Sometimes referred to as the base coat, primer is the first application of paint or a paint product to a surface. The main function of priming is to ensure that any successive layers of paint adhere to the surface properly. In addition, using a base before painting helps to provide additional coverage that often makes the application of multiple coats of paint unnecessary and provides protection for both the paint and underlying surface.
Primer products are often formulated to adhere securely to different types of surfaces. Some are manufactured to bond well with metal surfaces, while others are formulated to work specifically with masonry, such as concrete floors or brick walls. Choosing the right type can make a huge difference in how the final painting project turns out.
Most primers resemble paint that is white or off-white in color. It is applied using a brush or roller in most cases, although there are some primer products that can be applied using a paint gun. The idea is to completely cover the area that is to be painted. Because of the light coloring, the preparatory coating makes it possible to paint a dark surface with a lighter color with less potential for the darker shade to bleed through the newer and lighter coloring.
A common strategy in using primer is to mix a small amount of the paint into it before preparing to paint. This strategy can be especially helpful when the original color of the surface is darker than the newer color selected for the walls or other surface. Using a small amount of paint to color the primer means that there is an good chance of requiring fewer successive layers in order to create a uniform and attractive top coat.
Cleaning rollers and brushes used to apply primer require no more effort than cleaning brushes and rollers used for painting. Depending on the composition of the primer, water may be sufficient. In other cases, stronger cleaning agents may be required. Instructions for proper cleaning is usually found on the produce packaging.
Primer is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any store where paint products are sold. Discount retail stores often offer products that are ideal for interior walls composed of plaster or sheetrock, as well as brands that can be used to cover wood paneling. For primer that is formulated for use with bricks, metal, and masonry surfaces, paint stores and home stores will offer a wider range of options.