What Does Primer Do?
Provides a uniform and
attractive paint finish.
Blocks tannin, water, grease and smoke stains that can
bleed through your topcoat.
Improves adhesion of the topcoat. Your paint will last
longer and look better.
Before you use any primer, properly clean the surface.
- If your wood isn't seriously stained, use a
high-quality latex primer or an oil-based primer. If you
have wood that is stained or you are 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 are
using a primer doesn't mean you get to skip surface
- 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
Drywall - Use a latex primer. Don't use an oil-based
primer unless you are 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 because they aren't flexible.