All You Need to Know About Applying Primer

It is difficult to apply primer, something that beginners often do not understand. Primers are chemically designed to go directly into the surface and hide imperfections that may be there.
it improves the wood’s surface to allow it to easily bind with the paint you are applying. They have an adhesive property that allows the paint to absorb which can help improve its overall appearance.

They hide small holes in timber and make knots, stains, etc. less obvious. Primers make the paint last longer and everything that you do will have a much more professional appearance.

It is not necessary if the paint already has a coating of it. You only need to inspect for areas that aren’t covered by the coating.

It is the best friend of a professional painter!

Why is this? It’s important to ensure that your surface is ready for paint in order to allow new paint to shine and create the beautiful colour you desire.

You did read that correctly. Timber can be very picky, so to speak, so you need to prepare your grain before it will hold onto the paint you are using.

It is a delicate (and beautiful!) process, and when done correctly, it can produce beautiful results that will last a lifetime.

There are some key points to remember when you paint timber, especially when assessing how much they will actually be needed for the job you are doing.

Pre-Painted VS Unfinished Timber

The first thing to do is determine if your surface is finished or unfinished.

This is because unfinished timber has a porous surface that could be hard to work with.

It will absorb more of what you put on it than timber that has been repainted.

This is because, even if the timber has been previously painted it will still retain, deep inside of the grain, some of the old paint molecules when this was done before.

Even if you intend to sand it off, it might not require as many coats as a piece of lumber that is brand-new without any type of coating at all.

You should use primer for your timber even if your surface or plank has been previously painted to ensure that it retains the new colour.

Quality & Colour

When deciding what to initially do, you also need to consider what type of primer to use, which is another important consideration to make.

Are you, for example, working with stained timber or not?

To make sure that the stain doesn’t show through your paint, use a tinted version.

Are you using a piece of timber with a dark color?

To make sure your primer is fully covered, you will likely need to apply more, perhaps several more coats just to make sure everything is thoroughly covered.

What Will The The Location Of The Item Be Once The Project Is Completed?

This is a question that most people forget to ask: Where is the finished project going?

Do you intend to place it outdoors, or perhaps in a location where there will be a high amount of traffic?

You might consider applying more and possibly a stain-blocking coating to protect your new paint colour from staining, a common problem that can occur depending upon the location where you will place it once you are done.

This is something a primer of quality should usually take care of very easily.

It will take some effort to remove the it, no matter if it is old or newly painted.

It may be necessary to use an electric sanding device such as an orbital sander, palm sander, to remove it from large surfaces like walls.

However, priming walls is a good idea when you are painting over oil-based paints using water-based (latex) paint products.

What Types Should You Use?

After we have covered how to assess your surface, it is time to answer the following important question:

Which should I use?

Before we get into the details, let’s first address one thing: Avoid self-priming paints if at all possible.

Why is this? Self-priming paints are not the best option, especially for bare wooden surfaces.

They can be useful in certain situations but they are not the best when you want to achieve the best finish coat.

Now that you’re done, let’s look at some great coatings for different situations.

What Is The Best Coating To Use On Wood If Applying Multiple Coats?

This will depend on the factors mentioned above, but I’m going to outline what to look for when you decide how many coats you need, depending upon how comprehensive the project actually is.

What Is The Best Reason For Using One Coating?

Surfaces can be painted with one coat, even if it’s a second coat. How can you tell how much is enough?

You’re good to go if your surface appears to have been fully coated and has dried completely to the touch without any visible grain, which would be the ideal scenario.

On the other hand, in a worst-case scenario, you can add an additional coat of paint to make sure you are happy with the colour of your paint after applying a single coat paint along with the primer.

What Is The Best Time To Use More Coatings?

You should apply more primer in situations when the timber is very worn and needs to be covered. This tends to be proverbially thirsty wood, especially extremely dry timber that will require this type of treatment.

If you are doing a DIY project with palette timber, it may be necessary to apply two coats of it if you want to get maximum coverage and the best final result.

It is important to prepare this kind of timber before applying any paint. This may involve an extensive amount of sanding, and if you choose to do this, the sandpaper needs to be best suited for this type of lumber.

This will make the timber more receptive, per se, to the primer and paint colour that you will be using.

If you are working with a dark color and want to paint over it with white, or another bright colour, you will need two coatings due to the contrast of the dark and light colors applied one on top of the other.

You’ll need to ensure that the underlying color doesn’t show when you finish. In such cases, two coatings may be necessary and an additional coat of paint might be recommended despite the extra expense since good results should be your primary objective.

  1. How to apply it on wood

Mixing well is essential if you expect to achieve good results. You should also know how to apply it before you paint a piece of timber. You can apply it using a spray, brush, or roll. Spray coating is a simpler option because of how easy it is to apply using a tool designed for this purpose. However, it will require you to apply several coats to achieve good coverage. Brushing takes more time and requires more effort, but it will result in a thinner layer of the topcoat.

For each product that you decide to use, there are instructions provided so that you will know exactly how to apply it. These are the steps you need to follow:

Clean any previously painted surfaces as thoroughly as possible to maximize your results. Make sure there are no grease or dust particles remaining on the timber that you are using.

Once you have adequately applied the coating, you will then need to use some type of brush designed for spreading it out, making it thin enough to apply the next coat.

Let it dry for 6-8 hours before you apply the polishing paste you are using with this project.

Sand the putty with sandpaper at 180 grit, at the very least, or sandpaper that is very close to this number. Experts recommend using sandpaper with an extremely fine grit, especially if the coating increases timber cell fibers in the timber that you are using.


It is important to be aware of the colours that are best for your paint. Gray is recommended for darker paints. White is for lighter paints. This is generally recommended by people that do this every day. When applying to timber, keep track of the spacing between coats and how many coats you need to complete the project.

Tinted versions can be used to match the paint colour as well. If you are hoping to create a smooth transition from to the topcoat, this will likely work the best.

  1. Which primer is better: oil-based or latex-based?

It is best to follow professional advice and use an oil-based coatings first, then a latex-based version, if you plan to apply it to wood. This is because the oil-based model has one advantage: it is more stickier than latex-based coatings, but it is also more susceptible to cracking, depending upon where the finished product is going to be stored or used. Latex-based is best for outdoor furniture. If you’re dealing with timber that requires an oil-based, latex coatings is still better than its oil-based counterpart.

  1. Brands that are well-known

Modern versions dry faster than in the past and stick to timber much better than old-fashioned versions. This improves the adhesion to the paint topcoat.

Masonry primer can be used to coat timber. It retains the Ph level without affecting adhesive capacity. It prevents white deposits from forming on the surface, called efflorescence, which can greatly affect your finished product in a negative fashion.

There are also stain-blocking versions on the market. They can be used to block any substance, including water and smoke, adversely affecting the surface that you are working on. And as a general rule, it is useful for applying lighter colours over darker ones.

When applying it to timber, bonding versions are an option. Because of its excellent adhesive capabilities, it can be used on surfaces made from ceramic tiles, vinyl, and even plastic materials.