Do I need to prime?

That is the question...


In my previous post I talked about preparation being key to a great finish, whether to prime or not is an important question to ask during your preparation.  The surface has to be clean and free of dust, grease, impurities and anything that could prevent the top coat of paint from adhering to the surface.


The newly engineered paints that have paint and primer in one - often lead customers astray and place an unnecessary burden on the budget. Yet, these paints have come a long way and do serve a valuable purpose to the consumer.  On small jobs with little repair, the first coat doubles as the primer coat.  This does save time and money, however, these paints do tend to cost more.  A  gallon of primer is one of the least expensive paints to purchase, yet can streamline a job and save hours of heartache.  Let me give you a few example:  

  • ALKYD PAINT:  This is a no brainer to me.  Back in the day, most oil paints were lead based.  Rather then touch it, I PRIME IT! A light buffing/sanding is often recommended prior to priming to ensure proper adherance to the surface, if so, mask off - be safe!
  • DRYWALL:  Preparing to paint over new drywall? PRIME!  
  • PATCHING:  If there is a lot of patching required - SPOT PRIME (either use the paint/primer in one as a spot primer, or use a primer to coat all the patches).  
  • WALLPAPER:  If you've just removed wallpaper and discover the surface to be oil paint or the wall needs significant repair before you can paint, PRIME first with a good latex primer to lock/block that wall. 
  • WOOD TRIM:  PRIME the new wood first with a brush, then once dry, take a sponge pad (150 grit) and buff the trim before topping it.
  • SILICONE:  Latex paint will NOT adhere to it - the paint will creep.  You need to PRIME first. Use a lacquer based primer like BIN Shellac based primer, it sticks to everything and dries extremely quickly. (20min)
  • MELAMINE or TILE:  Use an all surface primer, often alkyd/oil based that adheres well to any surface.  I've always hestistated to paint tile - just me I guess!  I find the finish to be too textured even with the right primer and top quality paint, but I've done it and yes, I admit, it looked okay.  The texture bugged me.


This list is in no way comprehensive, but it does give you an idea of when to prime or not.  If you're concerned whether paint will adhere to a 'slick' surface, start by buffing/sanding it then prime.  You won't regret it.


Happy painting and Happy day!


Please leave any comments or helpful tips you've discovered. Thanks for reading.

Comments: 1
  • #1

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