What is Primer for Interior Painting (and Why Do You Need It)?

By Mack.Painters | Painting

Mar 12
What is Primer for Interior Painting and Why Do You Need It

Any professional painter can tell you that the walls in your home have to be primed before they’re painted, but what is primer, and why do you need it?

What is Primer for Interior Painting?

Primer is a layer of coating that belongs on the walls, beneath fresh paint, to help ensure that the paint job comes out looking great. It prevents stains from peeking through the surface paint, and it helps paint stick to your walls so it looks its best.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Some stains are impossible to paint over without priming.
  • In some cases, odors – like smoke from cigarettes or house fires – can come right through paint, no matter how many coats you apply.
  • “Self-priming” paint doesn’t always get the job done.
  • Primers can make a huge difference in imperfect drywall by improving the surface appearance.
  • High-moisture areas are more prone to paint flaking, peeling or gathering mildew, which means you need a vapor-barrier primer to help seal the surface and help prevent moisture from seeping through the walls.
  • Most people have better luck hiring an expert to repaint their home’s interior than by attempting to do it themselves.

Why Do You Need Primer?

In most cases, professional painters use one or more coats of primer before using visible wall color. It’s especially important when:

  • The surface that you need to paint is bare wood or new drywall. Both are porous, which means it’ll be tough to get paint to stick to them properly.
  • The drywall surface is skim-coated. A “skim coat” is drywall compound wiped over bare drywall – and it’s also very porous.
  • The previous paint was glossy. If your walls had a gloss finish (learn more about paint finishes), a new coat isn’t going to stick. Your painter will sand it down and put on one or more coats of primer to make sure your new color looks great.
  • The previous paint was dark. If you’re switching from a dark color to a light color, your painter will most likely put down a couple of coats of white primer to make it look better.

Should You Use Primer if You’re Doing Your Own Painting?

You should almost always use primer if you’re taking a DIY approach to interior painting – but it can be difficult to sand and prime properly. In most cases, you’ll actually save money on paint and supplies (as well as on repainting jobs and touch-ups) by hiring a professional painter.

Need a Painter in Pinehurst or the Surrounding Communities?

We can come out to your home and give you a free painting estimate. Call us at 910-725-3227 or get in touch with us online. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and get you pointed in the right direction.


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