How Should Primer look on a Wall?

Last Updated on June 8, 2021 by Bright Calister

How should primer look on a wall? Many people find it difficult to answer the question of whether a paint primer is necessary or not before the color coat is applied on a wall. The diverse views on the question arise because of the difference in ideas. For example, paint manufacturers suggest that paint primer is necessary to produce a better color coat.

Also, paint contractors working on an hourly wage support the use of a primer. On the other hand, contractors charging by the job mostly recommend no primer, mainly if they add the materials in the coat. Furthermore, do-it-yourself painters mostly want to avoid primers before painting altogether.

Mostly, the answer depends on objective factors and one’s patience regarding painting. Moreover, a primer may feel like a wasted effort. Primer shares the same amount of work as laying down the color coat.

In this article, we shall discuss why you need a paint primer for your walls and when it is best to use a paint primer for a surface. Finally, we shall discuss how to make the primer look good on the wall of your home, office, or any other place you intend to paint.

Why You Need Primer Before Painting

Paint primers are manufactured to bring a stable surface that color coat layers can lock onto. Also, paint primer helps to hide surface stains.

  • Provide Cover for Stains

Paint primers are excellent at covering up stains. After the stains are covered, the color coat is free to complete the work of offering beautiful colors instead of covering up stains. Also, primers are less expensive than color coats, providing more economic value to utilize primer for base color instead of the color coat.

When it comes to priming your wall, you can never go wrong. If you possess little confidence about the state of the wall before painting, the best option is to prime it.

  • Gives a Stable Base Surface

The porosity of a surface is the condition that mostly serves as the basis for the use of a paint primer. When the surface you intend to paint is too porous, it will draw too much paint into it. The use of multiple coats of paint is necessary before the paint can build a thick, protective shell.

The alternative may become a problem. When a surface is glossy, the adhesion of the color coat will be difficult since the paint can’t lock onto it. Paint primers are slightly rough and porous, which means they provide excellent texture for the color coat to hold onto.

How should primer look on a wall

When You Need to Use Paint Primer- How Should Primer Look on a Wall

You don’t have to satisfy all conditions before you can use a paint primer first. They are common conditions that make it necessary for you to apply a primer. We shall discuss some of these conditions here.

  • When the drywall is skim-coated

The skim cost is a thin swipe of drywall compound laid over bare drywall. It would help if you considered a level five finish which is the highest possible grade of finishing. A skim coat is not often encountered, but similar to bare wood, drywall paper – it Is extremely porous and requires a minimum of one coat of primer before you can paint.

  • If the previous coat is glossy

Glossy base coats don’t retain paint well. The light stuffing with sandpaper and a coat or two primers will assist you in making the color coat stay on. Even if you don’t want to scratch that gleaming polish, a primer will enable the coating to stick. Plastics, as well as glossy paints, need some texture and roughing before painting them.

  • When changing from dark to light color

The use of primer will help you avoid the problems arising from the repeated laying of expensive light-colored paints over darker-colored ones. It is best to treat the surface initially with two layers of white primer if the previous color is too dark.
When you opt for light colors over dark ones, note that many paint dealers can tint your primer.

This step makes the color of the primer nearly identical to the wall finish color. Hence, the number of primer coats and color coats you lay down is lowered.

  • If the surface is stained

A surface that is spotted or stained appreciate one or two primer coats before painting. It would help if you thought of using thicker primers for this condition. A common example of thick primers is Kilz 2 or Kilz Max.

  • If the surface is porous

When you are dealing with an extremely porous surface, it is best to use a primer. The recently installed drywall is extremely porous in at least two ways – the bare facing the drywall paper and the dried joint compound which covers the seems.

Bare wood is more porous and constantly needs a primer. Another surface that needs a primer is the retaining wall blocks and bricks, which are masonry surfaces.

Places you don’t need primer.

Although primers are essential to the painting process, you can do without them. Certain conditions make primers unnecessary. We shall look at those conditions below.

  • When walls are clean

If the walls are in perfect clean condition, you may want to avoid using a primer. An excellent way to clean walls and put them in an ideal state is using a mixed solution of tri-sodium phosphate and water. After you are done with the mixture, wipe it down the wall with a soft rag.

If you decide against the mixture, you can attach a clean brush attachment at the edge of the shop vacuum and wipe off main waste like dust and cobwebs.

  • Changing from one color to an identical color

The need for primer is less when changing from a color to an identical color. However, the need for primer is less but not eliminated as it alters the base color for a new color to show up brilliantly.

When you are using a paint-primer

Self-priming paint is a kind of paint that is thicker than ordinary paint. Since they are thicker, it builds up higher and creates thicker coat. It is best to use a separate primer and paint for your painting job. However, if the walls are fairly good, you can use the combined form of paint and primer.

You should know that the combined form of paint and primer won’t solve all your problems, as most people assume. Using them creates a paint build that takes a long time to dry.

How should primer look on a wall?

Generally, one or two primer costs will suffice for painting the interior part of the wall. However, the appearance of the primer will depend on the material, the kind of primer used, and the underlying paint.

Also, the appearance of the primer depends on the condition of the wall you are painting. For example, you can use one coat of primer if painting any color over a white wall. Further, you can use two coats if the painting is done on unfinished drywall.

To make the primer look better on the wall, you also have to know the type of primer that suits the wall best. For example, masonry walls and bare wood don’t need the same kind of primers.


Primers are vital to the painting process. The ways primers are used on certain factors have been discussed in the earlier part of this article. Also, the way a primer looks on a wall is determined by you. Hence, you can learn ways to make primers appear better on a wall from this article.

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