Basics of Drywall Primer – Types and Application

Applying primer coats on new drywall isn’t rocket science. But you have to know the basic painting stuff. Otherwise, you may get disappointed later on.

The most frequently faced problem in using a primer is, you may get confused about how many coats on new drywall you should apply. Is it one, two, or several coats? Let’s find out.

What Is Primer?

Simply, primer is an undercoat applied on drywall or other surfaces before painting. It is made out of synthetic resin, solvent, and additive agents. Sometimes polyethylene (plastic) is added for better durability.

Never confuse primer with paint. Primer doesn’t give the ultimate finish and elegant look to the surface. It’s used to prepare the surface for painting; however, if you use primer plus paint preparation, it’s an exception.

Why Should You Prime New Drywall?

Depending on the material and requirements, you might need to prime the new drywall. Here are the most common reasons why people apply prime on drywall.

Covers Imperfections

If you just have hung the drywall, there may be joint tapes, scratches, pores, etc. Painting on such a rough surface will give you a slightly unpleasant look at the walls.

Firstly, you have to seal the holes and smoothen the surface by applying primer. It will give the surface a well-finished and elegant look.

Increases Adhesiveness

Did you ever use paint on fresh drywall without a primer coat? If yes, you must have seen a wastage of painting material during your job because the materials fall down when you apply the paint on the walls due to their less adhesive properties.

Primer acts as a glue base enhancing cohesive properties of the surface, which reduces falling down of materials while painting.

Saves Time and Money

Due to the primer coat, painting material adheres more efficiently on the wall and lasts for a longer time. So, you don’t need to spend money frequently to change the paint.

Facilitates Quick Drying

If you don’t use a primer coat, the paint will be absorbed by the wall materials. So, it will consume more time to get dried. Primer will prevent this and facilitate quick drying.

Prevents Mold Growth

A significant amount of water is added to drywall during manufacture to make it fire-resistant.

But the problem is, the moisture portion welcomes mold growth. So, if you cover the drywall with primer, it will prevent the contact between the environmental mold spores and the drywall moisture keeping your walls mold-free.

How to Choose the Best Primer for Drywall?

There are three types of primers. Each of them has unique characteristics.

Primer on New Drywall

Shellac Primer

It has good adhesive properties and is applicable in a wide range of temperatures. Also thin and easy to apply. But unpleasant odor is the main problem. Additionally, you can’t use it everywhere like a latex primer.

Latex Primer

Adhesion is quite good for latex primers. You can use it on versatile surfaces. Also known as a water-based primer.

Oil-based Primer

It’s also a good option but needs a longer time (24 hours) to get dried. Due to its stain-resistant properties, it’s much suitable for applying on wood.

All three types of primers mentioned above are good for their respective characteristics. But I’ll recommend you the latex primer for your drywall.

Unlike other ones, latex primer has a moderate odor that won’t bother you. Once the priming is completed, the surface dries up quickly. It would be super easy for you to use and clean up with water without much trouble.

When Should You Use a Single Coat?

It will depend on the condition of the drywall. If you have already sanded the surface properly, there are no deeper holes, joint compounds are applied accurately then, only a single coat of primer is good enough.

When Should You Use a Double Coat?

If there are tons of holes, scratches and the drywall is un-sanded, you need to apply a double layer of the primer coat. This will fill up the un-sanded porous surface and give it a smoother texture.

Can You Use Oil-based Primer and Latex Paint on the Same Drywall?

Yes, but you should use an oil-based primer, let it dry, and then apply the latex paint. But if you use oil-based paint over latex primer, it will not adhere to the surface properly, resulting in multiple cracks. Click here to solve drywall crack.

Which Roller Should You Use for Priming?

There are two types of roller according to size, 9 inches large and 4 inches smaller ones. When it comes to painting larger surfaces, you should use the 9 inches roller, and the 4 inches one is for smaller surfaces.

Should You Sand After Priming?

After priming, the wall may still be slightly rough. If you apply simple sand, you will get the ultimate smooth surface.

What Should You Be Careful of?

You should cover your face with a cloth to avoid dust. Handle the mud carefully so that it doesn’t soil your clothes.

When Should You Start Painting?

The type of primer you’re using will determine how much time you have to wait.

As I mentioned above, if you use latex primer, it dries up quickly. So you have to wait only 30 to 60 minutes for drying up. You can give another coat over the previous one after three hours. After proper drying, you can apply the paint easily.

On the other hand, an oil-based drywall primer will take about 24 hours to fully dry out.

Final Words

If you have read this article thoroughly, you already know how many coats of primer on new drywall you should apply and how much time you should wait for painting after the drywall is primed.

Don’t underestimate the value of primer, it will certainly make your painting more durable, save you time and money.

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