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Outbacker 01-19-2008 10:26 AM

Are all primers equal?
I will be needing some primer to put on un-sealed drywall, and there is quite a variety of prices. Rona has some for $15.00/gal where Home Depot is $25.00/gal. It is under the paint, therefore is it critical that I get the expensive stuff, or will it all do basically the same thing?


guyod 01-19-2008 11:24 AM

im not a proffesional painter but i have primered plenty of walls.

I have noticed that with any kind of paint / primer the more you pay the thicker it is
For dry wall i use killz 2 which isnt much more than $15 a gallon. if you put on a heavy coat all you need is 1 coat.

I just finished primering an 150 year old plaster walled house. it took 3 to 4 coats of kills to cover the old paint. if i had to do it over again i would of got a better quality paint because it might of only took 2 coats..
Same goes for covering stains. getting a high quality paint will pay off in the long run

ToolGuy 01-19-2008 01:28 PM

What brands and types are you looking at? I don't know Rona, and frankly, I wouldn't use anything from home depot if it was free. I may be biased, since my customers pay for materials and not me, but I use Sherwyn Williams or Tybony products almost exclusively. Of course, they're not the only good quality brand names.

A lesser quality drywall primer could leave you with peeling or bubbling in some areas, especially where it covers joint compound. It's also thinner, or has less pigment, which means if you want the walls whited out you'll have to use more coats.

Guyod's suggestion of Kilz 2 is an excellent choice and even prevent's any stains, such as ink, from bleading through. I personally prefer PVA primer for drywall. It dries to a flat finish, which is better for painting over. Also, Kilz 2 leaves me with a wierd aftertaste from breathing it, which I can't imagine is any good for me.

Depending on how much you are buying, you're really talking maybe 10 to 30 dollars difference overall. Is that really worth taking a chance on peeling paint? I'd say aviod Home Depot's paint section (especially Behr, which is garbage) and spend a few more bucks at a professional paint store. Or use Kilz 2 is a good recommendation. But don't chince out on the primer.

glennjanie 01-19-2008 06:28 PM

Hello Outbacker:
No, all primers are not equal and I certainly would not use an oil based primer under latex wall paint. I advocate Kilz II also and one coat of it will seal out any color under it, then one or two coats of finish paint will do the job real well. I have used Wal-Mart paint for interior and exterior on lots of houses and it works just fine over Kilz II. Sherwinn Williams is a national brand which is often specified by architects, so is Pittsburg paint which has the lowest odor on the market. Pittsburg is frequently used in hospitals to keep the odor down and not make the patients sick.
Many guys want to use flat paint on walls to obscure their slight blemishes in the drywall but I like to work for a smoother finish and use latex enamel for the finish. It stays new looking for years longer and is much more washable.
I like to use a roller with a 3/8" nap because it will carry more paint to the wall and I don't like to hear a dry roller. You need to cover the wall sometime so go ahead and put a coat on it by keeping the roller loaded and re-rolling the lap marks while you're there.

Hack 01-29-2008 04:53 PM

I didn't used to think it made a hill of beans difference which primer I used until I had to prime a wall after removing wallpaper. The drywall guy who was going to texture the wall said I should prime it with Zinsser High Hide Cover Stain oil based primer. I've been a convert ever since.

Something else to consider is what type of drywall you are covering. In a recent remodel, I used the "yellow" drywall from GP. It's called Dense Armor Plus for moist area walls.

I didn't know much about it, so I called GP to get the skinny on how to work with it, how to cut it, screw types to use, mud, tape type, etc.

I also asked about primer, and they recommended that I use a primer with at least 30% solids. My normal PVA primer only had 25% solids, but the Zinsser has 74.5% solids by weight.

The only problem I have with using this product is the smell!!! :eek:

glennjanie 01-31-2008 12:13 PM

I still don't like an oil based primer under latex paint. They have different curing characteristics and are not compatable. The oil based paints and primers 'lay out flat' and the oil dries out, while latex paints 'lay out, grip and begin to pull in every direction. Its like wading a piece of paper laying flat on your desktop, your fingers draw the paper to the palm and wrinkle it up.
I have used the Zinsser primer and sold it too. I know about the high odor and the limits to what it can cover, not to mention the problem with covering the Zinsser.

Outbacker 02-13-2008 09:32 PM

Quite an education on primer. I searched some of them WRT solids and they do change from brand to brand. Rona carries the Go Prime from Sica, and it seems pretty good. The General Paint primer had a lesser % of solids, so who knows. I will definitely get a good one and not cheap out. Thanks again.

kok328 02-14-2008 04:12 PM

The advice from a professional painter was Kilz2 and Graham paint. Behr has a washable flat latex which reads flat enamel. Just got done painting 2/3 of my house w/Behr eggshell and didn't like it. I switch to flat for less glare. Now I don't know if it's me, the cheap rollers I used, the paint or a combination of the above but, the end results look like crap.

MinConst 02-14-2008 07:51 PM

When I prime new drywall I use a PVA drywall primer. It is not an expensive primer but made for the task. Never had a problem with any of it. Once I had found it in 5 gallon pails real cheap and it went on so nice it could have passed for paint after on coat. But that was then and now I use any brand name PVA primer for new rock.
All other surfaces have different requirements for primers. If you stick with name brands and call the company they will tell you what primer to use for your purpose. Or use their websites they all have them. Research the product don't just stick with a one size fits all.

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