What is Primer Paint, and why is it used?

Woman painting the walls

Primer paint remains one of the most commonly asked questions by anyone who does any painting job. Primer is a crucial aspect of the painting process, whether for a home remodelling or a new building project. But what, in fact, is priming paint, and why does it matter?

In this article, we shall define primer paint and discuss its purpose and advantages in depth. After reading this post, you will understand how to utilize primer paint for your building projects and why it is essential in buildings.

What Is Primer Paint?

The first step in every painting project is to set up the surface for painting. This involves cleaning, sanding, and sealing cracks and gaps. Despite all of these preparations, the paint may not stick to the surface as expected or appear smooth. This is precisely where priming paint comes into effect.

To put it simply, primer paint is a form of paint applied before the topcoat paint. Its primary goal is to create a uniform, smooth surface for the topcoat to bind to while also improving the surface’s overall appearance. Primer paint is typically applied to new or formerly unpainted surfaces, but it can also be used on fixed or sanded surfaces.

Primer paint is created differently than regular paint. It is often thicker and includes more solids, which help to fill up surface flaws and offer a stronger foundation for the topcoat. Primer paints also include specific pigments and resins that seal and preserve the surface, rendering it less susceptible to moisture and mould.

Types of Primer Paint

Once you’ve determined what primer paint is, you also need to understand the different types. There are various varieties of primer paint, all tailored for a particular surface and application. Here are a few of the most popular types:

  • Oil-based primer: It is an excellent alternative for incredibly porous surfaces like wood or cement. It also works well on metal surfaces like pipelines and vents, protecting extra thicknesses against corrosion.
  • Latex primer: It is a good option for reasonably flat surfaces like drywall or metal. Due to its quick drying time, it is also suitable for drywall surfaces like walls and ceilings.
  • Epoxy primers: These are ideal for surfaces that are going to be exposed to substantial damage, such as garage flooring or industrial machinery. For instance, the Epoxy Based, Two Component, Solvent Free Primer with Fillers – EPOX PR 200 is the safest option for your needs.
  • Conversion Primer: This is used as a primer paint when transitioning from solvent-based to water-based paint. It must be utilized as a conversion primer if the new paint to be applied differs in colour from the previously painted surface.

When Do You Need Primer Paint?

Every expert would recommend using a primer before applying two coats of paint for a professional-grade finish. Priming first enables the most vibrant, authentic colour to show through. It is the ideal foundation for bright colours. In most instances, a single coat of primer will suffice, but you’ll definitely want to apply two coats of primer in the following situations:

  • When transitioning from a high sheen to a low sheen finish, such as semi-gloss to eggshell.
  • Change from a dark to a lighter colour.
  • If your walls were fixed or patched.
  • If you’re painting a humid location, such as a bathroom, which is more prone to mildew and leaching.
  • If you wish to block stains on your wall (for example, water spots from a bathroom leakage or smoke harm from a kitchen fire).
  • When painting unprocessed wood trim or other highly porous surfaces. 

Benefits of Using Primer Paint

There are some cases when you should utilize a primer and others where you can avoid it. But first, let us explain the benefits of priming. It is not simply a pointless coat of white paint sprayed beneath the coloured paint. Some of its advantages are listed below.

  • Neutralizes paint colour and prevents stains and odours.
  • It provides a surface for paint to adhere to and seals pores in untreated materials such as drywall and wood.
  • It covers defects on walls and optimizes surfaces. Thus, fewer coats of topcoat paint are necessary.

Primer saves both time and cash by offering these benefits. It is less expensive than paint and tends to coat the surface while also addressing a variety of concerns. After priming, the job requires fewer applications of topcoat paint and takes less time to complete.  

How to Apply Primer Paint

Applying priming paint is a simple procedure. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Prepare your place by protecting it. Move household items out of the way and cover them with dust sheets. Cover the floor with a canvas cover.
  • Examine your wall for holes and cracks. Fill them in and sand when dry.
  • Use fine sandpaper to remove peeling plaster or loose paint.
  • Clean your walls using a soap and hot water mixture. Any grease or filth will cause the primer paint to stick less effectively than it should. Wash off the soap.
  • Masking tape should be used to cover any areas that will not be primed.
  • It’s time to put on the priming paint. 
  • Stir the pot and put the priming into a paint tray.
  • The application method is the same as painting. First, ensure that the walls are clean from your earlier extensive cleaning session. Next, apply your primer in the same way as with the colour coat. We propose that you use a brush to apply paint and a roller for the more significant centre.
  • Allow your priming paint to dry before applying the coloured coat.

(Tip: When applying priming paint, ensure that you completely cover the area without stacking it too thickly)

Primer Paint vs. Paint-and-Primer-in-One

2-in-1, self-priming paint supplies are a reasonable solution for some internal painting projects, such as refinishing previously painted and in good condition bedroom or living room walls. They will prevent you from having to apply primer but keep in mind that most paints of this type are more expensive.

Most professional painters, on the other hand, use the more conventional priming and painting process. When adhesion is a concern, it is critical to use a primer. This includes rough surfaces such as wood, brick, metal, and fresh drywall, as well as shiny, damaged, or discoloured surfaces. Similarly, outdoor paint exposed to the weather should be applied with primer.

Common Misconceptions About Primer Paint

Primer is just colourless paint.

While both primer and paint are designated as “architectural coatings,” they are not identical. The formula for paint differs from that of primer.

Priming prior to painting takes too long and has no significant effect on my paint job.

Applying primer is a further phase in the painting process, but given the surface quality and problem areas, it may save time and money. Remedying the problem before applying paint may eliminate the need to re-paint or apply multiple coats of paint to get the desired effects.

If I apply primer over a stain and still see the stain underneath, the primer does not work.

This is a prevalent misperception concerning primers. A primer coat or coatings are not intended to resemble the finished topcoat paint. Primer is designed to act beneath the paint and produce a homogeneous surface by hiding intense or brilliant colours, blocking stains that may bleed into or show through the paint, and improving the paint’s ability to adhere to the surface and last longer.


You would only start building a house after first verifying that the foundations were adequate. Why not make sure the same is true for your next paint job? Regardless of the trade, investing time in preparation pays off in the long run. With all surfaces lightly scrubbed down, the increased thickness of your priming layer will fill those microscopic holes, conceal those difficult-to-remove flaws, and create a surface ready to connect with the following coat of paint. Using a primer in a similar colour to the undercoat and topcoat will result in a more equal, consistent colour finish over the finished product. For a detailed understanding of how we can help protect your property, visit our page.


What is primer paint for walls? 

Primer paint is a material that is applied to surfaces prior to painting to help the paint adhere. Aside from providing a more substantial basis than a bare wall, it has been designed to disguise surface stains, allowing just the colour to shine through.

What colour is primer paint?

It is usually in either white or slightly grey. 

Do I need to use primer on already-painted walls? 

If the existing wall is smooth, clean, and painted with the same colour, you can skip right to the paint. Filling holes, spackle and sanding, and possibly cutting a new piece of drywall into the old wall are all necessary.

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