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Guest Post: When and How to Use Primer

Knowing when and how to use primer can be tricky especially if you are a new do it yourselfer. I don’t know about you, but when I first started painting my projects, I had no idea if I needed to use primer or not. It was a little intimidating. I accidentally bought an entire gallon for a small project (how embarrassing and costly). As with many things, I learned through experience. Here are a few tips and rules of thumb that I have learned along the way.

Primer Paint (Photo Credit: Do It Yourself)
Primer Paint (Photo Credit: Do It Yourself)

When To Use Primer

• When the surfaced is cracked or has holes

• When you are using lighter paint colors

• When you are changing two types of paint (i.e. applying latex over oil paint)

• When painting over dark colors

Why Use Primer

• Primer acts as a bond and will strengthen and adhere to your cover paint

• To correct flaws and uneven surfaces

• To protect the surface and keep moister and mildew out

• To increase durability and keep paint from chipping or flaking

• To create an even and smooth hue and mask brush marks

• To extend the life of your paint with a longer lasting color

How To Use Primer

• Sand any lumps or flaws

• Thoroughly clean your surface and make sure it is clear of debris and dust

• Make sure the primer is completely dry between each coat

• Two coats typically does the job

Bonus Tip: Often times paint stores and hardware stores have an “oops” table. In order to save money for a paint project, make sure you check for paint color mistakes from previous customers. You may find what you are looking for a much lower price.

These tips can be used whether you are refurbishing an old piece of furniture or a flea market find, or if you are painting or repainting a room. Hope this helps!

More Painting Tips:

About Dinah Wulf

Dinah Wulf
Dinah is a SoCal Craft and DIY Blogger. She has a Master of Arts Degree in Speech Communication from California State University Fullerton. Writing and getting creative is her passion and she feels fortunate to do it every single day. Over the last few years, she has created and published over a thousand craft and DIY tutorials on her blog, in magazines, and websites. Her website, DIY Inspired has been recognized by Mashable,, and Real Simple Magazine.

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