To Prime or Not To Prime... That is ALWAYS the question.
So, now that you’ve picked a color (thank goodness sample sizes exist!). It’s time to get your project under way. Let’s say you’re fortunate enough to have a great local paint store that has well educated sales associates that can walk you through the rest of your project with you (Hint hint)… then you go see them and they can answer your questions. However, if you’re not so fortunate lets deep dive into the age old question of “Do I need to Prime”?
First things first, lets educate ourselves on what exactly primer is. Most of you will automatically answer that it’s the first coat that you put on the wall. Congratulations, you would be correct. Primer is the “prime” coat. This is the very first thing that you put on your wall prior to your top and final coat. So, what EXACTLY is a primer? Primers serve a multitude of purposes. There are various options when it comes to primers that are project and substrate specific. Primers are made to hide, protect against mildew, provide adhesion (binding primers), seal the substrate, provide even coverage, and block stains. Primers are also available in acrylic, water, urethane, alcohol and hybrids. As you can see, there is a primer for any project. This then brings up the consideration of the “Paint & Primer in one” products. These are paint & primer in one can and many people think this particular product will be enough for their project. In some situations, it would indeed be enough however, when you ask a product to perform two functions, it most likely will not perfom both abilities to the fullest. In those cases, a stand alone primer would be necessary.
This brings us to the next question. What are you painting?
If you’re painting a piece of furniture, vanity or any other non wall item- it is ALWAYS recommended that you prime. Typically we would recommend a bonding primer if you are unsure of what prior product was used on the furniture or cabinet. These items if not new, have been exposed to cleaners and various chemicals over the years which could affect the bonding of a top coat- therefore a bonding primer would be key to ensure proper adhesion.
Let’s say it is time to repaint the ______ room (insert, living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen). You don’t want to change the color much (within a shade darker or lighter), you want to keep the same eggshell sheen and the walls are in great shape with no need for repairs. In this situation, there really is not a need for a stand alone primer and you could use a “Paint & Primer in one”. This is because there is no big sheen change, there is no bold color change and the walls have previously been painted which has sealed the drywall out. Congrats! This should be an easy repaint job!
Now, let’s say your days of grays and beige’s are over. You’re ready to paint those walls in your reading room a BRIGHT CORAL or DEEP NAVY. The walls are currently in pretty good shape, have been previously painted a lite gray. I applaud you for choosing a bold color. However, in order to allow that bright or deep color to truly shine, you will need to prime and then top coat. The reason? You do not want any pigment from the color underneath to bleed through or hinder the new color. Also to go to such a bold color, it would be recommended to get a tinted primer (most likely a gray) to truly block out any other pigments and switch to those glorious jewel tones. This would also apply if you wanted to tone down that bold color and switch to a neutral. Prime then top coat.
Most other scenarios such as changing sheen (from flat to pearl or satin to matte), painting over a rough substrate or painting new fresh drywall/sheetrock, you will ALWAYS need to prime and then use a top coat. Am I saying that you couldn’t just use a dual product? You can absolutely do anything you want. Would the dual product work? In most situations, it will absolutely work. You read that correctly, in most situations it would work to skip the stand alone primer. Would I advocate that? I would not. From my own remodeling experience to working with clients, time and time again a short cut doesn’t get the result you want.
Take that extra step and you won’t regret it!
Don’t want to go BOLD for the whole room? An accent wall is always a great way to add drama. Get a tinted primer for your dramatic wall to ensure full color spectrum and richness.