To prime, or not to prime, that is the question.

“Do I need to prime?” is a question we get asked daily. We have all seen those TV ads that promise us that priming isn’t necessary and although this could be true, there are many, many reasons every project should be properly primed every time.

 We hear clients say all the time “it’s too much work to prime” or “I’ll just do a third coat of paint” and although this may seem like a good time saver, it could end up being a lot more work, cost a lot more money, and cost you a lot more time than imagined especially if something goes wrong.

Here’s the thing: primer is different than paint. A primer’s job is to seal and prepare the substrate and provide a sticky surface for the paint to bond to. Primer also contains more binders than paint and will sink into the surface differently. It can also cover stains, block unwanted odours, and even allow you to paint difficult substrates like PVC, tile, aluminum and more.  A saying we like to say is it never hurts to prime, but it could hurt if you don’t.

If you don’t prime to prepare your surface, you risk having to deal with problems that could occur like peeling, stain bleeding, blistering, cracking, flaking, or flashing which is quite common if primer application is skipped. 

What can also occur is loss of coverage per square foot. When the substrate is porous it acts like a sponge absorbing the paint, and this can be very problematic if you are trying to calculate the amount of paint you will need for the project. It may not be so problematic if it’s just one average sized room, but when it is your whole house you could be looking at using much more paint than expected. This makes it difficult to calculate properly, and will have you making many trips back to the paint store.

Another question we get daily is “Do you have paint with primer in it?” Our answer is always yes but the primer in all paint is just for opacity and colour coverage. It makes the paint thicker so that it will coat better, but it will not replace the use of a separate primer.  Paint-and-primer products can be used without primer if you are painting walls in great condition - walls that were painted in the last couple of years, with no patchwork or repairs, and the colour change is not extreme. Remember that “paint and primer in one” products are not miracle workers. The prep you put into your project is the key factor in what you get out of your project.

The real question shouldn’t be “do I need to prime?” but rather “which primer do I need?”

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us at Erin Mills Paint and Décor. We would love to help you out.