Priming Before Interior Painting
Project Checklist
  • Paint tray and liners
  • Paintbrushes and rollers
  • Painter's tape
  • Buckets
  • Cans and jars
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter's hat
  • Stirring sticks


Tip: If you are repainting walls or woodwork in excellent condition, and/or you are not making dramatic color changes, priming is usually not needed.


Seal the Surface

After you've cleaned, sanded and masked, don't forget the important step of priming interior surfaces. Bare wood needs a primer to seal the surface. You'll use less top coat and the color will lay rich on the top layer. If the surface is new construction or a recent repair, or if you have sanded down to bare surface, apply a high quality primer before painting.


Priming over Stained Surfaces

Stained walls and ceilings need primer to lock in the stain from migrating to the top coat. Some woods naturally bleed tannins. These stains will come through the top coat no matter how many coats you apply. Select a stain blocking primer best for the type of stain, either an oil-based or latex based product.


Spot Priming

Spot priming means you apply a primer only to those spots that need it. If you've sanded down to bare surface, you need to prime those spots. For some stains, spot priming is the best way to save time and lock in the stain from migrating to the top coat. Don't forget to feather sand so the top coat applies evenly.


Prime Glossy Surfaces

Prime glossy surfaces to promote adhesion of the topcoat.
There are three ways to prime a glossy surface:

1. Use a latex or oil-based primer formulated for glossy surface adhesion.
2. Use a liquid deglosser such as Prepaint, following all label instructions.
3. Go over the surface with 200 grit sandpaper. The scuffing will help the new paint adhere. Then wash the surface with TSP or substitute, rinse with water, and let dry. More on Multi-Purpose Primers. More on Exterior Primers If you aren't sure if you need a primer or which primer to use, contact our Valspar technical support team, or call 1-888-313-5569 in the United States. They can help you determine if you need a primer as well as what type of primer you should choose.


Dramatic Color Changes

Dramatic color changes look professional when you use the right primer. Use a high hiding primer if you paint a light color over a dark color. Use a tintable primer if painting a dark color over a light color. If you aren't sure if you need a primer or which primer to use, contact our technical support team.

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