Request a Quote


How To Choose The Right Primer For Project Preparation

August 1, 2018


According to Sherwin-Williams, primers are a multifaceted aspect of the painting process. Primers achieve a smooth, professional look and block future stains, marks, and odors. The first coat also assures adhesion, speeds up and improves topcoat, and prevents peeling. Primers also attain the truest color of paint.

Which primer do you need for your commercial project? Talk with a professional painting company about the following:

If the wall has a stain or odor… choose a water-based stain-blocking primer. Some stains bleed through coats of primer and paint. The same goes for lingering odors like smoke.

If the stain or odor is water-based (rust, nicotine, smoke, wood tannins, and water), oil-based stain-blocking primer is better. Yet, this type of primer has its own lingering odor and requires paint thinner for cleanup.

If the stain or odor is solvent-based (crayon, grease, ink, and scuff marks), water-based stain-blocking primer is best. This primer has no odor, doesn’t need extra cleanup, and offers low levels of volatile organic compounds.

If the wall is prone to moisture… use a vapor barrier primer. High-moisture areas in commercial buildings cause paint to mildew, flake, and peel. This includes office kitchens, bathrooms, and storage closets.

Exterior high-moisture areas cause paint to peel, bubble, and blister. This includes any entranceway or rooftop paint.

If mildew is a serious concern, kill it with bleach and water. Use a stain-blocking primer to prevent mildew stains from bleeding through the topcoat.

If the wall has new drywalluse a “high-build” drywall primer-sealer. This high quality primer levels and fills in rough or uneven drywall construction. It's better than standard drywall primer-sealer, because it prevents blotchy, dull areas under a coat of paint. It also prevents paint from developing an inconsistent sheen.

Drywall primer-sealer also prevents flashing on repaired walls (unless the walls are plaster. Plaster walls need oil-based stain-blocking primer to prevent lime stains from bleeding through the topcoat.)

If the wall is wooduse a water-based stain-blocking primer. Some commercial painters use oil-based stain-blocking primer, but water-based primer is better. It requires only a little more sanding for the added benefits of environmental friendliness and no excess cleanup.

If the wall is getting a drastic color change… use a tinted primer. When walls go from light to dark and vice versa, it’s hard for commercial painters to hide the previous color. A gray-tinted primer reduces the number of top coats necessary to hide the original color. Gray enhances dark paint and improves the hide. (The hide is a painting industry term for how well a primer covers imperfections and color.)

Other primer types from Sherwin-Williams include the following:

  • Premium Wall & Wood Primer that provides a smooth finish to wood and walls.
  • Multi-Purpose Latex Primer that works for many surfaces.
  • Drywall Primer that “seals new drywall and previously painted walls for a consistent finish.”
  • Pre-Wallcovering Primer that “primes, seals and sizes in one coat.”
  • Multi-Purpose Oil-Based Primer that seals, blocks, and assures a uniform finish.
  • Adhesion Primer that “tightly bonds to slick and glossy surfaces.”
  • White Pigmented Shellac Primer that seals “out the toughest stains and odors in one coat.”
  • Concrete & Masonry Primer that “seals and adheres to concrete, brick, stucco and plaster.”

The right type of primer depends on the material, whether it’s an interior or exterior project, and the location of the wall. Will it be subject to chair scrapes in a conference room? Has the wall been painted before?

To learn more about surface preparation, download Cochran & Mann’s newest checklist. Click on the button below for more information:

Download The Surface Preparation Checklist

Get our latest blog posts delivered to your inbox


Awards and Recognitions

Award ImageAward ImageAward ImageAward ImageAward ImageAward Image