With any paint project, it is tempting to skip the primer and go straight for the immediate gratification of applying actual paint, forever hopeful that one coat will get the job done right. Unfortunately, even with high quality paint, two coats are usually required to achieve the desired look.
The first coat seals and prepares the surface, and the second coat creates a thick, protective finish. Primer is a resin-based product that is very adhesive. The resins found in primers bond to the surface to seal and stabilize it, creating an impermeable base that is easy for paint to adhere to.
Paint, on the other hand, is a thick-pigment based product that is durable and provides color and sheen. Paint-and-primer-in-one products are thick, stain-blocking paints that may eliminate the need to purchase two separate products, but still require two coats to achieve a smooth, esthetically appealing finish. Using the right primer can guarantee the success of any paint project and often save time and money too.
Step 1: Seal unfinished or porous surfaces, such as wood and concrete, with a good-quality acrylic primer. There are a lot of great primers on the market today offering low odor and water cleanup. Priming porous surfaces, including areas finished with flat paint, will give the final coat of paint a uniform finish with unadulterated color.
Step 2: Prime dark surfaces with a good latex primer to hide the old color. Use a gray-tinted primer before applying red paint to ensure the desired hue is reflected in the end result.
Step 3: Promote adhesion on hard, slick surfaces with a good-quality primer or a specialized bonding primer. Bonding primers are not recommended for exterior use as they tend to harden and crack with temperature fluctuations.
Step 4: Reduce the need for scraping and sanding weathered surfaces by using a peel-stopping primer created specifically to bond and seal chalky, cracked or peeling paint. These primers offer a safe alternative when lead remediation is a concern.
Step 5: Block greasy stains with a water-base primer and use an oil-base primer to stop water, tannin and smoke stains from bleeding through.
Step 6: Use a shellac-base primer to seal and block odors or mildew stains on porous and nonporous surfaces.
Step 7: Use poly vinyl acetate (PVA) primer to seal drywall and patched surfaces before painting.