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Should You Prime Drywall Before Painting?

Applying primer first after painting on drywall is important. This article discusses best practices for properly painting primer and some tips to make it good.

A person applying a primer paint on a wall.

If you’re planning to paint drywall, it must be primed first. The priming process ensures that the paint adheres to the drywall and dries properly for a long-lasting finish. Paint can be affected by things like humidity and temperature changes, which is why priming drywall before painting it is so important.

Prepping Your Drywall for Painting

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Before you paint your drywall, it’s important to make sure that the walls are properly prepped and ready for primer. Here’s how you can prepare your drywall to paint it for a brand-new look.

  • Look for any dings or gouges in the drywall, and fill areas in using a drywall patch kit, mud, or paste.
  • Use a pole sander to sand the drywall down to a smooth, even finish.
  • Remove excess dust by using a shop vac or your household vacuum with the hose attachment. Next, use a dark-colored cloth and gently run it over the wall to inspect it for any remaining dust. If any dust is leftover, repeat the vacuuming process until it’s completely removed.
  • Make a mixture of one cup of white vinegar and one gallon of water and put it in a bucket. Use a large, soft sponge and soak it in the mixture, then use it to gently wash the drywall.
  • Turn on a fan at the highest speed setting and place it in front of the drywall to help speed up the drying process. Remember, the drywall must be completely dry before you can apply primer and paint to it.

Primer Tips

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It’s crucial to apply at least one full coat of primer to your drywall before you paint it. Primer helps the paint go on smoothly, and it helps it to adhere to the material for a long period of time, preventing the paint from chipping, cracking, and peeling. When you’re looking for a primer to use on drywall, choose a latex-based primer to create a smooth, seamless look.

Choose a high-quality primer that is specially formulated for use on drywall whenever possible. Apply one to two thin coats of primer, allowing it to dry in-between applications. Once the primer is dried, it will help the paint absorb more evenly on the walls, creating a professional look.

Applying white paint using a roller brush.

Use small strokes to apply the primer and make sure that every wall is covered from the ceiling to the floor.

Why Should You Prime Drywall Before Painting?

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Aside from ensuring a beautiful finish, there are other reasons why priming your drywall is so important. Primer helps the paint dry much faster, saving you time and money in the long run. Without primer, it will take much longer for the paint to absorb, and you’ll likely end up needing to apply at least two coats or more. Primer also helps the paint adhere more effectively.

That’s because primer products are formulated to make the paint stick to surfaces, ensuring that your beautiful, fresh coat of paint will remain vibrant well into the future. Priming your drywall will also help the paint look vibrant and the colors will look accurate. It’s also much easier to clean your walls when you apply primer first.

Since primer acts as a seal, it blocks out small flaws and dents in the wall. Using primer helps you cover small blemishes to create a smooth, even finish once you add your paint for a nice, uniform appearance.

Helpful Primer Tips for Drywall

A roller brush applying white paint on the wall.

Here are some important tips to help ensure that you’re priming your drywall correctly.

  • Always choose a primer with a sealer that is specially designed for use on drywall. Water-based or latex primers are available, as well as oil-based primers. A primer with a sealer will help you fill in uneven spots for a nice, smooth surface. While it may cost more upfront, it’s worth the extra money since you’ll save time filling in small gouges or blemishes.
  • Most drywall primer products costs between $15 and $25 per gallon. You can find them at most home improvement stores and big-box retailers as well as online. This is significantly less than many premium paints that can cost anywhere from $60 to over $100 per gallon.
  • If you’re looking for an inexpensive, budget-friendly way to prime drywall, try flat latex paint. This paint is a good alternative to traditional primers, and it also helps you create a smooth, even surface. In fact, some drywall manufacturers recommend using plain flat latex paint in lieu of primer. This type of paint is much less costly than high-quality paint and can also be tinted to match the color of your paint.
  • Another easy way to hide blemishes in drywall is to use a special “hiding paint”. This type of paint is also a flat latex paint but has a much thicker consistency to help hide imperfections. Always make sure that you choose a hiding paint that works on unfinished drywall, and keep in mind that it will cost more than regular flat latex paint.
  • To create a perfectly smooth texture on your walls, try skim-coating them using a drywall compound. This process uses a drywall taping knife to tape the compound on, then immediately remove it. Any leftover compound is what’s known as the skim-coat. This process will ensure that your drywall has a perfectly even texture that’s ready for priming and painting.

If you’re wondering whether you should prime drywall before painting, the answer is a resounding yes. Using a quality primer first will help your beautiful new paint color absorb more evenly and ensure that you have a gorgeous look that will last for years to come.