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Do You Need Exterior Paint Primer?

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When homeowners plan to paint the exterior of their house they tend to think about the paint, the color they want and the type of finish. The truth is, choosing the right exterior paint primer is as important, if not more so, than choosing the right paint for the exterior of a home.

A primer goes on before the paint and acts as a sealant for the surface of the siding and as a base for the paint. The primer coat covers stains and other imperfections and helps the paint to bond to the surface properly. A primer is also necessary when you want to change the color of your exterior from a darker to a lighter color.

Exterior paint primer can be classified into two categories – latex primer and alkyd primer. There is a third type of primer that is a special formulation, known as stain killing primer-sealers.

So Which Exterior Paint Primer Should You Use?

Latex primers are best for concrete surfaces, drywall, and plaster. They are fast drying and since they are water soluble, they can be cleaned up with soap and water. On the other hand, alkyd or oil based primers are notorious for the length of time they take to dry, but they are ideal for new wood surfaces because they penetrate and protect the wood. Clean up involves a little more work and will need paint thinners or mineral spirits for cleaning brushes.

Stain killing exterior paint primer -sealers are used to cover knots and other natural imperfections that appear on bare wood or water stains that might otherwise bleed through ordinary primers and show up on the surface of the finished paint job. In spite of their higher cost, they are the perfect solution for troublesome surfaces.

Exterior Paint Primer Can Save You Time and Money

Primers are especially important if you have any type of wood exterior, whether it's a lapped siding or a vertical board siding such as board and batten. Without primer, the wood is left exposed to the elements, leading to problems of paint failure, rot and mold and mildew.

Since wood has a tendency to absorb liquids, you may not be able to get an even finish with just a coat or two of paint. Without an exterior paint primer the wood will soak up a lot of paint, leaving visible grain and making for an uneven looking finished surface. It will also require considerably more paint and that can be expensive!

It simply makes financial sense to use exterior paint primer rather than multiple coats of paint in a attempt to get a good looking final finish. Primer is cheaper than paint and has the ability to cover imperfections and various siding textures along with stains and repair work. So, if you're planning to paint the exterior of your home, don't forget to give some thought to exterior paint primer. It could save you a lot of work and money.

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