If you’re planning on repainting a room in your home, you may have come across primer while picking out paint. But what exactly is a primer, and do you even need it?
What Is Primer?
First and foremost a primer is a coat of paint that goes on before the color. It may sound like a step you can skip, but applying a primer helps ensure that the final coat of color is clear, even, and adhered without issue. While you can skip over this step,the paint will wear out quicker, and will lose it’s durability much faster than if it had been applied over primer.
There are many different types of primers. For interior use the primer works to create a smooth even surface application and additional adhesion. For exterior use, primers are formulated to help prevent mildew growth and cracking due to exposure to heat and water. If you’re unsure which primer is right for your job, don’t hesitate to ask your local paint store.
Types Of Wall Primer.
While I touched briefly on exterior versus interior primers, there are a couple more difference you should know before you start priming walls.
- Oil Based Primer Oil based primers are used throughout the industry because they mix well with both oil and latex based paints. Wood, pre-painted, and even metal surfaces can be covered with this primer. Professional painters also use oil based primer for painting over stains, this prevents them from showing through the new color and ruining the paint job.
This type of primer for painting is what you should use if you’re painting over bare wood in particular, as it acts as a sealant. It also prevents tannins, the stains released from woods like cedar, from bleeding into the top coat over time.
The downside to this type of primer is that they can take longer to dry than other types. Additionally, they also release compounds that can be harmful with prolonged exposure. If you’re using an oil based primer make sure you’re doing so in a well ventilated area, and that you are able to devote time to let it dry completely before applying your color.
- Latex Based Primer Latex is good for covering drywall, and unlike it’s oil based counterpart has a speedier drying time. This type of primer for painting can be used on brick, concrete, soft wood, and some metals. While it is also capable of covering small stains, for bigger bolder stains you’ll still be susceptible to the color bleeding through.
One of the biggest benefits to latex based primers is that they’re easier to clean and, unlike oil based, release fewer to no harmful compounds while applied and drying.
- Shellac Primers This type of primer for painting is a good choice for interior spaces, and tops the list when it comes to stain blocking. Shellac primers are even capable of blocking the smell of old smoke, in addition to built up nicotine stains that can be near impossible to keep covered otherwise.
This type of primer can be used on wood, plaster, metal, and plastic without issue. They are also among the quickest to dry. In addition to that they can also be used with either oil or latex based paints, meaning you won’t have any issue with coverage or adhesion.
The downside of shellac is that it does give off more fumes while being applied, and requires denatured alcohol to thin.
As you can see there are pros and cons to each primer, and which one you need depends on the job you need done. If you’re uncertain, talking to someone at your local paint store can help you decide on which option will work best for a long lasting color.