Pros and Cons of Using a Primer Before You Paint

ECOS Paints 06/21/2022
Pros and Cons of Using a Primer Before You Paint

The expression “work smarter, not harder” has become popular in recent years. The idea is that instead of focusing on putting in as much effort as possible toward a task, it’s better to find ways to work more efficiently. This mindset has led people to ask themselves what steps are really necessary for any task, and applying primer is one of those steps.

If you’re weighing whether primer is a necessary step, it’s time to consider the pros and cons of using primer before you paint.

Pros of Using Primer

Fewer Coats Needed

Many surfaces, like wood or drywall, are porous. That means they’ll immediately start to absorb paint, especially non-toxic water-based paint. While this may seem like something you would want as a painter, it will inevitably require you to apply more coats to get the color you want. Applying a primer helps seal the wall, allowing you to paint without the wall absorbing everything.


If you paint on surfaces that are slick or covered in an old, damaged paint job, it will make it difficult for your paint to adhere. Primer is specifically formulated for paint to adhere to it, giving you the perfect surface for a paint job that will stand the test of time.

True Colors

If you’ve ever tried to paint a dark wall a light color, you know that it can pose a challenge. You can sometimes see the original color bleeding through your current color, making your pastels or off-whites look different than your sample swatch. When you apply a white primer under lighter colors and a gray primer under darker colors, it gives you a “clean slate” that will allow you to showcase your true chosen color.

Cons of Using Primer

More Time-Consuming

Painting a room takes time. Along with the time it takes to cover the walls, you’ll have to wait for the primer to cure before applying your first coat of paint.

Mistakes More Likely

Any time you add more steps to a project, you make it more complex. And where there’s greater complexity, there’s greater room for error. Although you can generally cover any primer mistakes with paint, any mistakes you make with primer can lead to issues through paint.

Should You Use Primer?

After weighing all the pros and cons of using paint primer, the question remains: do you have to use it? Ultimately, it depends on the project.

If you’re painting walls over an old paint job that is still in good condition and a lighter color than the one you’re currently using, you don’t need primer. But if you want a lighter color, are painting over damaged paint or bare walls, or just want to ensure a durable paint job, consider adding a coat of our primer paint to your walls before you paint.

CATEGORIES Tips & Tricks