but a light sand with 150 or 180 grit sandpaper is very important.

Do you wet sand after primer? ›

Whether you're talking about paint, primer, bare metal or anything in between, your car's body can be smoothed by wet sanding. Wet sanding, also known as color sanding, adds shine to a finished paint job.

Can you wait too long between coats of primer? ›

Latex, water-based, and acrylic paints need at least four hours between coats, but waiting eight hours or longer is even better. Oil-based paint and primer need at least 24 hours between coats. Recoating too soon can lead to poor adhesion, peeling paint, and uneven color.

Can I just wear primer alone? ›

Absolutely! If you are interested in experimenting with a no-makeup look, then using a primer alone is a great option. You can still experience the soothing benefits of the product that work to reduce redness and irritation.

Do you need to cut in primer? ›

Cut In and Spot Prime

First, you should apply primer to the corners and edges of your wall before starting on the areas that require extra attention. Cut into corners with a 2-3 inch brush, look here for more tips on correctly outlining your wall.

Can I prime then paint the next day? ›

Primer Drying Time

Most latex primers dry to the touch within 30 minutes to 1 hour. But do not paint the wall until the primer dries thoroughly, which can take up to 3 hours. High humidity and cool temperatures prolongs drying times.

Can you prime and paint in the same day? ›

Priming then painting on the same day is doable only if you work with latex-based or shellac primers. On average, these two primers take about 1-3 hours to dry per coat. On the other hand, if you are using an oil-based primer, you would need to wait for 4 hours up to a whole day for the coat to dry.

Can you just paint over existing paint? ›

If the current wall is smooth, clean and covered with the same type of paint (both are oil-based for example), you can head straight for the paint. You need to fill holes, spackle and sand*, maybe even cut a new piece of drywall in to the existing wall.

What are the 3 main ingredients typically found in today's primers? ›

Priming compound is a mechanical mixture of lead styphnate, antimony sulfide, barium nitrate, and other chemicals. This combination will create heat and gas when struck sharply.

What is a Level 5 primer? ›

Level 5 is a high quality interior PVA primer surfacer designed to smooth imperfections and uniform wallboard surfaces. It can be used to help achieve a level 5 drywall finish without the use of a skim coat.

What are the 3 main strategies for primer design? ›

There are 3 strategies for primer design: 1) insert-specific primers, 2) backbone-specific primers, and 3) orientation-specific primers.

Can you prime over peeling paint? ›

When peeling or chipping paint is found in a small area, you may be able to simply brush off the peeling paint and then prime the wall and paint over it. As long as the remaining edges of the peeling area are stable, this solution will work.

Should I let primer dry overnight? ›

Shellac primer is an organic solvent and one that dries very fast. You can paint after 1 hour if you want, but we suggest letting it sit for at least 2 or 3 hours or overnight to be sure it's completely dry before painting.

What happens if you don't dry primer? ›

Primer needs enough time to dry; applying paint too soon, you risk ruining the painting project. If you wait for the primer to dry completely before you apply thin coats of paint. By letting it dry, you will prevent the primer from pulling from the bare wood, color peel, or ending up with a flaky-looking surface.

How long can you leave primer unpainted? ›

Not more than a day or two, usually - and keep it indoors. Primers are usually porous, and rust will soon form under the primer, ruining the paint job.

Do you apply primer with a brush or roller? ›

Just as it does with makeup and on cars, primer creates a smooth base that promotes better adhesion and truer color from your topcoat paint. Pro-tip: Apply primer using a brush first to “cut in" around edges, then use a roller to fill in.

Is one coat of kilz primer enough? ›

How many coats of Kilz will I need? Usually one coat of Kilz will be enough to cover any texture issues, stains, previous colors, and odors. For darker colors, it is recommended to use two coats of Kilz. It will also be helpful to tint your Kilz primer, which can speed up the process too.

How do you use primer for beginners? ›

It's simple. If you're using a moisturizer, apply that first, then let your skin dry for a few minutes. Beginning at the center of your face, apply just a light layer of primer, dabbing it in with your fingers ​or a makeup sponge. Allow the primer to dry for a few minutes before applying your foundation.

Do you apply primer with your fingers? ›

In regard to application, makeup artists Allan Avendaño, Mary Phillips, and Robin Black all recommend using fingers to apply primer, as they say it's the best and easiest way to blend everything and get a seamless finish.

What are the primer types in PCR? ›

Two primers, forward primer and reverse primer, are used in each PCR reaction, which are designed to flank the target region for amplification. Two complementary single strands of DNA are released during denaturation.

What is primer and its types? ›

A primer is a short nucleic acid sequence that provides a starting point for DNA synthesis. In living organisms, primers are short strands of RNA. A primer must be synthesized by an enzyme called primase, which is a type of RNA polymerase, before DNA replication can occur.

What is primer 3 used for? ›

Primer3 is a widely used program for designing PCR primers (PCR = "Polymerase Chain Reaction"). PCR is an essential and ubiquitous tool in genetics and molecular biology. Primer3 can also design hybridization probes and sequencing primers.

What are the types of primer in ballistics? ›

There are two types of primers—Boxer and Berdan. Almost all U.S. rifle and pistol cartridges have Boxer primers. Boxer primers consist of a brass or metal cup, ignition compound and an anvil. Cartridge cases designed for Boxer primers have a single flash hole to allow the flame and sparks to pass through.

What are the two sets of primers? ›

In multiplex PCR, two or more primer sets designed for amplification of different targets are included in the same PCR reaction. Using this technique, more than one target sequence in a clinical specimen can be amplified in a single tube.

What is the primer explain briefly? ›

Primers are short stretches of DNA that target unique sequences and help identify a unique part of genome — let's say, a gene. Primers are usually 18 to 25 nucleotides long. They can be synthesized in a special lab, and are used in many different ways.

What is the main purpose of primer? ›

Primer is a base coat used to help treat a surface before applying a topcoat. Accordingly, primer is formulated to ensure maximum adhesion. Better paint adhesion means your paint job lasts longer. Likewise, primer acts as a sealer for porous surfaces that would otherwise absorb the first few coats of paint.

What is GREY primer used for? ›

Usually available in three shades, gray-tinted primer produces deeper results with fewer coats than you'd get with white primer or primer tinted to the base color. Gray-tinted primer is great under deep, bold colors like navy blue and red because it ensures coverage and improves hide with fewer coats.

What is yellow primer good for? ›

Yellow primers are a great choice for people with yellow undertones because they help neutralize blue or purple, making your skin look more neutral and refreshed.

What makes a good primer? ›

PCR primers should have a length between 18 and 24 nucleotides, and probes between 15 to 30 nucleotides. The optimal melting temperature (Tm) of a primer is 54°C or higher. The annealing temperature (Ta) of a primer is often above its Tm (of 2-5°C). The GC content of a primer should be between 40% and 60%.

Should I use 1k or 2K primer? ›

1K vs 2K – Uses:

1K – suited to interior use, low traffic areas, and places less prone to general wear and tear. 2K – suited to exterior use, heavy use areas, high temperature surfaces and other harsh environments.

Do primers start at 3 or 5? ›

Because primers are read and created by humans our reverse primer need to be written from the beginning to the end. This is called the “reverse complement” of the top strand. The 4 bases that bind to the 3' of the top strand are TCGC. But remember that the primer starts at the 3' end so it should be read as CGCT.

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