Do I Need to Prime My House before Painting?

Do I need to prime my house before painting

Priming is a crucial step in any successful paint job. Not only does it help paint stick better, but it will also make the results look cleaner and smoother. So do I need to prime my house before painting?

In this article, we’ll answer that question and more! From the types of primer you need to the best techniques to apply them, everything you need to know is listed below!

When Do I Need to Prime My House?

Priming your surfaces before a paint job is crucial. It can significantly impact the final result of your painting project and should be part of any routine when preparing to paint your home. While doing so may be an extra step, it can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run. So when do I need to prime my house before painting? Here are the best times to consider:

When Painting Over a New Surface

Priming is crucial for painting a fresh surface, such as bare wood, drywall, or stucco. Primers create a smooth and uniform base, ensuring the paint adheres properly and lasts longer.

When Painting Over a Different Type of Paint

Priming becomes necessary when changing the paint type, whether oil-based to latex or vice versa. Primers act as a bridge between incompatible colours, preventing adhesion issues.

When Painting Over a Dark Colour

Priming is highly recommended if transitioning from a dark-coloured surface to a lighter one. A primer helps to block the old colour, preventing it from bleeding through the new paint.

When Painting Over a Surface With Peeling or Cracking Paint

Before painting over a facade with peeling or cracking paint, prime it to ensure a smooth and stable base. Primers help seal and consolidate the damaged areas, providing a solid foundation for the new paint.

When Painting Over Older Properties

According to Inspiration Paint, house paint, mainly white paint, used to contain high lead levels during the 70s. If you own a property built during or before that time, consider priming it before starting the painting project to avoid lead poisoning.



What Type of Primer Do I Need?

Selecting the appropriate primer is crucial in achieving a successful and long-lasting paint job. Different surfaces and situations demand specific primers to ensure optimal adhesion, coverage, and finish. Here are some of the best types of primers for various painting projects:

Acrylic Primer

Acrylic primers are great for drywalls or plaster surfaces thanks to their adhesive and sealing properties. They can also create even surfaces to make the painting project easier and work well with water- and oil-based products.

Oil-Based Primer

Great for wooden surfaces, oil-based primers are known for their fantastic stain-blocking qualities. They’re incredibly excellent for sealing surfaces with tough stains and preventing tannin bleed-through from the wood.

Stain-Blocking Primer

This product is specially formulated to deal with stains like water or ink marks, smoke damage, and more. Applying these before painting will prevent these stains from seeping through the new coat of paint.

Bonding Primer

Meanwhile, bonding primers are great for dealing with ceramic tiles, laminates, and glass. They have enhanced adhesion, allowing a solid base of paint to grip onto these challenging surfaces.

Rust-Inhibitive Primer

These primers are great if you’re painting rust-prone metallic surfaces. Applying these can create a protective barrier on the surfaces, preventing corrosion and ensuring that the paint sticks.

Masonry Primer

Masonry primers are great for concrete, brick, and other stone surfaces. They not only improve paint adhesion and durability but also minimise moisture penetration as well.

Alkyd Primer

Alkyd primers are often used for previously painted surfaces, particularly those with oil-based paints, offering excellent adhesion and sealing.

Tinted Primer

Tinted to a shade close to the final paint colour, these primers minimise the number of paint coats required, saving time and paint.

Multi-Surface Primer

Versatile and suitable for various surfaces, multi-surface primers simplify projects by eliminating the need for different primers for different materials.

Drywall Primer

Designed for new drywall installations, these primers seal the porous surface, ensuring even paint absorption and preventing uneven appearance.

How to Apply Primer

So now that you know the types of primers you can use and when’s the best time to use them, let’s apply them. Follow these essential steps to ensure you get it done correctly:

Step 1: Clean the Surface

Remove dirt, dust, and grease from the surface using soap and water. A clean surface ensures optimal adhesion.

Step 2: Sand Rough Areas

Lightly sand any rough spots to create a smoother surface for the primer to adhere to.

Step 3: Choose the Right Primer

Select a primer based on the surface type and the paint you’ll use. Consider the options mentioned above.

Step 4: Prepare the Primer

Stir the primer thoroughly to ensure an even consistency. Some primers must be tinted if you’re transitioning to a significantly different paint colour.

Step 5: Apply with Care

Use a brush, roller, or spray gun to apply the primer evenly. Avoid thick coats that could lead to drips or uneven drying.

Step 6: Focus on Edges

Pay extra attention to corners, edges, crevices, and any other space where paint might only adhere well with proper priming.

Step 7: Let It Dry

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time. Typically, primers dry within a few hours, but oil-based primers might take longer.

Step 8: Inspect the Surface

After the primer coating has dried, inspect the surface for imperfections or uneven areas. Sand these down if necessary.

Step 9: Clean Up

Clean your brushes, rollers, and other tools promptly using water for water-based primers or appropriate solvents for oil-based primers.

Considerations When Priming Different Surfaces

Any painting project involves different types of surfaces. So it’s essential to tailor your priming approach to these work areas. That way, you can enjoy optimal results. Here are vital considerations to keep in mind:


Carefully sand the wooden surfaces to make them smoother and to remove old paint or varnish. Then opt for the wood-friendly primers mentioned above.

Drywall or Plaster

If these surfaces are newly installed, opt for drywall primers for consistency. But if the plaster or drywall surfaces are older, use primers with higher adhesive properties. This will make sure the paint sticks well.


Before priming, get rid of any rust present on the surfaces. Then apply the rust-inhibitive primer mentioned above to prevent further corrosion.

Masonry or Concrete

Clean the surfaces thoroughly and remove any dirt, dust, or mould present. Then apply the masonry primer mentioned above.

Previously Painted Surfaces

Gently sand the surface to improve paint adhesion, as well as to get rid of any imperfections present. If the previous paint is still in good condition, you don’t need to remove it entirely and can settle with a bonding primer. But if there’s peeling or cracked paint, you have to remove it before priming.

Different Techniques for Applying Primer

How you apply the primer can also influence how good it looks. To enjoy perfection (or at least get the best results), consider these techniques:


You can easily apply primer to smaller areas or intricate surfaces using a high-quality brush. Brushing allows for precision and control, ensuring every nook and cranny is covered with primer.


Using a roller is a time-efficient method for larger surfaces like walls and ceilings. It provides smooth and even coverage while minimising streaks. Use a roller with the appropriate nap length for the surface texture.


Spraying primer can be a quick and efficient way to deal with extensive or uneven surfaces. This technique requires specialised equipment, such as a paint sprayer, to ensure an even application. Protecting your door, furniture, and surrounding areas from overspray is vital.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can primer be tinted?

Yes, you can add tint to your primer of choice so its shade is close to the final paint colour. Doing so also helps reduce the number of coatings needed for the painting project and hide any imperfections present.

Are multiple coats of primer necessary?

No, you don’t always need to apply multiple layers of primer. In fact, a study by Q. Liu and his colleagues noted that using more primer than necessary will not bring any additional benefits.

Is complete removal of old paint required before priming?

No, you don’t always need to wipe off old paint from the surfaces before priming. However, loose or peeling paint must be removed to ensure the area receives the new coating well.

Can certain paint types serve as both a primer and topcoat?

Yes, certain paints available today are formulated to serve both as a primer and a topcoat. Opting for these two-in-one products can save time and effort in the painting process.

What happens if you don’t prime before painting?

Skipping the priming process can lead to several problems, including poor adhesion, uneven coating, and reduced paint lifespan.


So back to the main question. Do I need to prime my house before painting?

Yes, you definitely should! By correctly applying the right primers, you can ensure the finished job is clean, durable, and visually appealing.

So don’t skip this extra step, no matter what! Get the best primers available alongside your favourite Dulux topcoats. Ans take time to read the guide above so you’ll know what to do!

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