Interior PaintPainting Tips & AdviceTips for Homeowners

Here’s When You Don’t Need To Prime Before Painting

Here's When You Don't Need To Prime Before Painting

Painting your home can be a tedious job, especially if you are doing it yourself. That being said, painting a coat of primer before your actual paint job can seem like double the chore, leaving many homeowners asking, “Do I need to prime before painting?”

There are many benefits to priming your walls before you paint, and sometimes, it is absolutely necessary. You would definitely want to prime your walls before painting if:

  • Your surface is new drywall, bare wood, skim-coated, or heavily touched up with filler
  • There are stains that will possibly show through your paint
  • You are applying flat or matte paint on a previously glossy sheen
  • The walls have an odor from smoking or a fire disaster that need to be eliminated

While most paint companies will recommend homeowners to always prime before painting, there are a few instances when it might be okay to skip the priming step.

Using Self-Priming Paints

One of the reasons why painters recommend using primer is because primer offers an undercoating that helps protect the surface of what you’re painting, ensures better paint adhesion, and increases the lifespan and durability of your paint job. However, there are many varieties of paints that are self-priming, which phases out the extra step of having to use a primer! If you are using a self-priming paint as a primer or finish, it is recommended to use at least two coats of paint. Many of our products at Motor City Paints are designed to be self-priming, making it easier for you to get your paint job done. To learn more about our self-priming paints, visit our paint options page.

Some chalk paints, which have quickly risen in popularity as a fun way to both add color and a new usable surface in your home, are also self-priming. Motor City Paint’s offers chalk synthesis paints in a variety of colors. They are so adhesive that they require no sanding or priming for wood, metal, glass, fabric, and more.

Clean Walls

Primer is used to help optimize the surface of imperfect walls for better paint adhesion, resulting in a paint job that is durable and long lasting. If your walls are clean, however, you may not need to use a primer before you start painting. You can also opt to clean the walls before painting by using a soft cloth to wipe down your walls with a mixture of trisodium phosphate cleaner and water. You may also want to use a shop vacuum to clean up any dust and debris that could end up sticking to your walls after painting.

Painting Similar Colors

Primer is a lot thicker than paint, which is why it is useful when you want to paint a lighter color over a darker color. Without primer, changing colors can involve many layers of paint, meaning more work and higher costs. If you’re painting a wall a color that is similar to the existing color, though, then you can probably get away with skipping the primer. However, this only reduces the need for a primer in terms of how your finished paint job will look. Depending on the surface of your walls, foregoing the use of primer could affect the longevity of your paint, meaning it might not last as long as if you had used a primer.

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