6 Basic Types Of Primer Paint To Choose From

Primer paint is used to provide a base coat for the surface of objects that are going to be painted. This type of paint will help the color coat of the paint to adhere and not peel off from the object. Primer paint can be applied before any other type of paint or after a layer of primer dries up.

Primer paint is expensive because the manufacturer will have to produce a formula that has an exceptional adhesion strength and also can be used on different surfaces. When you are painting a wall, ceiling or any other large area and if you want the color coat to adhere firmly, then use primer paint.

Oil-based primer paint

This type of primer paint is used on surfaces that have high oil and chemical resistance. It can be used on walls, stucco, cinder blocks and cement board.

Oil-based primer paint is very popular because it sticks tightly to the surface of an object. This kind of paint has a powerful bonding agent that will help the color coat to adhere firmly and resist peeling off from the area.

Oil-based primer paint usually dries up with time, so you can finish up the painting process immediately after you apply this type of primer paint.

Oil-based primer paint usually comes in an aerosol can, although it could also come in a brushable or pumpable form. If you are doing a large painting project and need to get the job done fast, then use oil-based primer paint. This kind of paint tends to be more expensive than some other types of primer paint, but it can save you time and money in the long run.

Oil-based primers are available for use on wood or metal surfaces as well, although the manufacturer will have to produce a formula that is capable of lasting longer. Applying oil-based paints can be problematic because they require more preparation than other types of primer paints, and they are more expensive as well.

Oil-based primers can be used outdoors or indoors. They also have a long shelf life because it is stored in cans that are sealed tightly. Since this type of paint cannot be thinned easily, you can use it as a single coat over unpainted surfaces.

Oil-based primers are inert and will not react with any other type of material. Also, since they are clear, even thin layers can be seen.

You should always use oil-based primer paints on surfaces that have a high chemical resistance level or surfaces that have a lot of oils and greases, because this type of paint is perfect for such surfaces.

Oil-based primer paint can create problems when the surface gets too hot. In order to avoid problems from occurring, make sure that you paint surfaces when they are dry.

Water-based primer paint

This type of primer paint is used on surfaces that have low oil and chemical resistance. It can be used on windows, concrete blocks, stucco and wood.

Water-based primer paints can be applied quickly because it dries up with time; this means that you can finish painting the object immediately after applying this type of paint. Since water-based primer paints dry up quickly, they also tend to be cheaper than other types of primer paints.

Water-based primers are very popular among people who like DIY projects because they do not require much preparation and are easy to use. The only downside is that some people say that the color coat does not last long on surfaces that have been painted with water-based primers.

Water-based primer paints are not stable and can easily vaporize into the air, so you cannot use them outside in windy areas. You also cannot use this type of paint on surfaces that have a high oil and chemical resistance level because the paint tends to be absorbed by the surface.

You should always use water-based primer paints on surfaces with low levels of oils, chemicals or greases, because this kind of paint usually does not stand up well against such items.

Water-based primers are often used on surfaces that have been freshly painted with oil-based primer paints because it can fill any type of tiny gap between the old and new layers of paint. This could prevent cracking when high levels of oils and greases are present.

Water-based primers can be used on wood or metal surfaces as well, but they may not last long depending on the material. Water-based primer paints can also be sprayed using a painting machine.

Solvent-based primers

This type of primer is perfect for use on surfaces that have a high level of oils and greases. The solvent-based primer will also help the applied paint to last longer on these types of surfaces.

Solvent-based primers are used as single coats over freshly painted surfaces, but they can also be thinned down for use as two coat paints. You should make sure that you apply a thinner with solvent-based primer paints because it will be too thick for use as single coat paint.

Solvent-based primers are commonly used on surfaces that have been freshly painted with water-based primer paints, because the solvent in this type of paint can help make sure that the surface is completely dry.

This type of primer can also be used as a single coat over adhesive surfaces without any problems occurring if you apply two coats of primer. Solvent-based primers can be applied using a spraying machine or brushed onto surfaces.

If you are going to apply solvent-based primer paints outdoors, then you should make sure that it is not windy because it can easily vaporize into the air and cause a foul smell. You also need to make sure that no water touches the surface where solvent-based primer paints have been applied; otherwise, it will be washed away completely.

You can tint solvent-based primers using pigments. If you do not want the paint to be absorbed by surfaces, then you should make sure that you apply two coats of solvent-based primer paints.

If you are using this type of paint on a surface that already has loose or chipped paint, then it is best to sand down first and apply painter's tape before applying the primer. Solvent-based paints are used in situations where surfaces have high levels of oils and greases. This type of primer paint is perfect for use on surfaces that will be painted with oil or latex paint.

You can tint solvent-based primers using water, but you should make sure that all the solvents have been evaporated completely before applying the tint.

Latex Primer

Latex primer is available in water base. There are two types of latex paint: aqueous and alkyd. Latex primers come in either a matte or satin finish but the satin is more widely used because it reduces glare.

In general, latex primers are hard to sand because they don't adhere as well to the surface. They should be applied between coats and is best used for interior purposes.

Latex paints are not recommended for cement, brick or concrete surfaces; it peels off easily when wet because of its greasy texture.

Some manufacturers also add acrylic dispersion to latex paint for better cover especially on rough surface areas such as textured wallpapers and concrete. Latex paint is not as durable. If the surface that needs to be painted is small, then you can use latex primers but if it's a large area and difficult to work with then alkyd primer should be used.

Alkyd Primer

Alkyd primer are commonly used by professionals because of its durability and longevity. It is a high-quality primer that lasts for more than 10 years. It's also widely used in places such as aircraft, ships and trains.

Alkyd primers are available in both water base and solvent based with the latter being more expensive but it has exceptional qualities that latex primers can't offer. As an example, alkyd primer is good to use in maintaining the finish of a surface where graffiti usually occurs. It can also be used on cement and brick surfaces, unlike latex primers; it can endure for more than 10 years when applied in a thick coat.

However, alkyd primers are harder to use. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight for more than 4 hours and when sanding it, you need to wear a respirator because of the chemicals that it contains.

Shellac Primer

Shellac primer is a mixture of shellac and varnish. It's available in both water based and solvent base and has the same qualities as alkyd primers except that it's not long lasting like alkyds. Shellac primer also contains aromatic hydrocarbons which can irritate the skin when sanded.

It's commonly used in walls and ceilings when they are painted with light colored paints. It eliminates uneven surfaces and old coats of paint before another coat of paint is applied to it.

Shellac primer has less surface tension than latex or alkyds primers which causes it to dry faster than a regular primer; that's why you notice an oily film forming before it dries, that's the shellac.

Shellac primer is easy to use and it creates beautiful glossy finishes. It can also be used over latex primers. It is not recommended for cement, brick and concrete surfaces since it peels off easily when wet. And lastly, shellac primer is less expensive than a regular alkyd primer but it should only be used if the surface being painted is small in size.


What happens if you mix latex and alkyd primer?

If the paint is a high quality one, mixing alkyds to latex will not cause any problems. The problem arises when you mix different brands of paints together with various pigments.

What should I do if my walls are already painted?

Wall surfaces that have been painted with regular paint can be cleaned before applying primer. However, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions if possible because it might damage or discolor your walls and ruin previous coats of paint; therefore, using an actual primer is not recommended anymore.

Most of the time, you can use your previous paint to prime if it's not old and has a glossy finish; if not then you need to completely repaint the surface before applying primer.

Whenever possible, do not use regular paint and primer at the same time because it will decrease the longevity of your walls when exposed to direct sunlight. It is recommended to use an alkyd system if you can't find your previous coat of paint or if it's too expensive.

How do I prime concrete?

Concrete primer can be used with both water based and solvent based paints but you have to be careful when using it because the surface is coarse, so a thinner coat of primer is better than a thick coat. The best way to use concrete primer is by applying 2 coats instead of one because the rough texture of concrete needs to be leveled up and that's what primers are for, leveling up irregular surfaces.

If the primer isn't leveled as expected then use a second coat and level it up again. If you're still having problems leveling the surface, then consider using an alkyd primer instead of concrete primer because they are designed for cement surfaces which makes them a better choice than primers made for latex paints.

What happens if I fail to use primer before painting?

Painting without using primer is a bad idea; even if the paint you're going to use is already durable. It's important that you apply primer before painting your walls because it hides cracks and other surface imperfections, and it protects the wall from absorbing too much paint which can lead to bubbling and peeling in the future. Proper use of primer can help you save money and improve your painting.

What should I look for in a primer?

Primers are essential when painting and you have to choose one carefully. It's important to know that not all primers are made equal; some tend to be more durable than others, which is why it's crucial that you select the right brand and type of primer. When choosing a primer, you need to check its coverage, color and odor because they are all important.

When it comes to coverage, the more the better; however not all primers have a good or even acceptable level of coverage so make sure that you choose wisely. You should also consider how easy it is to apply and if it's worth the price. Based on all of these, you should determine which primer would be best for your surfaces.


Primer is a necessary step in painting regardless of the surface you're going to paint because it prepares the walls or surfaces for painting. You need primer before you can apply your actual paint, and that's why it comes first on this list. Without primer, there won't be any paint! And hopefully, after reading the article about types of primer paint , you're more likely to be equipped with the knowledge you need.

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