Do I Absolutely NEED to Use Primer?

sameboatJanuary 16, 2010

I am planning to paint my living room tomorrow.

The walls are pale blue now. I will be using lightweight all-purpose joint compound to fill nail holes where pictures were hung, and I am using Valspar's "Butternut" matte paint, which is a deep brownish-mustard color.

I've heard that some joint compound doesn't need primer and also that if you are painting over a light color that you don't need primer. DH suggests just spot priming over the spots where the compound will be used. And then I've heard that you ALWAYS need to prime, even if you are painting over a light color.

So who is right?

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I would just prime the sanded nail hole patches.

If you don't prime the whole room, the worst that will happen is that you could need two coats. It really depends on the coverage ability of the paint you are using. Some cover better than others.

If you do prime the whole room, you ought to get the primer tinted close to your final color. Otherwise, you will definitely need two coats of final color.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 11:27PM
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The "Best" answer depends on the situation/condition of your current paint-film...

* How old is the existing paintjob?
* Is it still a "Contractor-grade" paint, or a higher-quality grade?
* Is any wallpaper residue involved?
* What sheen is the current paint?
* Have your walls been cleaned yet?

At a minimum, brush 2 hazy coats of primer over the repairs.
Now these spots won't be so thirsty! This affects the paints' "sheen" eveness.

Primer Color:
* A color like yours won't need a tinted primer.
* The colorants used in most Browns/Gold-browns are pretty opaque. If you were doing Magentas or Yellows...that's a different animal!
* The best-looking jobs ALWAYS need 2 coats of paint, even on a tinted primer. A tinted primer doesn't magically substitute for a 2nd paintcoat.
* The PAINT is your color-layer/wear-layer. Paints are more opaque than primers too.
* Unless you're the world's best painter...DO TWO FULL COATS...
* Unless you're using FPE's paint....DO TWO FULL COATS.
* The "Human element" comes into play too....No 2 people will apply paint at the same rate!!
* At the store, I sometimes ask Women..."How many coats of nail-polish do you apply"? The answer is RARELY 1!! ;-)

(I've used FPE in my lower-bath. THIS stuff is good enough to leave as 1 coat! $45 for a Euro-qt. though....)


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:53AM
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Thank you both! And thank you for the nail polish analogy. Not only does that make sense, but I got a laugh out of it too. I get it!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 8:23AM
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If you are going to use primer, I would prime the whole room. Spot primed areas tend to flash through the finish layer more than not. Spot priming is an old process that we really don't do anymore with modern day acrylics.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 9:09AM
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What if I spot prime using the Valspar paint instead of primer?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:14AM
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That's fine. It's actually a better idea to use the actual paint to prime patches with than using a seperate primer. If the primer is a better sealer than the paint, that is exactly what would cause that spot primed area to flash.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:48AM
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we ve always primed. but this is what weve done for the last 3 times we painted,something we seen on a hgtv show. we pour alittle paint with the primer so you are not painting over white primer. we have noticed this way only needs one coat of paint afterwards where b4 we were priming and 2 coats of paint as well

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 2:05PM
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I ended up spot priming with the actual paint and it came out pretty good. I am now trying to decide whether I need a second coat. This is a big job by myself and I don't think anyone will even notice the flaws that I see. But I will....I'll have to let it dry thoroughly before deciding. Maybe DH will have it in his heart to give a second coat when he gets home from work. LOL Maybe not.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 2:18PM
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Second coat did the trick. Thank you for all of your help.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:57PM
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I have painted a lot over the years and really never ever primed. I just recently started painting furniture and I have been priming the pieces first. I would now NEVER NOT prime. It's really amazing and quite noticeable how much better the paint application is with primed wood. I would say it was the paint itself, but it's the same type of paint I have used before, and there is no comparison.

I am a new believer in priming.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:11AM
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As a rule of thumb, don't watch HGTV to learn how to paint. They film themselves starting in the center of the wall rolling without an extension pole and then get the pros in there to finish the room off camera.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:56AM
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Yeah...the "Painting phase" of those shows makes me shudder!!

3 or 4 people, using "hot dog" rollers, starting in the MIDDLE OF THE WALL (as PG says)!!!

I haven't been too impressed with some of the "briefly shown" edges that I watch for...
I don't listen to the people blabbing. I'm looking behind them to spot so-so paintjobs.

At least SOME of the shows do show priming. Lisa L. does a decent job of this, even though it's usually "painting to sell"...


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:24AM
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Through the years I've learned that, when in doubt, prime it out.

Every time I'm tempted to skip this step I ask myself, "Do you really want to do this job again?"

At which point I drag out the primer and paint away.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:04PM
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