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Do You Have to Use Primer Before Painting? Know Pros and Cons

Do You Have to Use Primer Before Painting? Know Pros and Cons

Knowing whether or not Do You Have to Use Primer Before Painting?  can be challenging. Some people respond "yes," while others say "no." However, some claim it doesn't make much difference either way. What are the pros and cons of applying primer before painting? To answer this question, you first need to understand how primer works and what problems it can solve for you when painting your home. Then, it will be easier to decide whether or not it makes sense to use primer on your next painting project.

What is a primer & how does it works?


A primer is a substance that coats a surface to create a good foundation for the paint. It creates a clean, smooth surface so the color will go on evenly and cover better. If you want your new color to stay put and not peel off as soon as it starts to chip, this is an important step. Additionally, suppose you are painting over an old painted surface. In that case, the priming process can help match the new color with what's already there. However, using a primer may delay the drying time of the paint because the two substances need to dry together. Primers must also be correctly sealed. Otherwise, they could cause damage to your existing surfaces. Moreover, depending on what type of surface you're priming, you might need a specific kind of primer which may be more expensive than just buying regular paint.

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When to use a primer before painting?


Paint will last longer with primer applied first. Some professionals may even recommend using a primer if you plan on painting a wall more than twice. The primer provides extra protection against fading, peeling, cracking or chipping. Depending on the quality of your paint job, priming will also provide some surface preparation for the finish coat of paint that goes over it. There are a few situations in which priming is a must before painting.

  • If you paint over wallpaper, you'll need to prime it first, or the paint will likely peel off with the paper. 
  • If you have water damage on your walls, such as from a leaky pipe, the moisture can cause layers of paint to peel off if you don't need prime first so it can properly dry out and cure. 
  • If you have heavily textured walls (like popcorn ceiling), then primer provides an even surface for the paint to adhere to.

Pros Of Applying Primer Before Paint

  • Fewer Coats Needed

When you apply primer before painting, it's like a one-coat painting process. You can save time on the project, which is always a plus. Additionally, priming a surface before painting ensures that the paint sticks better to the surface of what you are trying to coat (such as furniture).

  • Protection From Uv Rays

A significant benefit of applying primer before paint is that it protects your newly painted surface from UV rays. If the color is unprotected, UV rays will damage it over time and cause cracking or flaking.

  • Increased Longevity Of Your Paint Job

Applying primer before paint will help prolong the life of your new paint job. Because primer seals any chipped areas in the old color, you won't have to worry about those parts continuing to chip away as time goes by. It also fills in small cracks in the old paint so that they don't continue to grow bigger and lead to future problems. Many primers include sealant, which protects against dirt, grime, moisture, and staining from other materials. 

  • More Affordable Than Full Painting

One more pro of applying primer before paint is that it's cheaper than complete painting because you need fewer coats.

Cons Of Applying Primer Before Paint

  • Less Color Variety

One downside of applying primer before paint is limiting colour choices because you're going over an existing coat instead of starting fresh. 

  • Odor

Another con of applying primer before paint is that some types may produce an odor during application. Other primers, such as silicone-based primers, may not leave any smell behind.

  • Application Time

There is also a slight downside to applying primer before painting. It takes longer to prepare for your home improvement project since you must allow enough time for the primer to dry.

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Types Of Primers Available

There are several types of primers available to apply before painting.

Latex-Based Primer

One type is a latex-based primer that provides the most coverage and a durable surface for paint. Latex-based primers can be used on wood, concrete, brick, or plaster surfaces but must be covered up when not in use to avoid drying out. 

Water-Based Primer

Another type is a water-based primer that doesn't provide as much coverage as latex-based but is easier to work with because it dries faster than latex. Water-based primers are best for interior projects because they're often thinner and will dry faster. 

Oil-Based Primer

A third type is an oil-based primer typically best for exterior jobs where humidity levels may vary due to weather conditions. These primers can also last longer than other primers but take longer to dry. You should apply oil-based primers only to bare metal, concrete, or previously painted surfaces. Moreover, it shouldn't touch plants, trees, or grass around the painted area.


Do I need to prime it before painting the exterior?

Yes, primer is required if you plan to paint your home's exterior. Paint will flake or chip off if you will not use a primer before painting in months. 

Do I need to use prime on already painted walls?

No, there is no need for priming on already-painted walls. However, if there are cracks, water spots, or grease on the walls, it would be beneficial to prime them first. 

Final Thoughts 

Summing up, there are many pros and cons of applying primer before painting. However, it all depends on the type of surface you're painting, your budget and how much time you have to spare. Hence, if you have a lot of different characters that need painting or if the walls are particularly rough, then using primer can save time and money in the long run. If you're unsure which way to go, try both ways and see what works best!


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