Priming can feel like a waste of time! It’s as much work as applying the colour coat. What is primer and is it really needed?


Primer is an undercoat that you use prior to applying your paint. Made primarily of resins, primer provides a sealed/stable surface for your paint to adhere to, helps to hide surface stains, increases durability, keeps your paint from soaking into the surface and often makes it possible to use only one layer of paint. There are a variety of primers used for different types of projects. Choosing the right kind for your project will provide the proper adhesion for your final coat of paint.


  • Stain blocking primer is used to paint over crayon, marker, grease, water spots and smoke stains. It’s also helpful when you’re making a dramatic colour change.
  • Bonding primer is useful when the surface you are painting is slick (ceramic tile, glazed block, plastic/vinyl shutters, other high gloss surfaces).
  • Multipurpose primer can be applied in a wide variety of situations.
  • Masonry primer allows you to safely paint over surfaces with a high pH level.
  • Wood primer helps paint to stick to bare wood, one of the most difficult surfaces for paint to adhere to.
  • Paint and primer in one enables you to seal and cover in one coat. This is a wonderful idea with limited applications. In many situations, these products do not perform as well as primer. Check with your paint and design expert before using.


When do I need to use a primer?


Though it’s not always essential, following are times when use of a primer is recommended.


  • When your drywall has never been painted
  • When the surface you are painting is porous
  • When the previous coat of paint is glossy
  • When changing from a dark to a light colour
  • When the surface is stained
  • When the area is prone to moisture
  • When the wood is bare
  • When painting MDF (medium density fiberboard)


When is priming unnecessary?


While priming is usually needed, there are situations when you can get away with priming only bare areas or without using a primer at all.


  • When covering a previously painted surface that is not glossy
  • When painting a clean surface
  • When you’re painting over the same colour
  • When using paint and primer in one


The use of primer is beneficial in most situations. If you’re unsure whether a primer is necessary for your project, talk to one of our paint and design experts. We can help you decide what is right for you.

Looking for advice on the best paint for your home improvement project? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high quality paint, a wide selection of blinds and advice for home projects. We offer excellent service and a variety of products to match any budget. Call for a consultation today!

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