Paint primer is an important foundation to many faux finishes. I'd like to talk about primers, when to use them, and what kind to use.
A paint primer is a coat of paint that you put on your walls, trim, or cabinets before you begin with the finish you desire.
Why would you use a primer?
• If you are putting your finish over a new wall that has never been painted.
• If you are working on a wall that has a glossy surface.
• If you are painting or finishing over existing wallpaper.
• If your wall has been skimmed or extensively patched.
All of these are reasons to use primer. Sometimes even when the wall is just plain painted you will want to prime under certain finishes.
Okay lets start.
New drywall or a wall that has been skimmed or patched will have areas where the paint or finish will dry differently because certain parts of the wall are more porous than others. the finish will look patchy. This is called flashing. When certain parts of the paint or finish looks shiny or extra dull. That's called flashing and it basically can make your wall look spotty.
A good quality paint primer will eliminate this by sealing off the wall and making the finish look even.
Most of the time a good quality 100% acrylic primer will do the trick in this case.
Acrylic primers are also good to paint over wallpaper in preparation for your finish. Since most wallpaper is surfaced with vinyl, an acrylic primer is ideal to become a bonding agent between your wallpaper and your finish. There are some fine primers specifically designed to use over wallpaper. Just check with your paint store and they can direct you to one of these.
What about a really glossy wall?
Sometimes a high gloss wall is too "slick" and that can make it hard to do some finishes like tuscan texture. A paint primer can change that and give you the perfect fresh start.
Is it ever necessary to use an oil primer?
Yes, if you have stains that would otherwise bleed through your finish. When something "bleeds" or shows through a coat of paint, it means that it will keep coming through water based paint.
For example, if you are working in a room where someone has marked on the walls with a majik marker. The ink will continue to bleed through any number of coats of water based paints or primers.
Or lets say there are stains made by water. You know those brown stains that sometimes occur when there has been a leak. Usually only an oil or shelac based, stain killing primer will do the trick. These oil primers will hide those stains or marks so that they will not bleed through your finish.
We mentioned using a primer even when the wall looks fine. This is especially important when applying Venetian plaster.
Choose an acrylic primer and tint it to the same color as one of the colors in your Venetian plaster. Apply the primer and let it dry for at least two hours. You will love working over the primer as it will make the job much easier and faster.
That is also a good tip to remember whenever you're priming walls. Tinting the primer to match your base coat can make painting the base color much easier.
I hope these tips help you pick the right kind of primer and also when to use it.
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