What is priming paint?

UK Home Improvement

What is Priming Paint?

When carrying out DIY or interior design on your property, painting is a common task that you’re likely going to have to carry out.

While you might think that it’s as simple as grabbing a paintbrush and slapping the paint on the wall, it isn’t always as easy as that.

Often, a primer paint, or undercoat paint as it’s sometimes known as, will be required as part of the painting process. While you may have heard of primer paint before, you may not know exactly what it is unless you’re a professional painter.

Despite this, primer paint can often carry out a very important role when painting and in some cases is even an essential part of the process.

In this article, we’ll discuss ‘what is priming paint?’ explaining everything you need to know about the product including when it should be used.   

What Is Priming Paint? 

So, let’s start with that very question – ‘what is priming paint?’ 

Well, priming paint, or undercoat paint, is a type of paint that is typically used as painted onto a wall, ceiling, or other surface prior to the actual paint that is being used. Think of it as something of a base coat that is used to make sure that the paint going on top correctly adheres to the surface while also improving aesthetics with a sleek, flawless look.

It can also help provide the paint job with additional longevity, as it protects the paint from wear and tear that could cause it to become damaged and unsightly. 

In many ways using primer paint is a way of future-proofing the work, ensuring that you will not have to do it all over again in a few months or years’ time.   

When Do You Need Priming Paint?

Sometimes, people opt to neglect the use of primer paint. After all, isn’t it just adding an additional step that unnecessarily prolongs the project?

Well, while it’s true that it isn’t always absolutely necessary, we’d always highly recommend using it no matter the circumstances. This is because even if it’s not required in theory, at the end of the day you’re adding a layer of protection. No harm can come from being extra cautious, so even if you’re in a rush we’d suggest using it. It may even save you time in the long run as it means you won’t need to repaint the surface for a long time. 

Some of the main circumstances in which priming paint is required include:

  • Porous surfaces – Some household and DIY projects will see the need for porous surfaces to be painted. The more porous a surface, the less likely it is that paint will adhere and so primer paint can help make sure this happens effectively. Without the use of primer paint on these surfaces, it’s likely you’ll be left with an uneven finish that can be a bit of an eyesore. So it’s worth going over with a primer first. 
  • Glossy surfaces – Similarly, primer paint can help when dealing with glossy surfaces. Again, these can be more difficult for paint to adhere and stick to but by using a primer in advance you can ensure the process runs smoothly. In addition to using priming paint, going over a glossy surface with a piece of sandpaper can also help it to stick. 
  • Painting a radiator – Painting radiators can be a tricky task, but using a primer paint can make the process that bit easier. Not only will it help your paint to effectively stick, but it will also keep any rusty parts of the appliance well-protected – this is particularly important if working with older radiators.
  • Going from dark to light – If you’re changing the colour of a surface from dark to light, priming paint is essential. This is because it will neutralise the colour that came before it and ensure your new, lighter colour will shine through. Not using primer in these circumstances could mean you’re left with a surface in which the old, dark paint is still visible behind the new one. 
  • Stained surfaces – If you’re painting on a surface that has stains on it, using priming paint will help to cover these up so that they do not ruin the new paint job. We’d still recommend cleaning the area as best you can before applying the primer, though.

How To Use Primer Paint?

Now you know the various properties of priming paint and the circumstances in which to use it, let’s take a look at how to use it most effectively. 

Prepare your space 

Before getting to work with any kind of paint, it’s vital that you prepare the area that you’re going to be working in. Move furniture out of the way or cover it with dust sheets. This will prevent any paint from getting on the fabric and damaging it. Likewise, lay down a sheet on the floor to protect the flooring.

Inspect the surface for cracks 

Before beginning, take some time to carefully inspect the surface you’re working on. If you notice any cracks then fill them in and sand them down. At this point, if you see any old paint or plaster that’s peeling, use sandpaper to eradicate it. 

Sponge the surface 

You may also consider washing the surface beforehand, especially if you’re working on a wall which is easy to clean. Use a sponge and warm, soapy water and simply wash the space down. This should remove any dirt or grime that’s appeared and allow the primer to perform to its best. 

Apply the primer 

Pour your priming paint into a paint tray and apply it to the wall. This process is much the same as normal painting and you should evenly cover the entire space. 

Apply your topcoat

Give the primer some time to dry and then you’re ready to apply your top coat of coloured paint. 

By following the steps outlined above you should find that priming a wall is extremely straightforward, for more blogs, articles and great DIY and home improvement content, be sure to take a look across our website. 


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