House Painting Advice

Tips For Choosing Interior and Exterior Colors

The Purpose of Priming Walls for an Interior Paint Job
Saturday, 13 March 2010 20:49

It's true. You can paint your walls without priming them. If you're in a short-term housing situation and in a rush to get settled, a quick paint job without primer can do the trick. However, the purpose of priming is to protect and seal surfaces while providing an economical way to save paint. Applying a primer coat allows the final coat of paint bond together with the primer for a solid, smooth long-lasting coat. If you're going to be settled in your house for a few years, and/or if you care about the appearance and durability of your walls, applying a primer is the way to go.

If you'd like to apply a primer but are worried about the cost of the extra materials, simply dilute your chosen color with water and apply a thin coat first. Then apply your following coat (or coats). However buying prepared primers and sealers will improve the longevity and appearance of your paint job. If you have young children, your walls (and everything else) are exposed to extra wear and tear – the right paint and primer can make a big difference between washing crayon off a wall and watching the paint chip away, or getting the crayon off the wall – and having the wall still look like it was freshly painted. If you have interior walls that are exposed to long-periods of hot sunlight, primer will keep the paint from fading its shade

Most surfaces - except wood that is expected to be clear or unfinished, copper, and bronze - can accept a simple latex primer. This general rule can change based on the paint you choose for your top coat. If your canvas walls are drywall and you are using a water-based paint, latex primer will be just fine. However, if you're using an oil-based paint, use an alkyd primer.

The primer should be “touch-dry” in half-an-hour. After taking an hour break for lunch, your walls should be ready for their next coat. One gallon of primer should cover about 450 square feet of a smooth surface, but always check the manufacturer's label to be sure. If you're priming a rough surface, you'll get far less coverage – probably around 250 square feet.

Priming has a purpose. If you care about the appearance of your house and your walls (or you simply feel you should always do the best job possible), prime your walls before painting. Appearance isn't everything. You should trust that your paint job will last and that it will hold up over time. Primer is the foundation for a lifetime enjoyment of your beautifully painted walls.