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The application of primer before painting gives a polished and professional look to the material. In addition, it helps to seal the porous surface and prevent the material from absorbing the paint. Therefore, selecting the right type of primer can make a significant difference in the appearance of the completed painted project.
Primer paints are of three types: oil-based, latex-based, and shellac-based. Each primer has its benefits and drawbacks, which make it suitable for specific applications.
This article explains in detail the important features and suitability of different primer paints used in construction.
1. Oil-Based Primer
Oil-based primer, also called alkyd primer, is suitable for both oil and latex paints. They are used for both interior and exterior applications, commonly for wood surfaces like new wood, dry wood, etc.
Advantages of Oil-Based Primer
- Oil-based primer provides a flexible surface that helps prevent the paint coats from expanding or contracting due to temperature variations.
- They prevent stains from showing through the new coats of paint.
- The application of oil-based primer on wood helps seal the porous surface and prevent tannins from bleeding through the paint product.
- Oil-based primer can be used on unfinished wood, previously varnished wood, and heavily weathered wood.
Disadvantages of Oil-Based Primer
- Oil-based primers produce significant VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which demand a well-ventilated work area and protection kits during application.
- They take a good amount of time to dry (more than 24 hrs).
- They are difficult to clean off from painting equipment.
- Oil-based primers are not effective when used directly on masonry.
2. Latex Primer
Latex primer is a water-soluble acrylic primer used for drywall, plaster, masonry, woodwork, and painted metal. This eliminates VOCs, making it a primary option while painting spaces for children or occupants with breathing ailments. It is used either with latex paint or acrylic paint.
Advantages of Latex Primers
- Latex primers are flexible and fast drying (3 to 4 hrs) compared to oil-based primers.
- Latex primers even out the surface and cover repaired areas.
- It eliminates the emission of VOCs and provides a healthy environment.
- Latex primers are easy to clean off from paint supplies as they are water-soluble.
- It provides a more durable paint finish.
Limitations of Latex Primers
- Latex primers cannot cover dark stains and deep discolorations.
- They are not preferred for hardwood and metal surfaces
- They provide excellent cracking resistance.
3. Shellac Primer Paint
Shellac primer is suitable for interior paint jobs and excellent for blocking stains and severe water and smoke damages to walls. It is used for wood, metal, plaster, plastic, etc. Shellac primer is paired with oil or latex paints and used on surfaces.
Benefits of Latex Primers
- Shellac primer is fast drying (1 hr) and highly adhesive.
- It is used to seal wood knots, pitch pockets, and stubborn tannin bleeding.
- It has optimal stain-blocking qualities.
Limitations of Latex Primers
- Shellac primer produces harmful fumes. Hence, the working environment must be adequately ventilated, and workers must wear a protective air mask.
- It is not as versatile as latex and oil-based primer.
The application of primer before painting gives a polished and professional look to the material. In addition, it helps to seal the porous surface and prevent the material from absorbing the paint.
Primer paints are of three types: oil-based, latex-based, and shellac-based.