Do I Need to Prime Before I Paint?

PrimeBeforePaint-Claffey'sPaintingTo prime or not to prime, that is the question!

What’s the point of priming before you paint anyway?

I thought it would be interesting to look up the definition of prime:

These definitions apply as adjectives

  • Of most importance – main
  • Of the best quality – excellent

When talked about in connection with painting, it makes a lot of sense, priming is of most importance for the best quality.

That being said, is it always necessary to prime? It often is, but isn’t always

When to prime?

Painting on new, unfinished walls: These surfaces will act like a sponge and soak the paint up unevenly, which will cause an uneven, blotchy look to your project. By using a primer before your chosen paint, you are ensuring your walls a smooth even look. Some people might think that it’s good enough to just use 2 or more coats of the main paint, but the problem with that is the primer is usually much less expensive than you quality interior paint.

PrimerPaint-ClaffeysPaintingPainting on bare wood: Much like bare walls, bare wood will soak up the paint and it is difficult for paint to stick to it. The key to painting bare wood correctly is to apply a good  primer and let it dry thoroughly before adding a topcoat.

Painting marked, stained or damaged walls: For this situation you would want to choose a stain-blocking primer made specific to your situation. If not, the damage will most likely bleed through your paint. Also, if you’re painting a lighter color over already dark walls, tinted primer works well.

Painting masonry surfaces: Due to the high pH levels in some masonry, paint will not adhere well. A quality primer will help avoid those problems.

Painting over glossy surfaces: Walls that have previously been painted with a glossy or oil based paint will not let your new paint stick to them. Purchase a good bonding primer for your paint to adhere well.

Multi-purpose primers or all-in-one paint/primers have become quite popular. Be sure to read the label before you buy one to make sure it will cover the type of surface you plan on painting.

Don’t want peeling, chipping and curling, then it’s probably a good idea to use a good primer. It will help hide discolorations, cover flaws and help ensure a nice even paint job. It’s not intended to be the final finish, but the base of a really good finish.

You don’t have to prime if:

You are painting over surfaces using the same type of paint that is already there, and if the old color is not a lot darker than the new one.

Don’t want to deal with any of it?

Call Claffey’s for a free estimate – (425) 888-3634

Claffey’s Painting is a full service painting contractor serving Western Washington, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties. We have painted over 7000 homes and would enjoy the opportunity to help paint yours. We can guide you through all the decision making processes so you get the right paint for the right job, and the professional job you’re looking for.