Paint Primer 101: What is Paint Primer?

Everything you need to know about this essential first step.

Not sure if you need to use paint primer before painting? Find out what primer does, when you need to use it, how many coats you need and more.

Priming walls may seem like an extra step in the painting process, but the benefits far outweigh the extra work. Think of paint primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job. From cutting down the number of coats you’ll need, to protecting your paint from wear over the years, priming actually makes your job easier in the long run. And no matter what your skill level, using a wall primer will help you achieve a professional-looking finish.

What Does Paint Primer Do?

  • Covers imperfections such as areas of your wall that may have been patched or repaired.
  • Blocks and conceals stains so they don't bleed through your newly painted finish.
  • Provides a uniform surface for your paint to stick to. (Better adhesion = a longer-lasting paint job.)
  • Creates a uniform base for a smooth, seamless paint application, so you can get the job done in fewer coats.
  • Neutralizes the color of your surface so when new paint is applied, the truest, most brilliant, color shines through.

Not sure if you need to use paint primer before painting? Find out what primer does, when you need to use it, how many coats you need and more.When To Use Paint Primer

While our paint is self-priming, we always recommend using primer before your two coats of paint for a pro-quality finish. Priming first also allows for the richest, truest color to shine through. We call it the perfect base for brilliant color. In most cases, one coat of primer should do the trick, but you’ll definitely want to use two coats of primer in these circumstances:

  • When switching from a higher sheen to a lower sheen finish, like from semi-gloss to eggshell.
  • Switching from a dark color to a lighter one.
  • If your walls have been repaired or patched.
  • If you're painting a humid area like a bathroom, which is more susceptible to mildew and leaching.
  • If your wall has stains that you want to block (like water spots from a bathroom leak or smoke damage from a fire in a kitchen).
  • When painting unfinished wood trim or other very porous surfaces.

How Many Coats of Primer Do I Need?

How much primer you need will depend on the material and condition of your walls If you’re using paint primer on a wall in good condition, and you're not changing finishes or making a drastic color change, one coat should do the trick. Use two coats for best results if you’re painting over a darker color, a glossier paint finish, or a porous surface.

Need help figuring out how much Primer you need? Check out our helpful guide: READ MORE


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