Painting is one of those things that even the newest homeowner will get involved in.
Painting seems like it could be something that anyone can do, and most of the time, it is.
There are, however, some necessary steps that you should follow if you want your finished paint job to last and to look great.
Of course, using a primer is a great first step, but it is also essential to use it correctly.
Primer helps give the finish coat something to stick to and to hold it in place for years to come.
If you get around to priming a room but haven’t been able to paint it yet, you may be curious how long this unfinished primer will last you.
How Long Can You Leave Primer Unpainted?
You should leave unpainted primer no more than 30 days.
If you have to leave your primer for more than 30 days, you will need to add another coat before you put your topcoat on.
Primer does not have the same components as finish paint.
The primer is meant to almost act as a binding agent between the wall and the finish paint.
When you put primer on, you may notice that it is a bit thinner, as it is designed to fill any small holes in the wall for a smoother finishing coat.
You may also notice that the primer feels a bit rougher than the finished coat of paint.
This is all because primer and paint are not the same thing and should not be used for the same thing.
If you put primer on a wall and never cover it with a top coat, you will probably find that the primer will start to get a bit chalky and come off the walls.
The chalky material is not only going to look terrible, but it can make a bit of a mess in your home.
You can avoid all of this by making sure you paint over your primer a few days after you put it up.
We completely understand that it may take you two weekends to get the primer and finished coat up on the wall.
This is acceptable and will not cause any problems with the finished look of your room.
However, waiting for more than 30 days could decrease the effectiveness of the overall paint job.
Can a Flat White Paint Be Used as a Primer?
One thing that homeowners will try to do is to save some money by using old paint as a primer.
This is not a bad idea.
If you have older paint that is still in good condition, you can absolutely use it as a primer.
Make sure that, if you are priming a wall that you are going to paint with latex, you use an old can of latex paint as the primer.
Using something like an oil-based paint will leave you with some issues if you plan on painting over it with latex.
Also, make sure that the paint you plan to use as a primer is a flat paint.
If something has a high-gloss finish like a trim paint, you probably won’t want to use it as a primer.
Sometimes the gloss works a bit like a sealant, and it will prevent the finish coat from sticking to the paint the way you intend it to.
Since this leftover paint can be used as a primer, you may be wondering why primer is even necessary or worth it.
You will find that primer is considerably cheaper than the finish coat of paint.
This is why most people who need to prime a room will use a true primer to help them save a bit of money.
Primer is typically white in color and very easy to cover.
You can also get the primer tinted to your finish color, but it doesn’t help you all that much in the long run.
Let’s say you are going to paint your dining room white.
Don’t use leftover purple paint to prime the walls.
Since this is a proper finish paint, it will be much harder to cover than the primer, and it can be hard for white to cover over certain bold colors.
In the end, you can be pretty creative about what you use to prime your walls.
You don’t always have to go and purchase a can of premium primer for your project.
If you are painting an area with high moisture levels, we recommend using something with some anti-mold technology built into the primer.
A brand like KILZ is something to look for when priming a bathroom, kitchen, or even a laundry room area.
Are Paint and Primer Combination Paints Worth It?
The process of painting a room properly can be time-consuming.
Many homeowners are going to look for shortcuts, and frankly, we can’t blame them.
The problem is that these shortcuts almost always end up in the project not coming out the way you want it to.
Usually, a problem comes up, or the paint job only lasts for a year or two.
If you have ever owned a home and done some painting, you know that it pays to purchase good paint, and it pays to follow the proper procedure.
Some companies are going after homeowners who want to save time, and they are introducing the option of paint and primer in one.
This sounds like a great concept.
Supposedly, you can skip the entire process of priming and complete your project much faster.
The problem with this is that it just doesn’t work like that.
First of all, paint with primer in it should not be used as your finishing topcoat.
Primer is typically made with ingredients that make it a bit more adhesive so the final coat of paint will stick to it better.
With the paint and primer in one option, you are mixing two different materials, and the finish that you get on the wall is not going to look the same.
There is, however, one application in which painting with the paint and primer in one option could work quite well.
If you are planning on painting over a very dark color with a lighter one, the paint and primer in one choice could work to use as the primer.
When this coat is finished, you will need to put a final coat of paint on the walls.
Is Primer Really Necessary?
The more work you do around your home, the more you realize there are right and wrong ways to do things.
When it comes to painting, it is without a doubt better to prime the walls than to not prime them.
You will find that your finished coat of paint looks better and lasts longer when you apply a primer first.
If you are painting a piece of wood furniture, it is especially important to use a primer.
The topcoat will often not adequately cover the bare wood, and the color will look almost faded on the finished product.
Another problem with not using a primer is that the wall or furniture piece tends to soak up a lot of paint.
We don’t know about you, but we would rather have the walls soak up the cheaper primer than the expensive finish coat.
If the painting were something that we had to do as often as vacuuming or laundry, we would understand why skipping the priming part may seem like a good idea.
However, let’s consider the fact that painting is not something that comes around all that often.
It is essential to do the process properly so that it lasts for years to come.
How Many Coats of Paint Do I Need After Primer?
For those who are still trying to skip steps, make sure that two coats of paint are put on over primer.
Putting a coat of primer on is not an excuse or substitution for one of the final coats.
You still need to put on the two coats so that the wall or furniture or whatever surface you are painting has the product it needs to look good for years to come.
The second coat of paint that you put on may go a bit quicker because the wall should be smoothed and well filled with paint.
You should also not have any big gaps or spots to cover at this point.
However, you must make sure that you completely cover the entire wall or be able to see where you missed spots.
The color will continue to clarify until the second final coat is dry.
As you can see, there are some specific steps you must follow to paint a room properly and successfully.
One of those steps is not to let your primer remain unpainted for more than 30 days.
When your primer goes up on the wall, don’t worry if you have to wait a week or so before putting the final coat on.
Keep an eye on the amount of time, and always make sure that you complete the project with a final coat of your chosen wall color.