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Selecting the Right Primer
New wood - If you’re wood isn't seriously stained, use a high-quality latex primer or an oil-based primer. If you have wood that's stained or you're painting redwood or cedar, use a stain-blocking primer.
Painted wood - If your paint is in very good condition, a primer may not be needed. However, if you have exposed wood, chalking or chipped paint, use an oil-based primer. Before you prime, scrape away as much chipped paint as possible and wash off any chalk. (Just because you're using a primer doesn't mean you should skip surface preparation.)
Weathered wood - Use a high-quality latex or oil-based primer. Sand and scrape away as much paint as possible. When you start to see new wood fibers, start priming.
Masonry block - Fill a fresh surface with block filler before painting. If repainting, scrape off any loose or peeling paint and cover with latex paint. Use a block filler only if the paint has been completely scraped off.
Aluminum and galvanized steel - If your surface is rusty, remove the rust and apply a latex or oil-based, corrosion-resistant primer. If the surface is new and rust-free, you can apply a high-quality latex paint and no primer.
Drywall - Use a latex primer. Don't use an oil-based primer unless you're putting up wallpaper or covering a stain. Oil-based primers raise the grain of the drywall and make the finish look uneven.
Stains - Crayons, water, smoke and grease can bleed through the topcoat. Prime these areas with a stain-blocking or stain-killing primer. Oil-based stain killers work the best on water stains and for spot priming. Latex stain-blocking primers work better on large areas and hold up better on exterior surfaces. Pigmented shellac primer works well to block smoke and soot damage as well as to block animal urine smells.
Shiny surfaces - Bonding primers will stick to glass, tile, Formica and previously painted surfaces. Use bonding primers for interior surfaces only. They tend to crack when exposed to the elements.
Paint-and-primer-in-one formulations are best for the following projects:
Painting over previously painted surfaces that aren't glossy
Use as a spot primer over patched or spackled areas
Transitioning between colors
Repainting interior surfaces that are in good condition
Repainting trim, windows, cabinets and doors
Painting new, uncoated drywall
Painting over previously painted metal in good condition
Primer Before Paint: When Is It Necessary & When Is It A Waste?
Primers are not always necessary in every painting project. To know when you should use a primer you first have to understand what types of primers are available and what they're intended to be used for. The best way to understand their intended uses is to first look at them by primer categories.
New/bare drywall soaks up paint like a sponge and causes it to cover better in some areas than others; especially when you’re comparing drywall mud joints to the surrounding areas.
To help achieve a consistent appearance with your final coat it is always a good idea to first use a primer – and besides, using a quality drywall primer is typically much less expensive per gallon than using multiple coats of a quality interior latex paint.
Bare wood is among the more difficult substrates for a paint topcoat to adhere to. In the past, there was no substitute for a good slow-drying oil-based primer on bare wood. It takes a long time to dry, allowing plenty of time for it to soak into the wood, and it sticks better than any other type of primer to wood.
Even though old fashioned oil primer is still the best for this use, nobody likes to wait 24 hours for a primer to dry before they can topcoat it. So the paint manufacturers have developed new, faster-drying technology in both oil and latex-based products that dry quickly yet still aid in the proper adhesion of your paint topcoat.
There are several reasons why it is a good idea to apply a masonry primer before paint.
Some masonry surfaces can have a high pH level which will cause adhesion problems if you apply paint directly to the surface. A quality masonry primer will allow [Masonry Primer Before Paint] you to safely paint over a wider range of pH levels without risk of adhesion loss.
Another problem is called efflorescence; which are unsightly white, crystalline deposits that can form on any masonry surface. Many masonry primers are efflorescent-resistant and do a great job of keeping it from becoming a problem.
There are different types of stain-blocking primers for specific uses, but some of the more common situations where their use is necessary are: keeping water and smoke stains/damage from bleeding through the finish coat; painting over top of crayon, marker, or grease; and making a dramatic color change – especially when painting a lighter color over a much darker color.
Some surfaces are especially “slick” and pose a unique challenge for even the best primers when trying to get a coating to stick to them. Some examples would be ceramic tile, glazed block, some plastics and vinyl’s, and surfaces with a high gloss finish.
If you choose the correct bonding primer for your application you will be sure to get great adhesion of your finish coat to the surface.
There are a couple of exceptions to these categories:
Multi-Purpose Primers have become very popular because of their universal application for a wide-variety of uses. A word of caution – some manufacturers have a tendency to oversell these products for situations that they are not necessarily a good fit for.
Before you grab a multi-purpose primer off of the shelf make sure that it specifically states on the label that it can be used for your intended purpose. When buying a multi-purpose primer go with a proven name brand such as Zinsser, Sherwin-Williams, PPG, or Professional products.
Paint & Primer In One products are one of the newest and most-popular trends in the industry. What a great idea! Who wouldn’t want to make their painting project easier by using a product that primes while it paints?
While this concept is wonderful in theory, it has limited applications when it comes to actually holding up well to the test of time. Again, a good rule of thumb is to stick to the highest-quality manufacturers if you decide to use one of these products, and make sure you check the label to ensure it can be used for your intended application.
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