Primer (painting)

Paint primer is used as a first coating when painting a surface. It’s job is to seal bare surfaces as well as give finish or top coat layers a surface to bind to. Surfaces that have a first primer coat will last longer and look more “professional”.

  • Primer is general used on new wood and metal surfaces
  • Using primer is much better than using two finish coats
  • For rust-prone metal surfaces such as iron or steel (e.g. radiators), use zinc chromate (rust resistant) or long-oil primers, which can penetrate better
  • Galvanized metal surfaces such as gutters can be painted with zinc-oxide primers (other primers are also formulated for galvanized metal and will be labeled as such)
  • Aluminum and vinyl like window trim generally doesn’t need primer, but primer can be used if paint is not sticking well
  • Copper and brass can be sealed with polyurethane instead of using a primer
  • New woods, such as for trim, or plywood can be primered with Alkyd or Latex primer
  • Be sure to properly prepare all surfaces before using primer, i.e. clear dirt, corrosion, sanding dust, etc.