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Paint Primer FAQs

Paint Primer FAQs

Are you confused about when it's necessary to prime before painting? Use the following tips to help you understand when it's prime time to use a primer.


When Can I Use Paint-and-Primer-in-One?

Paint-and-primer-in-one formulations are best for the following projects:

  • For painting over previously painted surfaces that aren't glossy
  • For use as a spot primer over patched or spackled areas
  • When transitioning between colors
  • For repainting interior surfaces that are in good condition
  • Repainting trim, windows, cabinets and doors
  • Painting new, uncoated drywall
  • Painting over previously painted metal in good condition


When Is Primer Necessary?

Paint alone has a hard time adhering to slick or glossy surfaces, which could result in peeling. Bonding primer is formulated to adhere to these surfaces, providing a sound base coat for paint.

Paint-and-primer-in-one is a good solution for some paint jobs but not all. Times when paint-and-primer-in-one won't suffice include:

  • When you're painting over stain, you should use a stain-blocking primer. Many household stains will bleed through a paint-and-primer-in-one. Use a primer to seal the stain and achieve the best finish possible.
  • When you're painting bare wood, use a primer to seal the surface. This will promote an even finish by reducing the rise of the grain. In particular, woods like cedar and redwood that contain tannin require primer.
  • You can use paint-and-primer-in-one to seal porous drywall if you use a two-coat system (one coat works as a primer, and the second works as paint). However, primer is still the best option because it's more cost-effective and is better at sealing porous surfaces. The finish will be more even if you use a true primer.
  • If the surface you're painting has been heavily stained by smoke, water, tobacco or graffiti, use a primer.
  • Plaster, concrete and other extremely porous surfaces will paint more easily, and the resulting finish will be smoother if you use a primer.

Get the Right Amount of Paint