In Advice, Paint FAQ's

Paint primers are used as an undercoat on drywall before painting the finishing paint colours.  It ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface area, and provides a seal barrier.

Benjamin Moore Natura Paint Primer with zero VOC used by best painters in Ottawa PG PAINT & DESIGN


What is Paint Primer

A paint primer otherwise known as an undercoat is a prepping coat of paint that ensures the best adhesion of the final paint to any surface.  It is a good foundation for expert painting results.

It functions as a binder and allows the paint to dry evenly and retain its sheen.  Without it the final paint results may turn out blotchy and or uneven.  A coat of primer seals the surface when applying a fresh coat of paint colour.  It covers the old paint so that it doesn’t bleed through on your newly painted surface.  You can read more about Paint Primer on this wikipedia link.

Paint vs. Primer What is the Difference

Without getting too technical, the basic difference between paint and primer is resins vs pigments.  The resins in paint primers are sealants for porous surfaces and provide the bond on the surface.  This basic function of a paint primer is to provide a sealed and primed surface on which to apply your topcoat.

Paints contain pigments, and in addition to providing colour they also provide the durability factor in the paint finishes to withstand the everyday household elements.  A different chemical formulation is in every primer and every finish.

multi-purpose oil based primer by Benjamin Moore paints

multi-purpose latex primer paint

fresh start multi-purpose latex premium primer

exterior wood primer by Benjamin Moore

drywall primer by Benjamin Moore


Primers are also problem solvers.  They make an excellent first layer of protection to wood surfaces which naturally contain knots, as well as rust from nails and stains from water leaks. There are primers for different situations and you can find more information on the Benjamin Moore Website for primers for more of what the different primer types are and situations they are to be used in.

The Hype About The Two In One Paint

The latest hype and trend in the paint industry is the paint and primer in one.  The marketing for this product has convinced most DIY painters and homeowners that using an all in one product will reduce costs, time and labour.  The opposite may be true if you speak to a professional painter.

No matter what you may be lead to believe by all the hype and marketing any time you start a painting project you must apply a primer before your two final paint coats are applied of your chosen paint colour.

Whether you’re purchasing the trendy “paint and primer in one” advertised in many of the box stores, or buying a primer then your paint, you’re not saving any money or time by doing so.  In fact if you total the costs of 2 gallons of the paint and primer in one, you’re no further ahead then 1 gallon of primer and 1 gallon of your chosen paint colour.  Regular to mid line quality (of course if you select the top end of say… a benjamin moore paint line) your cost may increase slightly but you’ll be getting a higher quality paint in the end.

You must also take into consideration that whether you apply a basic primer then two coats of final paint colour and sometimes three dependent on the depth of colour pigmentation you are covering, or whether you are using the “paint and primer in one” and rolling that onto your walls 3 to 4 times, no time has been saved.

To get the best advice and tips you may want to consider to hire the painting services of an experienced painter.  They will guide you through the selection of paint products and colours that are best suitable for your project.  Contact a professional painting company in Ottawa to schedule your consultation and house painting estimate.

When Is a Primer Recommended

Priming is recommended especially when you have newly installed drywall such as in a newly built house or a room addition.  A primer will improve the outcome of any painting project.

A full primer coat is required prior to any repainting work.  Previously painted surfaces will sometimes only require a spot priming of course this depends on the condition of the surface.  A professional house painter will give you the necessary advice and recommendations.

While some believe that paint is just paint, an experienced painting contractor will provide you with the knowledge and experience and the guidance to avoid paint failure and ensure the best finish results.

It is worth taking the time to do your research and make an informed decision, by visiting any of your local Benjamin Moore stores in Ottawa, where they can inform you on which primer and paints you will need for your painting project, and for the best house painting results hire the best painters.

Ottawa’s Professional Painters

This post was originally published on Apr 27, 2015 @ 07:00 and updated on Aug 22, 2019 @ 07:00