Priming Before Painting: Must Or Waste?


by Houston Texas Painters - June 16, 2021
Priming Before Painting Must Or Waste_Houston Texas Painters

Do I need to prime before painting? An important step before painting a room is to decide if you need to add primer to your walls. Priming is not always necessary to get the perfect finish—in some cases, adding an extra coat of paint can do the trick. However, if you skip this step, you can end up with a blotchy, uneven, and messy paint job.

The challenge comes when you have to decide if your walls need a coat of primer before painting. Keep reading to find out!

Do I need to prime before painting?


What could go wrong if you don’t prime before painting? As we said before, painting your wall without primer can leave the surface with a blotchy and uneven finish. Also, the defects in the texture can show up easily through the paint, or the color might differ in some areas of the surface.

DIY room painting projects are an easy way to remodel your home interiors, but they can be overwhelming. Check out our Step-by-step Guide For Painting A Room if you want the whole picture.

Although primers may seem like just plain white paint, they are not. Most primers work more like glue than paint, sealing the imperfections of the wall. The purpose of priming before painting is to give the paint an even surface where it can adhere smoothly. The consequences of not priming your walls depend on a number of factors, including the wall materials and the type of paint you are using. However, there are some situations where priming is essential.

When primer becomes a must


What happens if you don’t use primer before painting?

  • Unwanted variations in color and sheen
  • Inappropriate paint adhesion.
  • Visible wall imperfections through the topcoat.
  • Stains and water can leak through the paint.

In several cases, primer is a must. This means that skipping the coat of primer will likely end in one or more of the mentioned issues. Take a look and ensure to use high-quality primer for the following situations!

Painting a porous surface


Drywall compound, unfinished wood, brick, and wallpaper have something in common: they are very porous. The issue with porous surfaces is that they absorb the paint like sponges. This might bring you two major problems: 

  1. The finish and color of the paint will be different where the material is more porous.
  2. You’ll be using much more paint than you should.

Priming a porous wall resolves both problems for you. As we already mentioned, a primer works more like a sealer than a paint. It will help you fill-up the small holes and imperfections on a porous surface, preventing them from absorbing the paint. This is the reason why priming brand-new drywall or any other porous material is a must!

Painting a glossy surface


You are better off priming glossy surfaces too! The paint will hardly grip this type of texture—contrary to porous walls where adherence is not the problem. To get the best results, the paint should be able to adhere nicely to the wall. Otherwise, it can just end up blotchy and peel off. You might also struggle with the painting project if you use latex paint on a wall that has a coat of oil-based paint. If you are not sure how the new paint will hold on the wall, avoid surprises by priming it!

Painting a stained wall


Many DIY painting projects start as a way to hide spots and stains. However, some homeowners may find out that the stains show up through the coats of paint! If you want to cover water stains, grease, smoke stains, dirt, or a kid’s “art project,” you should first apply a coat of primer. A spot can remain visible or slowly come back after painting, but it also can affect the paint’s finish by changing the surface texture. Regular paint isn’t designed to deal with stains, but most primers do. 

Changing the pallet color


Interior design trends change with time, and you might want to go with a completely different pallet for your room. However, painting a dark color wall with a lighter pallet can cause headaches to DIY homeowners. If you are in this situation, you need to prime your walls before painting. You don’t have to commit to the same color hue!

When you can skip the priming


Although priming a surface before painting might always help, it is not always necessary. For example, if the wall you are painting is already smooth, you can get good results even if you don’t prime it. Likewise, if you are retouching the color of your walls, you only need to ensure the surface is clean before starting rolling the paint.

Also, self-priming paint is becoming more popular among homeowners. These types of paint are thicker than regular paints, fulfilling some of the purposes of primer—while not with the same quality. 

Priming matters when painting a room. To get the best results in your DIY interior painting projects, you need our complete guide! So check it out and give your room a fresh look.