April 10, 2023 marketpl
Benjamin Moore Primer

Painting your walls is a fun and exciting way to transform a room. Although, the task itself takes considerable time and effort. After all your hard work, you want your paint job to look amazing and last a long time. This is why it is so important to choose the right painting materials and do the job properly. In many cases, primer is the first step to ensure a beautiful, long-lasting paint job. So, where do you start? How do you choose the right primer?

What is primer, and when do you need it?

Primer is a resin-based substance that is applied to a surface before applying paint. It can be used to cover imperfections, improve touch-ups, even out surfaces, and help your color look more consistent. The type of primer you use will depend on the purpose you want it to serve.

For example, if you are painting a porous surface, such as bare drywall, a lot of the paint will be absorbed into the wall. You may have to use several coats of paint so that the color does not look dull or splotchy. However, priming the surface first will fill in the pores so that your paint job looks smooth and vibrant.

Another use for primer is to ensure better paint adhesion and extend the life of the paint job. For example, glossy surfaces are very slick, and wet paint will have nothing to adhere to. In this case, the paint will slide right off before drying, causing a very messy situation. Glossy and high-sheen surfaces should be sanded and then primed for the best results.

Primer can also be used to seal areas where drywall damage was repaired, or to cover stains. On the other hand, it is generally unnecessary to prime previously painted surfaces unless you are making a drastic color change. If you have a flat, smooth, and clean surface with light or neutral color, it most likely will not need to be primed.

How to choose the right primer

When choosing the best primer for your paint job, a careful examination of the surface will help you determine if you need to prime it, and what primer to use. Let’s dive into some examples.

New Drywall

If you are painting smooth drywall that has been well-finished, you might choose a water-based latex primer. This generally has low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), has minimal fumes, and is easy to clean up. Another eco-friendly option that works great for this purpose is a primer-sealer designed specifically for drywall.

Stained Walls

Stains are notorious for bleeding through new paint applications. Whether it be water stains, pet stains, crayon, smoke, etc., it can be difficult to make these completely disappear. Even if they look like they are well-covered with paint, the stains may start to reappear over time. For this reason, it is important to use a stain-blocking primer, such as Block Out by Benjamin Moore, before applying your color.

In severe situations, stain-blocking primers may not provide enough coverage. Another option is to use a shellac primer, which can not only cover difficult stains, but can also seal in odors such as lingering smoke smells. Shellac primers are also great for sealing bare wood, as it fills in the pores, evens out the surface, and prevents wood tannins from leaking though.

Rough or Textured Surfaces

For rough or textured surfaces, you may need a thicker primer to achieve a smooth surface. High-build primers are great at filling in the gaps and helping your finish paint adhere to the surface. These primers are also helpful for drastic color changes when you need better coverage on top of dark or bold paint.

Mold or Mildew

Some primers are made specifically to kill and prevent mold spores. These are perfect for covering walls with previous mold growth and preventing mildew in rooms where moisture accumulates, such as bathrooms, closets, and basements. The INSL-X Aqua Lock® Plus Primer/Sealer by Benjamin Moore is a good example of primer to prevent mold. To prime after a situation involving mold, we recommend Zinsser’s Mold-Killing Primer. It’s very important to thoroughly clean any visible surface mold before applying primer or paint.

 Glossy Surfaces

When going from a glossy or high-sheen paint to a low-sheen, it is important to sand and prime the surface so that your paint has something to adhere to. Both oil-based and adhesion primers will accomplish this, such as Stix or ROMABIO® BioGrip Micro primer.

Oil-Based Paint

One very important thing to remember is that oil and water do not pair well. So, if you are using water-based paint on a surface that has previously been painted with oil-based paint, you will not be able to skip priming. Interestingly, an oil-based primer works as a transition from oil-based paint to water-based paint. You can also use a bonding primer like Stix to ensure proper adhesion.

If you are not sure what type of paint is on your walls, there is a trick to find out. Use a cotton ball to rub a small amount of denatured alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or acetone on the surface you want to paint. If the paint comes off on the cotton, it is water-based; if it does not and just cleans the surface, you have oil-based paint.

Exterior Surfaces

When painting an exterior surface, the main goal is to help your paint job withstand the elements. Oil-based primer works well for this purpose, particularly to combat wind and moisture. Although, it is becoming more common to use acrylic latex primer, which is especially great for wood siding. Excellent exterior acrylic primers include Bulls Eye, Oil-Based Fresh Start, and Multi-Purpose Primer by Benjamin Moore.BM Multi-Purpose Primer


Before choosing your materials, always check to make sure the primer you choose is an acceptable base for the paint you are planning to use. Additionally, keep in mind that oil-based primers typically have more fumes and VOCs than water-based primers, so they may not be the best option for tight spaces without proper ventilation.

If you want to help your finish paint stand out even better, you can tint your primer to be similar to the color you are using on top. At Marketplace Paints, we offer this along with custom color mixing in any sheen you want.

When painting unique surfaces like metal, stucco, brick and masonry, come visit any of our Marketplace Paints locations and ask one of our experts what will work best for your project. There may be a specialized primer available that will make the job easier and produce a beautiful finish.

For all your paint and interior design needs, Marketplace Paints can help you achieve the result you desire. Just call or visit our stores in Aiken, North Augusta, and Greenwood, South Carolina, or visit our website!


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