Do You Need to Use Primer for Your Exterior House Painting Project?

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

exterior painting tips Portland OR

Ah, the age-old question: do you really need to use primer before tackling your exterior painting project? Is it worth it, or is it just an extra step designed to eat up even more of your precious Saturday afternoons?

The answer is that sometimes it is necessary, and sometimes you can get away without using it. Let’s dive in for a closer look and a more informational explanation.

You Should Use Exterior Primer If...

  • You’re changing the exterior color - Even if the hop between colors isn’t drastic, this is still an important step that will make the transition process much smoother. Your wallet will thank you too since primer is less expensive than investing in more coats of your finish color. As a bonus tip, if you’re switching from a darker to lighter color, ask to have your primer tinted with a bit of the topcoat!
  • You’re covering over bare wood - Whether you had to complete a localized wood replacement or simply sanded the surface really well as part of your surface prep strategy, bare wood has to be covered in primer. It provides a crucial, receptive base that your topcoat can grip onto.
  • You’re painting masonry - Chimneys and other brick surfaces need to be coated with a masonry primer for best results.
  • You’re painting slick surfaces - Surfaces with higher-gloss finishes don’t exactly offer a welcoming environment to topcoats. A bonding primer will make your project much more successful and headache-free.
  • You’re covering stains - The first step is always to find the origin of the stain and get to the root of the problem. If the issue has been corrected but you now have a blemish to cover, we recommend using primer. It provides the kind of coverage and blocking power needed to make sure it doesn’t begin to show through your beautiful new paint.

So, When Do You NOT Need Exterior Primer?

  • If you’re just refreshing an existing exterior paint color.
  • If there are no blemishes to cover, and particularly no bare spots.
  • If you’re not painting over a glossy surface.

The lists above are by no means exhaustive, but they should give you an idea of when you can or can’t get away with skipping that initial step. And, as you may have figured out already, in the majority of cases it is a good idea to invest the time in a coat of primer. In fact, it may save you enough time and expense in the long-run to make it more than worthwhile!

Looking for a Professional Home Painting Company in Portland Oregon? Sundeleaf Painting is here to bring your home to life. Contact Us today.

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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