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5 Ways to identify areas that need primer

The ancient, flaking paint coming off your wooden window sills. The discoloured bricks around your fireplace. The brand-new drywall where you redesigned the master closet. All of them stand out immediately when you see them…and all of them need primer before you paint them! But why is that?

Before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about exactly what we mean by “primer”. Rather than referring to one single product, primer is a term that covers a lot of different ones, with different properties and purposes. Primer sealer, for example, keeps moisture from seeping through the barrier, while wood primer also adds extra adhesive power when painting bare wood. There are oil-based primers and stain blockers, like Kilz, which prevent and cover water staining and discoloured spots; or water-based primers like the drywall primer that’s absorbed into new drywall and gives the topcoat something to stick to once it’s applied. Long story short? While they all help with adhesion and coverage, there are dozens of brands, purposes, and products, so it’s important to do a bit of research.

Even if you don’t know how to apply primer, and you’ve never done exterior painting or interior painting, there’s nothing to be afraid of! Depending on what you need (see: note about research, above), you may be able to spray it from a can, apply it with a brush, roll it on, or even use a full sprayer. Primers vary in thickness and base, so be sure to read the recommended application techniques on the container. 

As professional painters, here’s what we do. First, we identify if the area needs primer (generally, anything that’s stained, metal, bare wood, stone/concrete, new material, or just adhering poorly). Sometimes we’ll even use a primer that’s been tinted in order to get better colour coverage with the actual paint, such as when painting white over reds or dark greens. Then, we choose one that’s best for our needs – acrylic primer, spray can primer, wood sealer, extra grip, sprayable, and so on – and apply it as needed. For wall painting, we usually just roll it on for a nice even base, and for anything that’s exposed to the elements and the extremes of Calgary’s climate, we make sure to cover any areas in danger of weathering. If the bases are the same, we even mix in a bit of the final paint to tint it closer to the end colour. Watch out for drips, drops, and build-up around edges – most primers are thick and can easily run down a vertical surface in ugly globs before drying. Give it some time to dry, and you’re ready to paint!

Or….maybe you’re not. And that’s okay too! If you don’t know how to paint a house, it can be tough work to get it right. But that’s what a painting company like The Urban Painter is for. When you want to hire a painter, look no further than our award-winning paint service based right here in Calgary. Our painters are friendly, professional, experienced, and knowledgeable – and they can definitely help get the right primer on the right places when you need it. Give us a call today for your free estimate, and see why The Urban Painter is known as one of the premier paint companies in the city!

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