primer over paint
Can I Put Primer Over Paint?

Primer Before Paint: Do I Really Need to do the Extra Work?

We get it! You’re starting a painting project and looking at your existing surface. You ask yourself “Is this oil based paint or water base?” Then you think “What’s the big deal? I’ll just paint and worry about it later.” Hold on. Let’s discuss your options.

The good news is that a primer may not always be necessary. However, when it is necessary don’t skip the step. You’ll have disastrous results if you need it but don’t use it. First, let’s find out what types of primers are available. Watch this quick 7-minute video to familiarize yourself with the options.

Drywall Primer

If you’ve just installed drywall or are taking on a project with new drywall you’ll notice that it soaks up the paint. The paint will not be consistent because of the mudded areas where the joints and nails have been smoothed over. If you don’t use a primer you will notice that your final sheen will be uneven. So in this case you simply must use a good drywall primer.

Primer for Wood

If you’re dealing with bare wood you simply must use a primer that will give you the finished product you’re looking for. An oil-based wood primer is what we would recommend. Do you want the job done quickly? Then consider using some of the faster drying oil or latex-based products that are on the market. They will also allow for proper adhesion of your topcoat.
Here’s an exterior, oil-based primber from Sherman Williams.

Masonry Primer

When dealing with a masonry application we suggest using a primer for the following reasons:

  • Most masonry surfaces can have a high pH level. Therefor, you will end up with adhesion problems. So do not apply paint directly to the surface. 
  • Another problem is called efflorescence; these are ugly white, crystalline deposits that can form on any masonry surface. 

Primers That Block Stains

If you have knotty pine cabinets, or a striped wall that needs to be covered you can buy a primer that will block that stain. You’ll save money buying a good stain-blocking primer rather than taking a ‘shortcut’ and then using 5 coats of paint.

Stain Block Primer on Amazon

Bonding Primer for Slick Surfaces

Do you have a plastic surface that is slick? Things like metal, ceramic, or vinyl will not take paint without it literally slipping away at a later date. Anything with a high-gloss finish has this issue. Choosing a bonding primer will allow for the finish coat to actually adhere. Don’t take a shortcut on glossy surfaces.

Bonding Primer on Amazon

If you’re painting over something that has already been painted you may wonder “can I put primer over paint?” There is a product on the market called

Primer Over Paint?

We wonder if the new “primer-in-the-paint” is just a marketing gimmick. Bottom line, you’ll need 3 coats when you’re painting drywall. Why not use a good primer and then 2 coats of paint? 3 coats of paint will still be necessary so do it correctly and use the primer.

 Duration® by Sherwin-Williams could be perfect for you wood project.

If you’re coating over any surfaces that have never been painted before, just follow the guide above to find the proper category of primer for your project and you can’t go wrong.

Are you in San Diego and have a painting question like: “Can I put primer over paint?” then just call us. We are friendly and always ready to help.

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