Paint primers: Different types of primer explained

Sometimes it’s necessary to use a primer before painting and other times it’s not. Either way, each paint job is different, and when you do need to prime, choosing the correct primer will help you achieve a long lasting, problem-free paint job. There are lots of different types of primers out there. This article will help narrow them down for you, so you can select the correct one for your next painting project.

Drywall sealer

You should always prime new drywall that hasn’t been painted yet. New, unpainted drywall is porous and tends to soak up paint like a sponge. Additionally, drywall mud at joints tends to soak up paint at a more uneven rate than the surrounding drywall. If not primed beforehand, this causes paints with a sheen to “flash,” giving off a blotchy, uneven appearance. Drywall sealers are low-cost, water base products that are designed to give a good, even first coat, allowing your topcoat to cover evenly… Unless you have older drywall that has yellowed over time. In which case, you’ll want to use an oil base primer, discussed next.

Oil base primer

Oil base primers are great for priming over stains and yellowed surfaces as well as new woodwork. Oil base primers block water stains, smoke stains, and graffiti which would normally come through a water base primer. Additionally, they hold back tannin bleed that often happens with unpainted wood. The drawbacks to oil are they require paint thinner to clean up, and they do have a strong odor, although odorless oil base primers are available.

Universal all-purpose water based primers

These types of primers, as the name suggests, are good for a wide range of uses. These normally work on both interior and exterior applications, including wood, concrete, drywall, metal, and stucco, among other applications. It is based to check the product label to make sure though as some products vary on what they can and cannot be used on. As always, quality matters and cheaper all-purpose primers will not perform as well as higher quality ones.

Bonding primer

This type of primer is excellent for priming new wood and vinyl siding, and also does a great job of sealing chalky surfaces. Our product, Acri-Shield Bonding Primer is the best of this product on the market and will ensure you have a great-looking, long-lasting paint project.

Shellac primer

If you have heavy stains or smells to cover up this is the primer to use. This is the only primer that will effectively block heavy odors such as pet urine on subfloors or cigarette smell on walls. This primer does have an odor of its own though that will subside, but its best to have windows open when you use it. It cleans up with with denatured alcohol.

This gives you a basic overview of different types of paint primers. Of course, every situation is unique and your painting project may not be covered by the situations above. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 636-240-5220.

Recommended Products

Drywall Sealer

PPG Speedhide Drywall Primer
PPG Speedhide MaxBuild Surfacer

Oil Base Primer

Zinsser Cover Stain
Zinsser Allprime
PPG Seal
Grip Oil Base

Bonding Primer

PPG Acri-Shield Max Bonding Primer

All-Purpose Primers

PPG SealGrip
Zinsser Allprime

Shellac Primer