Priming Tips

Priming is an essential step for a good-looking, long-lasting paint job.

Intro

Priming is an essential step for a good-looking, long-lasting paint job. At first glance, many primers may look like thinned paint, but primers are formulated to meet specific demands:

-- To adhere well to a variety of surfaces.
-- To seal stains and discolorations and prevent them from bleeding through the finish coat. This is especially important with latex finish coats, which otherwise are vulnerable to stain bleed-through.
-- To provide a uniform surface to which paint will adhere, giving the paint a better grip than it would on the bare surface.
-- To give the finished paint job a more uniform color and sheen, thereby making it more attractive. This is especially true on a porous surface or one with uneven porosity.

Primers go on easily and actually make the finish coat flow on smoothly too. They are less expensive than paint and in some cases can save you money by eliminating the necessity of applying a second top coat.

Primers are manufactured for specific applications. Choose the primer that fits the needs of your particular paint job.

Prestart Checklist

Time
From 4 to 8 hours for a 10x12-foot room, depending on your painting experience and skill level

Tools
Brushes, rollers, extension handle, ladder, paint buckets

Skills
Using brushes and rollers

Prep
Repair surfaces as necessary and mask unpainted surfaces to protect them

Materials
Primer

Spot-priming repairs: Step 1

Repairs on a textured surface usually remove the texture, making the spot obvious when painted. To texture the repair, load an old paint brush with thinned drywall compound and spatter the wall. Dabbing the end of the bristles onto the surface will also help match the texture.

Spot-priming repairs: Step 2

Spot-prime any areas of the walls, ceiling, or trim you have repaired. Brush the primer on liberally and smooth it out, but do not overbrush and thin the coating.

Priming and sanding walls: Step 1

When preparing new drywall, use the same techniques as you would when painting a wall or ceiling, cutting in the edges with a brush and filling in the remaining areas with a roller. Work in sections so the primer cut into the corners does not dry before you roll the rest. Prime the entire surface with a PVA latex drywall primer or latex stain-blocking primer at a low spread rate, generally not more than a gallon per 450 square feet.

Priming and sanding walls: Step 2

Most primers are formulated for the immediate application of paint when they're dry. With enamel undercoater, however, which is made for use under semigloss or gloss paint, you'll get better results with the top coat if you lightly scuff-sand the primer when it's dry. Use a sanding block, a light touch, and 150-grit sandpaper.


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