When and How to Use Primer for DIY Painting Projects and Furniture Makeovers
Knowing when and how to use primer can be tricky especially if you are a new do it yourselfer. I don’t know about you, but when I first started painting my projects, I had no idea if I needed to use primer or not. It was a little intimidating. I accidentally bought an entire gallon for a small project (how embarrassing and costly). As with many things, I learned through experience.
Primer is used to prepare your surface material such as walls, wood, or metal before you paint it. It allows for better adhesion and is said to help the paint last longer and increase durability. Here are a few tips and rules of thumb that I have learned along the way of my DIY blog journey.
When to use primer:
- When the surfaced is cracked or has holes
- When you are using lighter paint colors
- When you are changing two types of paint (i.e. applying latex over oil paint)
- When painting over dark colors
Why use primer:
- Primer acts as a bond and will strengthen and adhere to your cover paint
- To correct flaws and uneven surfaces
- To protect the surface and keep moister and mildew out
- To increase durability and keep paint from chipping or flaking
- To create an even and smooth hue and mask brush marks
- To extend the life of your paint with a longer lasting color
How to use primer:
- Sand any lumps or flaws
- Thoroughly clean your surface and make sure it is clear of debris and dust
- Make sure the primer is completely dry between each coat
- Two coats typically does the job
Paint and Primer in One
Paint these days is often available with a paint plus primer option. These are designed to save time and make our do-it-yourself lives easier. You can buy it in both cans and spray paint. I have asked some paint professionals and most will recommend a separate quality primer and paint if you are painting the walls of your home. If you are painting a piece of furniture however, it is my experience that a two in one is fine. For most small projects like chairs, accent tables, side tables etc., I use paint plus primer spray paint. A 12 ounce can of spray paint should cover about 18-25 square feet. Spray paint is a great option because it has good coverage, dries quickly, and you don’t have to worry about brush strokes. It comes in a variety of colors and gets the job done and done quickly. I often use Rust-Oleum 2X from Home Depot (affiliate link).
Hope this helps!
Other DIY Tips and Tricks:
Update: I originally wrote this post on September 27, 2011. This was only five months into my blogging journey. Since then (over six years later), I have learned so much so I decided to update this and make it a better more informed article. I hope you find these insights useful!