When it comes to interior painting, most of us just can’t wait to apply new color to our walls. Yet it’s the final part of surface preparation – priming – that is key to getting the longest lasting, best looking paint job.
Regardless of the type of primer you use, it will help create an inviting surface to which the paint will readily adhere, thereby reducing chances that it will ever peel or blister. Use of a primer also will permit the painted surface to develop more uniform color and sheen, which will enhance its appearance.
But these basic benefits are just the start of what you can expect from a primer: So-called “specialty primers” can do much more. Determining whether you need one of these specialized products depends upon the type of material you’re painting, the condition of the surface, and the room in which it is located.
Stain-blockers are one of the most indispensible specialty primers. They prevent grease, rust, smoke residue, and other stains from seeping through the finished paint job and ruining its appearance. If your walls or woodwork show signs of these contaminants, you’d be well advised to use a stain-blocker.
Vapor barrier primers do something entirely different. Typically used in damp areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, they help keep moisture from passing through the walls to the exterior, where it could undermine the exterior paint and even damage insulation within the walls. As an added benefit, the moisture barrier they create helps maintain a comfortable level of humidity inside the home, which is especially nice during the colder months.
Bonding primers are designed for use on materials that are very slick or glossy, such as glass, tile, laminate, or vinyl-coating paneling. When painting these surfaces, a bonding primer is not a luxury; it’s essential to help the paint adhere well.
Kitchen and bath primers are – as you would expect — made specifically for use in those rooms. These specialty primers contain a variety of additives, including stain-blockers and biocides that help control the growth of mold and mildew.
Other common specialty primers include one that helps give paint a uniform appearance when applied over drywall and joint compound, and another — latex enamel under-coating – which helps glossier paints develop more uniform sheen.
Knowing which of these primers to use in a given situation can be a bit confusing. But if your next interior painting project involves some challenges, be sure to discuss things with a knowledgeable salesperson. He or she will point you to the right primer.
On the other hand, if you are painting a problem-free room and just want your paint to adhere better, last longer, and look more attractive, you can either apply a standard primer before starting to paint. . .or simply use one of the new 100% acrylic “paint and primer” products that function as both primer and paint.
By using a primer-and-paint combination coating, you’ll get the basic benefits of a primer (such as good hiding of the current wall color) as well as the attractive, colorful look of top quality paint. Plus, you’ll need to apply fewer coats. Bottom line: You’ll save a lot of time and effort, and maybe even some money – which you can spend on your next interior painting project!