Do You Need To Be Priming Before Painting?

Many novice painters and decorators ask the same question: do you really need to be priming your walls and surfaces before painting? Is it an essential step in the painting and decorating process, or is it just something else that is going to cost money and make the job take longer?

The answer is yes, it is important. There is a huge difference between painting straight onto a wall and painting on a primed and prepared wall. You can feel the difference and you can see the difference. There are very few instances where it will not be worth the extra time and expense.

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When is priming not necessary?

As we said above, there are very few instances when priming is not worth doing. However, that does not mean it is necessary every single time. If a previously painted surface or wall is not chipping or peeling and is in otherwise good condition, then yes, you can probably get away with not priming. There are some exceptions to this, of course - if it is a drastic color change, then priming is a good idea, or if there are any significant marks or stains on the wall that could potentially show through the new coat of paint.

Stain-blocking primer

If you put just use your standard primer on stained wood, on walls with water stains or greasy fingerprints, or with knots on wood, and then paint it, the stains will bleed through each layer of paint and you are going to have to start again. This is where the use of a stain-blocking primer is essential.

There are two types of stain-blocking primer, both of which are effective at blocking not just stains, but odors too. These are oil-based primers and water-based ones. An oil-based stain-blocking primer is considered most effective for covering water-based stains, such as nicotine, rust, and tobacco. However, it is a much stronger smelling primer and to clean up you will need a paint-thinner. For stuff marks and oil-based stains such as wax, grease, ink, and scuff marks, a water-based stain-blocking primer is your best bet.

Repainting woodwork

Spot-priming is usually required when you are repainting interior woodwork. Previously, a full coat of primer was essential to ensure a good job when painting bare wood or patched up areas, but these days, the products are so much better. While a full coat is never going to hurt at all, it is not always necessary anymore.

Drywall Primer-Sealer

Drywall seams create somewhat of a challenge when it comes to painting because the mud does not dry in the same way drywall does. Without using a drywall primer-sealer, the difference in porosity will lead to dull and uneven paint where it has covered the mud.

Timing is essential

Primers are designed to chemically interact and bond with the paint that is used over the top of them, but this needs to happen within a particular period of time. It is usually around 48 hours - after this point, the effectiveness of that chemical interaction and bond begins to weaken, and the primer will need to be reapplied to give the best possible results.

Choose the right primer and paint combination

For the best possible results, choose a primer and paint made by the same manufacturer and brand. This is because they are formulated to work together and react with one another in a particular way. While mixing brands will work, there is a much greater chance of it being less effective.

Use the right color primer

You might be wondering why the color of the primer matters if you are going to paint over it, but it really does. If you are planning to use a dark color over the top of the primer, try to avoid using a white primer. Use one with a grey or slightly darker tint so that it better matches with your primer.

So, do you need to prime before painting? Well, the answer is no, it is not essential. However, if you are hoping for a good finish, a coat of primer is never going to hurt and in some cases, it can be the difference between looking like an amateur did it and looking like a professional has done it. If you want to skip it altogether, get in touch with us and let our team of painters and decorators do the hard work for you.

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