What is Primer? How It Can Save You Time and Money

So what is primer, anyways? If you’re out of the loop, here’s the lowdown: primer is like an “undercoat” for a paint job. It’s an enhancer that exacerbates the strength, durability, and protection of the paint you’re going to apply over it. Primer can be used on both exterior and interior design. 

Given that Catalyst Painting specializes in multiple types of painting services, we recommend you start with a primer if you’re going to take a paint job into your own hands. As Kansas city painters and contractors, we can vouch for experience with primer and its high success rates!

Pros of Primer Include:

  • Sealing pores in unpainted surfaces. 
  • Hiding patches and blemishes on the wall. 
  • Giving paint a surface to stick onto — and actually last. 
  • Eliminating odors and stains.
  • Helping bring the original paint back to a neutral color so you can choose a new color layer.
  • Making it easier to paint on top of the surface with less paint. 

When to Use Primer Before Painting

  • You’re painting over a dark color.
  • The surface of your walls is covered with stains, patches, or greasy spots. 
  • You’re painting a new surface — especially new drywall, bare wood, or a newly skim-сoated wall, which soaks up paint pretty easily.  
  • You plan to use latex paint over an oil-based one.
  • You have wallpaper you want to paint over. 
  • You’re painting over metal and plastic since metal protects against rust. 

When to Skip the Primer

  • Your walls are in good shape.
  • Your shade of new paint nearly matches the old one.
  • The paint you’ve picked already has primer in it (all-in-one paint primer). 

Primer Increases the Longevity of Your Paint Job– and Why that Matters 

When you use primer, you cut downtime by reducing the number of coats you’ll need for your paint job. In turn, you save money by not buying more paint on repeat after you see paint peeling off your walls within a year. The longevity of your primer, however, depends on whether you choose the right type of primer for your paint job. 

First, you have to get a list of the main primers out there:

  • Latex primers. Consider them versatile in use but lower in performance usage in a few areas. It is, however, vapor permeable and it can allow your walls to breathe. 
  • Oil primers. They are great for covering stains but they aren’t vapor permeable. This means that it does a good job of covering up wood but isn’t the best candidate for plaster or drywall. 
  • Shellac-based primers. They can be used almost anywhere indoors, but they’re only used to treat stains outdoors. They are also twice the cost of latex or oil and they have twice the power to clean stains. 
  • Tinted primers. They can be an advantage if you want to turn the dark shades of your walls lighter or vice versa.
  • Mold-resistant primers. It’s right in the name: these primers do the trick when no other primer will completely block out stubborn breakouts of mold and cost you your health and extensive home repair. 
  • Stain-blocking primers. These are used when you have excessive stains on your wall and you want to prevent them from showing up on newly applied paint layers. 
  • Specialty primers. Some primers will fit a very specific need and cannot simply be bought in the hardware store. Instead, some may have to be sought after in the paint stores and discussed with store managers.  

So What’s the Deal with the All-In-One Primer?

If you want a combination of paint and primer, you might be looking for an all-in-one deal. However, to understand whether the all-in-one is best for you, you may need to know the difference between that and its separate counterparts. 

Primer is that one step everyone wants to skip. On top of applying the custom 2 layers, it takes time for it to dry — some 24 hours, depending on the type — before you can apply paint. 

Paint, which is usually thinner than binder, doesn’t really build up on a surface. 

For the all-in-one, every paint and primer combo has to be mixed differently so that the chemicals do not separate. However, it does carry some traits from both the primer and paint. 

All-in-one is thicker than traditional paint, so the pigment can build up faster and give you a smooth, sleek finish. 

Unlike traditional primer, however, all-in-one relies on thicker coats and darker paint coverage on existing paint to attain a similar effect. 

When To Use All-In-One Primer:

  • In interior parts of households.
  • If you are using paint in a similar color to the one you already have on the wall.
  • If your all-in-one is darker than the current color on the wall.
  • If you have mild stains and damage on the walls. 

When To Not Use All-In-One Primer:

  • If you’re touching up the same color of paint. This might be tempting, but you’ll be spending an extra amount of money for this since they’re more expensive than normal paint. Skip the primer and the all-in-one and just reapply the same shade of color of paint on the walls. 
  • You’re painting stained wood. This applies the most to kitchens and cabinet areas that are made of wood. Traditional primer tends to strengthen such fragile areas better with its bonding features and higher durability. 
  • Your surface is considerably stained. All-in-one may have thicker pigment and thicker binder, but it doesn’t really create a seal between the two layers. 

Do We Recommend the Primer or the All-In-One Paint Primer More?

Given the list of uses and advantages for each section, it will wholly depend on your needs. However, for versatility uses, we recommend the primer. Better wait an extra day or longer before it dries and has the paint job last eight years than pair an all-in-one for any reason in less time!

Primer Can be a Valuable Asset When Painting Your Home

Now that you know how and why primer works the way it does, you also know how it can improve your paint job. In addition, we elaborated on its extensions — the all-in-one — and provided a briefing on its efficacies. Whether your home needs its exterior painted or you need some interior walls painted, knowing what primer to use will help you save time and money.

If your home needs a paint job and you live in the Kansas Metro area, don’t forget to contact Catalyst Painting, in Overland Park, for more information!